It’s The Soil Association’s ‘Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week’ and there’s been much furore recently about ‘green-washing’. Even the mainstream press has identified that many products claiming to be organic and natural are not as clean as they seem.
It’s long been a problem for consumers, how do we know what the labels mean?
A skincare product claiming to be ‘organic’ might contain only the teeniest amount of one organic ingredient rather than the perceived one hundred per cent of goodness. I now encourage consumers to look for what’s NOT in the product rather than what is, for example, if a shampoo contains your favourite, chamomile or lavender – it’s really doesn’t make any difference if they’re high quality and organic, if they’re alongside every potentially toxic chemical that you wouldn’t have chosen to wash with!
Brands who really care about their credentials will usually shout about it, and make it clear that they are either accredited or that they do NOT use the obvious ‘scary chemicals’. The UK’s leading accreditation body The Soil Association wants to campaign for greater accountability in the beauty sector after discovering products that are meant to be ‘organic’ containing hidden ‘nasties’. Even well-known industry names such Boots and The Organic Pharmacy have come under fire, and despite her shouting from the rooftops that we must all buy green and organic, it seems that Gwyneth Paltrow’s own organic beauty range may not be as organic or green as it first appears. The Mail on Sunday did an investigation which found that some of the own-brand products contain some potentially harmful ingredients such as Retinyl Palmitate, (apparently listed as one of The Soil Associations ‘hated’ list), also Diheptyl Succinate and Panthenyl Triacetate, which are both derived from petro-chemicals.
I am of course ‘imperfectly natural’ in my approach and can accept that sometimes brands use some ingredients that aren’t perfect but I believe in transparency, the fact that on the Goop website they claim that one of these products containing the aforementioned petro chemicals is ‘formulated with organic ingredients and contains approximately 86 per cent total organic content’, I believe is misleading.
In addition to The Soil Association, there are of course other organisations offering accreditation and certification, and not only for the ingredients status, some organisations recognise standards in packaging and fair-trade credentials. It’s worth remembering too, that just because something doesn’t have an organic certification doesn’t mean it isn’t! If you pick a home-grown apple from a tree in your garden, and you know you’ve never sprayed it, it’s as natural as it can be – right? Similarly, I love championing brands who are lovingly hand crafting their skincare products from the kitchen table using only completely organic (sometimes food grade) ingredients but they aren’t at the stage where they can afford certification.
Nevertheless, to celebrate Organic and Wellbeing Week, here’s a round-up of a few of our favourite organic brands and a selection of certifications…
In order to create the purest, most potent skincare products, AEOS work in harmony with nature and pay attention to every detail. They nurture and grow plants and herbs with biodynamic farming – harvesting at the peak of their mineral and nutrient life-force – without the use of man-made pesticides, chemicals and fertilisers.
AEOS blend ingredients with the purest water enhanced by crystal energies, and all ingredients (except Dew facial wash which contains organic honey) are vegan and never tested on animals.
One of the reasons incognito® was created was to provide an insect repellent that was as effective as its chemical cousins (Deet) but did not destroy mammalian brain cells or pollute the environment. Incognito are proud to say that their natural mosquito repellent spray is completely safe for our planet. All the ingredients are 100% natural.
Wherever possible they use organic essential oils or their derivatives, e.g. organic Java citronella. Where possible, products are packed in the most sustainable materials. For example, their flagship insect-repellent spray uses post consumer recycled plastic which can also be recycled at the end of its life if not reused.
TIANA Fair Trade Organics Ltd is a registered importer and supplier of Certified Fair Trade Organic coconut oil and coconut products available in the UK and all their premium range of organic coconut products are Fair Trade certified by Ecocert Fair Trade, a well known certification body in the field of organic, fair trade, food safety, environmental and social compliance. They are also certified by Organic Farmers & Growers and by USDA Organic.
Inlight products are 100% organic certified by the Soil Association Cosmos, and are one of the few brands still using a completely artisanal production. Dr Spiezia who is behind the brand, uses alchemy and science to enhance the ingredients with his unique methods, ensuring a unique and powerful finished product which works with your skin as well as on it.
By being certified, customers can be sure to receive a pure, effective product which ‘brings beauty to life’ whilst ensuring a greener and healthier future for the planet. For Inlight, organic is a way of life.
Their organic Frankincense & May Chang Moisturiser uses Soil Association accredited organic Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil. The Black Seed Oil although not organic is unrefined and virgin. The essential oils used are both organic. This moisturiser complies to EU regulations and the perfume (the only non organic essential oil is the Balsam de Peru) will be going through the same process. Skin Elixir are in discussions with the Vegan society and looking to use their accreditation as the company grows.
Rawgaia are accredited to COSMOS Organic standards with Soil Association certification. They are accredited to show complete transparency so that their ethical standards are crystal clear to anyone that purchases (or is thinking about purchasing) a Rawgaia Superfood Skincare product. Their superfood skincare collection is cold pressed where possible, organic, pure and hand made.
All products are free from SLS, parabens and other harsh chemicals, they only use the highest grade botanical ingredients, extracts and infusions that mother earth creates. They are proudly a cruelty-free company and strongly against animal testing.
Urtekram (meaning ‘herbalism’ in Danish) has created a range of beautifully organic products designed to go one step further in terms of green credentials. Not only is the complete range certified to the stringent Ecocert COSMOS standards two years in advance of other products in the field, the whole range is also vegan, cruelty free, allergen safe and ecologically sound.