Are Natural & Organic Cosmetics Just A Con?

6173542901_c9e1dc74bd_zWhen it first arrived there were many that thought the all-natural and organic product rage was just a phase that would eventually fade out. But it looks like organic is here to stay and suddenly everyone is jumping on the bandwagon because if they don’t, their revenues are going to take a serious knock. Unfortunately for the customers, it results in the majority of cosmetics being quite expensive, although when you use Discountrue coupons and go to such shops as Kohl’s it shouldn’t be a problem.

My research has shown that if a food product is certified organic, then it had better be damn well organic or else there are going to be some serious consequences. But when it comes to cosmetics, things become a little grey. The truth is there are very few regulations governing the organic and all-natural cosmetics industry. And even if you do find a product that completely abides by the organic certification regulations you’re aware of, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is actually safer for you.

Oh and just in case you were thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because you never wear makeup, think again. Cosmetics is an umbrella term for any kind of product that is used on your skin or hair. This includes shampoos and conditioners, body lotions, anti-aging creams, perfumes and deodorants, makeup, eye drops and any kind of sunblock. Basically if it is used on your body but doesn’t involve being swallowed, then it is considered a cosmetic.

Now before we begin – here’s a quick breakdown of what certain labels are supposed to mean:

Natural – some of the ingredients in this product are derived from natural sources and contain no synthetic compounds (not all of them though)

All Natural – all of the ingredients in this product are derived from natural sources (this is not always a good thing, consider petroleum jelly for instance)

Made with Organic Ingredients – this normally means that the majority of the ingredients in this product meet an organic standard, but this is not always the case (it might have just two organic ingredients)

100% Organic – this means that all the ingredients in this product are supposed to meet an organic standard (plant sourced, no synthetic chemicals irradiation or pesticides and again – not always the case)

But here’s the thing – not all labels are created equal, and even if a product carries some kind of organic/natural certification then it is not a guarantee that they are as organic as you believe them to be. There are a number of regulatory bodies in the organic cosmetics industry but their standards for certification are not uniform. There are even a few companies who have created their own ‘Organic’ certifications based on whatever standards they deem appropriate.

Now let’s say you find a product that is as 100% organic and natural as it claims to be. The question you need to ask yourself is whether the benefits it claims to have are fact, fiction or plain old exaggeration. And then you need to ask yourself whether those synthetic products you’re trying very hard to avoid are in fact harmful. It is true that there are some synthetics that have harmful side effects, but it is also true that there are a whole lot of those that do no harm whatsoever!

Some facts for you to consider are:

You can search the entire internet, university and research lab in the world. Even those odd people who like to conduct research in their garage. And nowhere will you find substantiated research (take note of that substantiated because there are those who publish a claim but have little to back it up) that proves organic ingredients are better than non-organic or synthetic ones. There are good synthetic ingredients, and there are bad ones. And there are good organic ingredients but there are also bad ones!

There are natural ingredients that are routinely included in organic/natural products even though they are known to be irritants with research to back up these claims. Irritated skin causes a breakdown in collagen which hurts the skins ability to heal. Just like some people have a reaction to certain ingredients in traditional cosmetics, some people have a reaction to ingredients in organic cosmetics. At the end of the day (in my opinion) there is no real difference between an organic and a traditional cosmetic product.

So it is up to you to decide which you prefer and which product works better for you. But you should note that completely organic products have a much shorter shelf life, and they are normally horribly expensive. But if you’re worried about dangerous synthetic ingredients then try to select products that have a ‘Safe Synthetic’ certification. And read the labels. By law a product has to list its ingredients and if you’re willing to do some research, you’ll find what works for you.

And if you ever find any product anywhere that doesn’t have a detailed list of ingredients then do not buy it – or do it at your own peril!

[About the author: Susan is a proud mom of three beautiful children – Tom, Ann and Chris. Some time ago she has taken an interest in natural living, and since then she’s been striving to improve her and her family’s world while staying on a budget. Her interests include not only frugal living and the environment, but also writing. Image: shipbrook]

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