What are Organic Cosmetics​​?

Word organic is commonly used these days. One may buy organic food items in any supermarket. These days many manufacturers are also selling organic cosmetics. So, what are they, and is there any benefit of buying organic cosmetics?

What are organic cosmetics?

Word organic is relatively new in cosmetics. It has gained significance only in the last couple of decades. Organic cosmetics means that it is made of natural products cultivated in organic farms. It means that organic beauty products conform to specific standards:
  • do not contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients 
  • are free from pesticides, and no other controversial chemicals were used for producing natural components of such beauty products
  • do not contain parabens, synthetic colors, and fragrances
  • Such cosmetic product contains no nano-particles or other similar things
  • They are grown from sustainable ingredients
  • Such products can be recycled in most cases, including their packaging
  • Products were not tested on animals, as it is cruel and against the organic standards
It is worth understanding that word organic has a much broader meaning. It is also about ensuring that all-natural ingredients used in cosmetics are grown in farmlands using sustainable agricultural practices. Organic also assure that no illegal or child labor was used. Thus, the meaning of organic cosmetics is ever-expanding to encompass broader ethical & environmental protection norms.

How are organic cosmetics made?

Like all other cosmetics products, one may produce organic cosmetics either by using organic extracts or using raw materials along with in-house extraction. However, sourcing organic raw materials remain a challenge. There are very few ethical suppliers that can be trusted. A better way could be of sourcing raw materials like herbs and plants from farmhouses that have been certified by some well-known regulatory agencies like Ecocert. It is perhaps the only guaranteed way of knowing that raw materials are organic. Thus, producing organic cosmetics may be a bit challenging. The first step is to find a certified farm that grows herbs and plants organically. Such products are relatively expensive.  The next step would be to process these herbs or plant materials without using any chemicals. One may also use environmentally friendly extraction methods to get essential oils, terpenes, and other compounds from herbs. Among extraction methods, supercritical CO2 and ethanol are the most environment-friendly and organic ways. The next step would be to produce cosmetics or beauty products from organic components. It would also be challenging, as one needs to make products without synthetic chemicals. Nevertheless, it is worth it. Once the product is ready, it would be essential to get certification like that given by the soil association. Without certification, consumers cannot know if the product is organic. Regretfully, at present, there are no government agencies that certifies cosmetic or beauty products as organic. For those looking for a fast-track way of getting into the business of organic cosmetics, getting products from white-label organic producers may be an option. For example, one may consider white label organic skin care or hair care. In addition, buying wholesale organic beauty products from such producers may help save costs.

Can cosmetic beauty products be organic?

Theoretically, yes, but very few beauty products are truly organic in reality. It is because checking the organic status is quite complex. Most certifying third-party labs are private companies with limited ability to check if any product is genuinely organic. Moreover, these private labs use standards that their specialists created, not some international experts. Additionally, organic is not just about the product. It is also about its outer packing. For example, the ingredients of cosmetics might be organic but not the outer packing. Nevertheless, some manufacturers do ensure that their product packaging is recyclable and made of environment-friendly materials. Another thing worth knowing is that government agencies do not certify products as organic. Thus, European Commission certifies organic produce, but it does not consider cosmetics within the scope of organic rules.

Similarly, in the US, regulatory bodies like the US FDA do not certify products as organic.

The USDA may certify ingredients as organic in the US, but not the final cosmetic products. Nonetheless, some associations and organizations have started certifying cosmetics products as organic. Some of these organizations are following quite a high standard. Still, certifying any product as organic is quite complex. Additionally, it is worth knowing that even all the certificates regarding ingredients, final products, do not guarantee that the final cosmetic product would be 100% organic. Take an example of EU regulations, which states that any product can officially use the organic logo if 95% of ingredients are organic. It means that as per European Commission norms, 5% of ingredients in any product maybe not be organic, and still, one can use a logo claiming their product as organic. This regulation has many implications for beauty products. Just imagine if some product contains four or five natural ingredients. It would be quite challenging to know the non-organic parts of that particular product. Of course, a manufacturer can simply claim that all the ingredients used were organic. However, the total non-organic content of the product may be pretty high and difficult to understand.

How do you know if your beauty products are organic?

Knowing if any product is organic is quite challenging. Regulatory authorities like US FDA, USDA, and European Commission do not certify beauty and cosmetic products. Nevertheless, the situation is not as murky as it may sound. For example, USDA in the US and European Commission certify ingredients and other natural products.   At present, one of the best ways to know if the product is organic or not is to look for the labs or logos of third-party labs. Some of these labs have a pretty high standard, and they stringently check everything to ensure that the product is organic.  However, not all labs are equally good. Thus, one should not merely look at the logo but also try to understand what that logo means. In addition, one should try to learn more about the organization that provides certification and authorizes the use of that particular logo. 

Are organic cosmetics good for your skin?

Organic skin care manufacturers generally use high-quality ingredients that are certified to be organic. Thus, it would be safe to say that organic cosmetics are good for the skin. Nevertheless, it is a complex question, as lots depend on the ingredient. Furthermore, it is vital to understand that non-organic ingredients are also quite good.  However, organic cosmetics may be slightly better. For example, they might be safer for prolonged use. In addition, they would often be free from heavy metals or have very low content. Similarly, they are less likely to contain traces of pesticides or similar toxins.  Additionally, it is worth understanding that organic is not just about the safety or effectiveness of the product. It is more about protecting the environment. Each year millions of tons of cosmetics are produced, and organic cosmetics are less likely to cause harm to the environment when compared to non-organic.

What are the best organic beauty products?      

At present, there are very few producers of high-quality organic cosmetics. It is a niche segment that can still be waiting to be filled. In Europe, Germany remains the leader in producing natural and organic cosmetics.  Some of the major companies in Germany producing organic beauty cosmetics are Dr. Hauschka and Lavera. These companies do provide some excellent organic products. Moreover, they have a vast range of products for every need. Nevertheless, it is worth noticing that most of their products are natural, and very few of them are certified as organic. Perhaps the better way of understanding the organic cosmetics segment is by looking at the smaller producers. There are many farmhouses and small-time manufacturers that produce high-quality organic products.  These small producers might not have a broad range of products, but most of their products are organic and certified. Moreover, many such products are hand-made and produced in small batches. A soil association is an organization that certifies many such small producers, and their website could be an excellent source of information on such producers.

Organic cosmetic products are on the rise. Do you want to recreate your favorite formulation using organic ingredients? Get in contact with us and we will find the perfect organic solution for you!