How do you identify organic cosmetics?
“Organic cosmetics” is not a protected term with a single legal definition. This means there is a wide range of “natural” cosmetics on offer, from conventional cosmetics with a number of natural ingredients to organic cosmetics certified in line with exacting standards.
In most cases, however, it is safe to assume that “natural cosmetics” are made primarily from natural ingredients. Established natural organic cosmetic quality seals that identify “genuine” organic cosmetics can help with selecting among the many products now available. When a product is undergoing certification, it is tested with an eye to its properties, production, marketing, and controls. If a tested product meets the standards for the specific seal in question, that product is given the appropriate certification, such as the Ecocert or COSMOS quality seal. This means not all organic cosmetics are the same. Here is an overview:
Nature-based cosmetics contain plant-based active ingredients but are produced using conventional methods. This means, often synthetic fragrances and preservatives are used, along with UV filters. They are oriented toward the standards for organic cosmetics but have not been certified.
Natural cosmetics mostly do not require synthetic ingredients but do need to consist of 50% or more herbal ingredients. Manufacturers often use natural raw materials or those that have been chemically modified but were extracted from natural substances. These products are preserved through the use of alcohol or essential oils. Important note: Certified natural cosmetics is not the same as organic cosmetics, although natural cosmetics do contain a certain percentage of organic ingredients!
Organic cosmetics are required to be produced from 95% plant-based ingredients. Ten percent of all ingredients must come from certified organically grown plants. Parabens, silicones, paraffins and other petroleum products, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrances and dyes, and the use of raw materials derived from animals are all prohibited. Established quality seals provide the best information regarding raw materials used, how the products are produced, and the product quality.
Vegan cosmetics are not permitted to contain any substances of animal origin, such as dairy, honey, beeswax, animal fat, and so on. However, just because a product is vegan does not mean it meets organic standards. For that you need to ask for certified vegan organic cosmetics.
As a matter of principle, I only use organic cosmetic products with established quality seals for all treatments.
Another tip: Apps are another good way to learn more about the ingredients in your products.