Organic beauty is more than skin deep

Anna Louise Batchelor - 03 August 2012

Anna at Neal's Yard Remedies

Anna visiting Neal's Yard Remedies

My first ever organic purchases weren’t food, they were skincare products. Why? At the time I was a student involved with the Women’s Environment Network (WEN). They exposed me to the ugly truth behind mainstream beauty products. Through WEN’s research and campaigning I was quickly educated on the nasties of beauty. I learnt that many mainstream products contain chemicals that can cumulatively lead to an increased incidence of hormone disruption, birth defects, bladder and breast cancer. I decided that something natural, something organic was what I wanted.So off I went on my bike to shop for organic skin care products, returning with a clinking collection of little blue glass bottles.

I do like to take care of my skin. I believe that having healthy skin, hair and nails starts with eating healthy food and only then do you add the beauty products. So if you eat organic food do you really want to eat 2lbs of chemical laden lipstick in your life? Yes that’s on average what a regular lipstick wearer will consume in a lifetime according to WEN.

The world of conventional skin care products is extremely lucrative, it’s seriously big business. With that comes lots of marketing spin, so you need to be a savvy shopper. You will know what I’m talking about, lots of loose ‘natural’ claims on plenty of big branded products. So I was really pleased, and prompted to write this post, when I saw the fantastically clear guide to organic cosmetics published by the Soil Association. Please read it and inform yourself, along with reading up on the work of WEN (there is useful information for men too!).

As natural beauty is something that I passionately believe in I am pleased to see the organic sector grow and mature. With no disrespect to the pioneers, it is wonderful to see new brands coming onto the market, alongside the established British companies who have increased their range to include more English grown ingredients and Soil Association certified make up.  

All these developments help move organic beauty products into the mainstream.  It’s not about sack cloth and ashes, strange concoctions made in muslin bags. It’s about a new generation of clearly labelled and certified organic products that really work. 

If you want to take care of your natural beauty I urge you to choose certified organic. After all, your skin is your biggest organ. You need to take care what you put on the outside as it will end up on the inside.

Anna Louise Batchelor is an environmental scientist who has worked in academia, government and industry. For the last six years she has been part of Reading's True Food Co-op.

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Comments



SA Certification
08 August 2012 17:13

Organic health and beauty products currently are not regulated. Organic food is controlled by the EU regulations, which is the baseline that certification bodies in the UK certify to. Any food claiming to be organic has to be certified to those regulations as a minimum. Some familiar cosmetic products do claim to contain organic ingredients and may also contain ingredients that a customer may not like. The only way to be sure that an organic health and beauty product you are buying is genuine is to check the label for a recognised symbol of an organic certification body. If you are still unsure you can ask the health and beauty company for a copy of their organic certification documents which lists their certified products.

Will A.
05 August 2012 22:47

witty title, and a very important topic to be adressed. I have found adverse effects from a lot of industry chemical cosmetics such as soaps and shampoos. I agree Anna, ts time we stopped listening to adverts and treated our bodies with dignity; inside and out.

Anna Louise Batchelor
05 August 2012 18:03

John thanks for your comment on a really important issue. Under the COSMOS standard, which is the internationally recognised standard for organic and natural cosmetics (developed by amongst others the Soil Association) it states; (Section 5:2 Animal Testing) Cosmetic products must not be tested on animals. Cosmetic ingredients must not be tested on animals except where required by law.

Martin Godfrey
05 August 2012 10:39

Good to read your awarness to the nasty world of cosmetics and how they trick you into purchasing their products to make you feel good, of course it's not just what we apply to our body's but what we put in it through what we eat, we are what we eat. The body has the the abilty to look healthy, full of vibrancy if we eat nutritious, fresh fruit and veg in a balanced diet including nuts, pulses and grains and nice oils without applying anything at all to your skin, beware that company's do use the word organic on cosmetic products that are not what they seem, The market is simply flooded with duplicate products. Many companies (some reputed ones included), though label their products to be organic, are using synthetic chemicals. Some other companies, outright cheat the customers by selling chemically made cheap products under the banner of natural and organic. Always read the label well and get to know the tricks of labelling which allows companys to get away with evils which is they do in the food industry. There are many good documentarys online to searchand watch, Food Inc with michael pollan is one. A rule of thumb to follow, don't buy anything that is heavily advertised on TV or in supermarkets.

John Morgan
03 August 2012 17:59

Another good reason to buy natural products is that they are (mostly) non-animal tested - but do check!

Jenny Toul
03 August 2012 12:35

Good article, it made me think more about just what it is I'm putting on my skin every day

S. Cley
03 August 2012 10:35

I try to use organic cosmetics and beauty products whenever possible and I feel that they are better for me.

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