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What are Certified Organic Cosmetics?

You may have noticed that there is a new trend in makeup and cosmetics - to provide a natural product line option.  The packaging is usually simpler or incorporates green into the label to show that there is something organic about the product.  The bottomline is though, we have yet to see Certified Organic Cosmetics and Makeup because this industry remains highly unregulated.

Where are you to begin?  Many companies claim to have natural products, or organic ingredients but that does not necessarily mean their products are natural, organic, green or safer!  What has been coined greenwashing is basically effective marketing and labeling intended to trick shoppers into purchasing the product under the belief it is a greener option, when the only thing green about it is the ink on the label. (Think Aveeno, Origins or CoverGirl)

There is still quite a bit of debate about what would or would not constitute Certified Organic cosmetics - is it simply being made of natural products?  Do those ingredients also then need to be farmed in a sustainable organic manner? Should the product be labeled as to just what percentage of the product is in fact natural?  Burt's Bees notes this on its containers - but they refer to it as "natural" ingredients, not "organic", which leaves one asking - what is the difference?  There is no standard, so it is left to the individual company to decide.  Which leaves a lot of work on the part of the customer to do the research and figure out what the company considers organic or natural. 

I know what you are thinking - This is getting complicated. I know, I couldn't agree more.

Let me give you some of my best tips when hunting out cosmetics that are healthier, more natural and free of the five ingredients you want to avoid.  

- Read the labels.  Ignore the packaging and what the label on the front says - read and check the labels on the back for the five big no-no ingredients. Try to avoid anything with the letters "ethyl" (Which means it is petroleum based). 

- Do the best you can, and try to pick the lesser of two evils.  I find that when I spend endless amounts of time reading labels I get overwhelmed and sometimes just give up.  I figure if I can pick a better option than I normally would in the past, then its one step in the right direction. 

- International brands might be your best option.  The United States is behind the curve in regulating the chemicals and products used in cosmetics and makeup.  Products from Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe likely have more regulation. 

- Ask your friends, do your research online (check out this online database) or stop into a local health food store and start asking questions.

If you're looking for more information and to follow the movement to a world with safer cosmetics, check out this!