The term Organic is legally defined under European Law, and food and drink production is regulated to this standard, so if food or drink is labelled Organic, you know it has been grown or produced under specific conditions.
However, the same rules do not apply to cosmetics. If you see ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ on skincare or cosmetic products this doesn’t necessarily mean what you might think. There is currently no legal definition of these terms for the cosmetics industry, so manufacturers may label skincare and cosmetics as ‘natural’, even though just 1% of the ingredients are from natural sources. They may also label a product as containing an organically produced ingredient (e.g. lavender oil), however this may be just a few drops among a cocktail of chemicals and petroleum-based ingredients.
If you consider that much of what we put onto our skin may be absorbed into our bloodstream (this is how nicotene and contraceptive patches work), it follows that we should be just as concerned about the products we put onto our bodies as we are about the food we put into them.
There are manufacturers of skincare products out there that really do produce natural cosmetics, and exclude the use of chemical and petroleum ingredients, some of whom are now (voluntarily) becoming certified organic. We have included links to many of these in the bodycare & cosmetics category of our shopping directory.
For more information about the chemicals included in everyday cosmetics see our page “ingredients to avoid in cosmetics“.
Note regarding essential oils
Something you should also consider when choosing natural bodycare products is where do the essential oils included in many formulations come from? You may not be aware that many wildharvested essential oils (such as Sandalwood and Rosewood) can only be collected by felling mature trees, and as a result many of these species are now endangered.
For a list of endangered wild-harvested botanicals see the bottom of our ingredients ingredients to avoid in cosmetics page.
Please note that some of the companies listed in our bodycare pages do sell products containing these oils, so if this concerns you you may wish to avoid these particluar products.