Organic September 2021: A Guide To Organic Beauty
Get involved this Soil Association Organic September by finding out why organic beauty products are better for you and what organic beauty means. Or, why not Organic Your September by choosing products that have the Certified Organic stamp of approval?
What is Organic September?
Organic September is a great time of the year to bring an awareness to the benefits of choosing products from brands that are certified organic or that use organic ingredients. When choosing beauty products, we can be drawn in by high-street stores through clever branding and prices. However, it is important to check that what you are buying is organic.
Organic September reminds us of the great lengths that organic beauty brands go through to:
- Combat climate change.
- Protect our planet, animals & wildlife.
- Curate plants/ingredients that are kinder to our skin.
So, is it not up to us to support them and in turn treat our planet more kindly? Let us explain why we think you should try to Organic Your September.
What is organic farming?
Organic farming is a way of farming that is kinder to people, planet and animals by being regulated by strict ethical standards so as to protect the environment and biodiversity of our planet. These rules that organic farms have to abide by, help to conserve our world's resources and holds values like minimising the negative impact farming can have on the environment, at it's core. Organic farms must:
- Use fewer pesticides and only a limited number of even natural pesticides such as citronella. Instead they must use other plants and animals to protect their crops.
- Not have GM produce.
- Not use artificial colours or preservatives, to ensure no toxicity in their produce.
- Use natural fertilisers such as compost and manure, instead of chemical and synthetic fertilisers, this protects wildlife and diversity and reduces greenhouse gases (by not having to burn fossil fuels to create them).
Did you know? 41% of the UK's wildlife species have decreased since 1970 and more than 1 in 10 are currently facing extinction and this has been linked to toxic pesticides.
If all farms in Europe followed the organic farming principles laid out by the Soil Association then we could see agricultural carbon emissions drop by 40-50% by 2050.
How to know if the products you are using are organic?
It isn’t always easy to know because there is no legislation out there for companies to abide by when using the word organic on their products and in their branding. This unfortunately means that any company can describe their product as organic no matter how low the percentage is. The best way to ensure that the product you are choosing is actually organic is by checking to see if it has the Certified Organic logo on it.
If there is no logo (from the list below), check to see if it states the percentage that it is organic either on the product packaging or their website. If a company or brand is ethical and eco-friendly and truly cares about being organic, they will make it obvious how much of their product is organic.
What does Certified Organic mean?
Certified Organic Beauty means that not only are the products 95% organic but they have to go a few steps further to make sure more elements of the business and supply chain meet the ethical regulations. The most popular organic bodies, their logos and what they all stand for we have listed below to help you to know what to look out for in the future.
Soil Association Organic Standard
When you see this symbol on a product this means that it has not been tested on animals, there are no genetically modified ingredients, they have not used controversial chemicals, parabens, phthalates, synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances or nano particles.
Instead these products will contain higher levels of antioxidants (up to 60%), have used sustainably sourced organic ingredients, have transparent manufacturing processes, biodegradable ingredients, have used minimal packaging with maximum recycled content and have created this product whilst protecting wildlife and biodiversity.
To use Organic in their product name and hold this certificate, the product must contain at least 95% of organically produced ingredients.
To use Made With Organic Ingredients on their product, it must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
But what about products with a large percentage or water, clay or salt which cannot be deemed organic? (These can never be organic as they are not farmed).
This is where Soil Association come into play and have partnered with the COSMOS natural certification. COSMOS Natural products do not have to contain any organic ingredients – although many do.
Soil Association & COSMOS Natural
COSMOS Natural is most suitable for products containing a lot of ingredients which cannot be organic, such as water, salt or clay – for example toners, bath salts or face masks.
The Soil Association COSMOS logo guarantees no animal testing, GM ingredients, controversial chemicals, parabens and phthalates, synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances.
The product may contain natural/organic ingredients, but holding this certificate does not allow them to use marketing of organic content.
ECOCERT, established in 2003, was the first organisation to develop a clear product certification that standardises the meaning of "natural" and "organic" beauty.
To be classified as ECOCERT, a product cannot contain GMO's, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (except for those naturally produced from animals, like milk or honey).
A minimum of 95% of the total ingredients in the formula must come from natural and organic origin. Plus, ECOCERT products' packaging must be biodegradable or recyclable'.
There are three different ECOCERT labels.
