Does shopping for clean beauty leave you feeling confused? Ever wondered why some brands claim to be natural whilst others have natural and organic certifications? Which should you choose? And what do ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ even mean?
Here we guide you through shopping for truly green beauty products.
Why choose organic beauty?
Because they are not exposed to artificial fertilisers, organic beauty ingredients typically have a rich mineral content and a high volume of skin nourishing vitamins and antioxidants.
By choosing to use organic skin care you are also opting to avoid synthetic ingredients and fragrances which have been linked to causing skin irritation and sensitivities.
The greenwashing problem
Unfortunately, product labels can be hard to decipher and with some labels featuring countless claims, it can be challenging to determine if your skin care is as organic and as good for your skin as it suggests.
Worryingly, UK legislation permits brands to label skin care ‘natural’ when it contains less than 1% natural or organic ingredients. Likewise, brands can claim that they are ‘dermatologically tested’ even if they’ve been tested on just one person and even if they failed that the test!
Claiming your product is natural when it in fact contains a high percentage of synthetic ingredients is called greenwashing and this can make shopping for genuinely green products problematic. To overcome this challenge you’ll need to pay close attention to skin care labels and understand how to read the signs of greenwashing.
UK legislation permits brands to label skin care ‘natural’ when it contains less than 1% natural or organic ingredients.
The difference between natural and organic skin care
So, what should you look for? In the first instance you’ll want to check for signs that your skin care is natural or organic.
Natural skincare and hair care is made using plant-based ingredients and genuinely natural skincare should not contain any synthetic fragrances or chemical ingredients such as phthalates, parabens, silicones or PEGs.
Organic skin care is also made using plant-based ingredients but what makes it different to natural is that is supports the entire environmental concept of the preservation and growth of our natural world. This includes avoiding exposure to chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and growth suppressants during farming whilst actively supporting and improving soil health for future generations.
What is organic certification in beauty?
So, you’ve checked the label and your skin care claims to be natural and organic. But how can you be sure? The trick to shopping for genuinely organic skin care is to check the label for the logos of certification bodies.
There are several organic certification bodies in the UK and Green People has products certified by The Soil Association, Organic Food Federation and Ecocert, making it the first brand in the UK to be independently certified by three different bodies. You’ll find their logos printed on our packaging and this certifies that our skin care formulations contain sustainable, organically farmed ingredients that have not been tested on animals.
THE SOIL ASSOCIATION
The UK’s leading organic certification body is The Soil Association. They set the first organic beauty standards after the founder of Green People, Charlotte Vohtz, approached them in 1994 and petitioned for the organic beauty industry to be standardised (you can read more about this in our story here).
The Soil Association’s certification stipulates that a brand can only be certified organic if it provides evidence that a high proportion of its ingredients were organically farmed. For organic certification to be awarded the product cannot be tested on animals and should contain no harsh, chemical ingredients.
ORGANIC FOOD FEDERATION
The Organic Food Federation launched an organic standard for personal care products in 2002. Like the Soil Association certification the Organic Food Federation has strict standards and has two levels of certification. Products containing over 95% organic ingredients can use the word organic in their title. If a product contains 70-95% agricultural ingredients from organic sources must state the percentage of organic ingredients it contains, and print this percentage on the product’s label.
Certification by Ecocert proves that a product’s formula contains a minimum of 95% plant-based ingredients and that at least 10% of all ingredients were farmed organically.
Securing organic certification is a long process but is something that Green People takes very seriously. We’re proud to be the only cosmetics company to be independently certified by three different certification bodies. You can find out more about our certifications.