Even if we don't buy it, organic food is now readily available in our supermarkets but when it comes to organic beauty products? They aren't always so easy to find. And why should we use them, anyway? We know they are 'good' for us but can they actually do to make us look better?
To mark Organic Beauty Weekend (7th - 8th September), Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy, told us why buying organic beauty products can make a difference to our skin, hair and health.
What makes a beauty product organic?
In order to be certified organic a product needs to be 95 of ingredients need to be approved non organic, which means they must be nontoxic to humans and the environment.
Why is it better for us to buy organic?
12 years ago if you asked me the same question I would say we had very little choice. Basically any herb extract, plant oil, plant wax can be used but also today we have a host if organic high-tech ingredients which have proven efficacy, eg anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing, firming etc. It's fantastic.
Which organic ingredients should we look out for in in health and beauty products?
The most common ingredient used is probably rose. Not only does it smell divine, it has so many uses. It's brilliant for circulation, preventing capillary damage, treating infertility and anti-ageing. Its anthocyanins not only protect the cells from UV and other free radical damage but also the breakdown of elastin. It is an excellent ingredient for skincare products but it can also be used to benefit the nervous system. Rose oil is well known for its uplifting and anti-depressant action.
Which ingredients should we avoid in our skincare, hair care and makeup products?
- Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing preservatives- a very common preservative in skincare. Remember science lessons at school and seeing animal organs in tanks of liquid? That is formaldehyde.
- Parabens (alkyl parahydroxybenzoates)- small enough to get into the skin and they mimic oestrogen. They have been found in tumours and also bio-accumulate in the body.
- Phthalates: They mimic oestrogen in the body, they are direct carcinogens and can bio accumulate (build up in the fatty tissue in our body).
Is it possible to buy organic beauty products on a budget?
There are lots of organic ranges on the market to suit budgets but don't expect miracles from supermarket bought organic toiletries. Higher priced products have better quality ingredients with high tech actives, a high percentage of organic ingredients and they are generally nicer to use.
Find out more about the Soil Association's work with organic beauty.