- The natural and organic label (Organic Cosmetic) requires that 95% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and 10% of all ingredients, by weight, come from organic farming.
- The natural label (Natural Cosmetic) requires 50% and 5%, respectively.
- The third (COSMOS) was formed by ECOCERT and four other organic and natural cosmetics companies in Europe (including France, Germany, Italy, and the UK) to standardise beauty certification globally. This label means that a product has been certified by five organisations using the principles in the ECOCERT standard.
Founded in Belgium in 2002, COSMOS is a body that applies standards to cosmetic products branding themselves as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. COSMOS unites five separate entities: Cosmebio, the Soil Association, Ecocert Greenlife, BDIH and ICEA. They have created a unified certification for manufacturers of natural and organic products looking to enter the European Market.
COSMOS Organic: A product can only be labelled as organic if 90% or more of its ingredients are organic. Products not meeting this requirement can use the label ‘made with organic’ ingredients, instead. However, they must also comply with certain requirements too. For ‘made with organic’ cosmetic products, they can range from 20% of all ingredients being organic for cosmetics that are meant to be left on the body for a long period of time, to 10% of ingredients for products that are washed off shortly after applying.
COSMOS Natural: This is most suitable for products containing a lot of ingredients which cannot be organic, such as water, salt or clay – for example toners, bath salts or face masks. ‘Natural’ products are those which may contain some organic ingredients, but not enough for them to be labelled ‘organic’ or ‘made with organic’.
NATRUE certification encourages transparency when using the term 'organic' and is now an internationally recognised logo for natural cosmetics. Products holding this label will have gone through a strict criteria to be called a 'natural cosmetic', 'natural cosmetic with organic portion', or an 'organic cosmetic'. To be labelled and Organic Cosmetic, 95% of the natural ingredients must come from a certified organic production.
To be certified by NATRUE the product must meet high standards of sustainability, as well as being cruelty free.
BioGro is the leading independent Organic Certifications Agency based in New Zealand. They set high standards basing their audits on UK Soil Association standards. When you see a BioGro logo on a product, it means that it is guaranteed that the product is made with at least 95% of Organically Certified ingredients with the remaining 5% not being synthetic chemicals and contains over 70% of organic ingredients.
Certified Organic beauty brands we stock
Zao, &Sisters, The Nature of Things, Eco Femme, Antipodes and Sol de Ibiza.
Certified Organic beauty products we stock
Conscious Skincare (cold pressed oils), WUKA Organic Cotton, Upcricle Face Serum with Coffee Oil, Evolve Radiant Glow Face Mask, Evolve Daily Defence Moisture Mist, Evolve Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum, Evolve Eye and Lip Contour Cream, Evolve Hyaluronic Eye Complex, Evolve Bio Retinol Gold Face Mask, Evolve Liquid Radiance Glycolic Toner, Evolve Rose Quartz Facial Polish, Evolve Multi Peptide 360 Face Cream, Evolve Climate Veil SPF20.
We also stock hundreds of products that contain organic ingredients at varying percentages. Watch this space as we plan to increase our organic range over the coming months.
Are organic beauty products better for you?
There are so many reasons why organic beauty products are better for you and your skin and the benefits of organic beauty:
- Gentler on the skin.
- The products do not contain chemicals and so are safer for us and our skin.
- Organic products contain antioxidants such as Vitamin C and other ingredients that will make your skin look healthier, younger and moisturised and will also protect in some way against the UV rays.
- Naturally scented products will not be overpowering but not so subtle you can’t smell them. After a while you will be able to tell the difference between natural and synthetic smelling products and trust me you will not want to go back!
- Organic products do not contain ingredients such as aluminium. The extraction of this element from the earth destroys eco-systems and destruction of rainforests.
- Your skin could clear up if you start using organic products that are in their purest form.
Why do some products have Certified Organic ingredients in them but the product is not Certified Organic?
There are two reason that this may happen:
1. Organic ingredients only relate to farmed ingredients. Ingredients such as water, clay or those that have been foraged cannot be Certified Organic as they have not been farmed. This can mean that no matter how much a brand wants their product to be certified organic, if there is over 5% of ingredients that have not been farmed, then their product will not be given the certified organic certification.
2. It is a long and expensive process to gain a Certified Organic certification and unfortunately for smaller brands this is not always financially possible.
Some brands that we stock that contain certified organic ingredients but are not organically certified, such as Awake Organics, Zero Waste Path and Rue & Cole.