Sustainability Sunday #33
Is organic actually organic?
Are hipsters and tree-huggers actually on to something? Is organic actually everything their unsolicited chit-chat promises? Yes, friends, it is. I’m here to tell you that organic health and beauty products are not just a hipster fad and we gotta get clear on what’s actually organic.
Last year, sales of “organic” beauty products went up by 20% in the UK (see the Soil Association‘s 2016 Organic Market Report for full deets), and as consumers we are more health and beauty conscious than before, but with this we’re more sustainability and ethics conscious too. We want high quality products, but we want products that work with nature and deliver natural benefits to our body and skin, rather than products that are compromising nature and the environment and dousing us in chemicals.
Why is it important to have organic beauty products?
Whilst our bodies can endure long-distance running, 4 days a week boozing and cramped carriages on the tube, they are somewhat delicate. We often also forget that our skin is actually an organ which means a significant amount of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, rather than slathering on a bunch of chemicals to hydrate, bronze, de-wrinkle and barricade pollution we should be looking for products that do these things naturally. For you extra environmentally-concious people, using real organic products will help minimise your impacts on the environment as the brands who produce organic products often care about the impacts of their packaging, transportation and waste too. Choosing organic also helps to future-proof as organic standards stop practices such as GM whose full impact on the environment, and our bodies, is yet to be fully understood. Just like cooking, organic beauty products work better because they contain better ingredients.
How do we know whether products are actually organic?
At the moment, there aren’t any legal requirements for labelling products as organic, it’s possible that something labelled as organic might have just one organic ingredient, and in order to label a product as organic brands only need have 1% of the product formula be actually organic. The Soil Association warn that the health and beauty industry is funding marketing campaigns that claim products are “green” rather than putting funding into research and development for products that really are environmentally friendly and toxin-free. Experts, including The Soil Association, have therefore developed some voluntary standards that enable committed brands to communicate their product formulae to customers; The Soil Association commit to “making it simpler for people to choose skin-loving organic formulations that are just as effective as conventional cosmetics but without any of the ugly compromises.” As well as the Soil Association logo you should also look for reputable voluntary logos such as COSMOS and NaTrue.
So which are the best brands to buy from?
Neal’s Yard Remedies – pride themselves on honesty, integrity and transparency. Making their products with the maximum organic, natural and raw ingredients, and carefully select other functional ingredients with safety and biodegradability in mind. All NYR’s products use high quality organic plant-based ingredients, and they fully disclose ingredient information with customers, both online and, wherever possible, on packaging.
Trilogy – go on the belief that you don’t have to sacrifice performance for natural. Originally a range of five rosehip skincare products, Trilogy now craft over 40 incredibly effective natural alternatives to synthetic skincare, body care and hair care.
Nourish Skincare – are a British organic skincare company, offering high quality, ethically sourced, vegan skincare products made in London. Nourish combine the highest quality natural extracts with advanced scientific bio-actives.
Antipodes – a New Zealand company built on a combination of the highest quality ingredients from New Zealand nature and raw super-fruit extracts with science and innovation to produce high-tech certified organic products.
Burt’s Bees – who offer truly natural products to maintain their “earth-friendly and natural personal care company” tagline. They believe nature is a laboratory with the perfect ingredients forming in a natural environment by natural means – sun and rain.
So if you’re looking for organic products, remember to look for the organic certification logos on the packaging, along with the percentages of organic ingredients and anything that’s listed as vegan or vegetarian. Of course, I would love you to share your favourite organic/natural/eco/vegan products with us and every recommendation helps! 🙂
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