What is organic?
First and foremost, there is NO definition in the cosmetics universe for what "organic" means. If we were to be frank, the real definition of organic means, "was once living or contains carbon".
The FDA doesn't really regulate products that claim to use organic ingredients but if they claim to be 100% organic, they will follow the USDA's guidelines for labeling. So let's think about this...arsenic is organic and that's just one example! There are also plants that can be irritating to the skin when applied topically. So, organic isn't always the way to go. (CON!)
A lot of natural fruits that can be used in skincare contain antioxidants, however, and are beneficial to the skin if used topically. Just like toxic substances are absorbed through the skin into the blood stream, so are the beneficial products placed onto the skin! Antioxidant's rock and fight free radicals which can be a cause for signs of aging. (PRO!) That being said, antioxidant rich ingredients are sometimes used as the preservative for helping defend the concoction from bacteria and degradation....but just like the fruits and veggies you get fresh at the market, these products will start to eventually spoil. This means that the shelf life is very short so you have to use them quickly. Short shelf life = spending money frequently on these products (CON!) But that's really up to you.
Are organic products just as good?
We have celebrities and celebutantes gush over their organic products and advocate for a "chemical free" regimen but they still go under the knife. So what's giving them their look, the organic skin care line or their face lift? An example would be sunscreen. The best form of sunscreen is going to be with physical sunscreen ingredients, which are inorganic. (CON!) As we've learned, physical is more effective in protecting us from UV and in return, keeping our skin safe from harm and aging symptoms. Here's what an article has to say,
"Sunscreen is a vital component to any skin care regimen, yet any product that's certified organic must contain at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients. That means any sunscreen labeled organic doesn't contain enough of the necessary active ingredients to protect you from the sun. Organic cosmetics manufacturers know this too; honest ones make a point of noting that their sunscreen products cannot be certified organic, but less scrupulous companies mix up a cocktail of organic oils and imply that the product is useful for sun protection while failing to tell consumers the SPF level the oil contains."
Find more from that article here .
How do we know what's best?
Beauty Brains is a really interesting resource that comprises of savvy scientists that dedicate their work to helping consumers steer clear of false advertising and not wasting money on expensive products that don't work. Beauty Brains in their Money Saving Cosmetics Reports has a term that they call "greenwashing" where advertisers will say that it's ingredients are natural or organic, however when you look at the ingredients listed, they are only can be created in a lab!If a product says "used with 100% organic ingredients" that means that some of the ingredients may be organic but that the product may still contain synthetic ingredients! GOTCHA! So be aware of this! Check your ingredients! Paula Begoun has an awesome website with an ingredient dictionary that's really extensive- www.paualschoice.com.
If you are environmentally conscious though, organic skin care lines are usually just as green as their consumers. So if you are adamant about helping reduce your carbon footprint and being a friend to mother earth then an organic product line may help you! Not only that but sometimes they are actually linked with organizations that help with their community or for those in need. (definitely a PRO!)
Another wonderful resource that is my new found favorite is FutureDerm.com, again, another site dedicated to what's REALLY going on with your skin and the products you're using! (Here's their article)
Bottom line, you shouldn't think that the cosmetics industry is out to get you but it's still good to be aware. While organic ingredients and products are good for you, sometimes they aren't as results driven as ingredients manufactured or recreated in labs. You don't have to be all or nothing but if you are then make sure you know your sources
Need more nerdy research? Check out Kimberly Snyder, one of my favorite bloggers and nutritionist! She's awesome, love her.
Want a list of organic skin care lines? Here is the USDA website that has organic skin care companies information. Below is a list of USDA Certified Organic Skincare companies;
- Badger Balm www.badgerbalm.com
- Beeceuticals Organics www.beeceuticals.com
- Dr. Bronner www.drbronner.com
- Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics www.earthmamaangelbaby.com
- Intelligent Nutrients www.intelligentnutrients.com
- Lotus Cosmetics USA www.LotusCosmeticsUSA.com
- Motherlove Herbal Company www.motherlove.com
- Planet Organics www.planetorganics.com
- Trillium organics