Going Green : Organic + Natural, what does it all mean anyway?


The Soil Association just released their Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Market Report and much to our delight, Organic Beauty is on the rise! Last year the UK alone saw sales of £61.2M in Certified Organic and Natural Beauty products. That was up 13% from the year before! Organic and Natural Beauty is here to stay.  We are incredibly proud to introduce the first Certified Organic Sugar Paste to the UK over here at London Sugaring Company. Our partnership with Sugar Paste formulator extraordinaire Tamara Anderson of Tamara's Sugar has allowed us the exciting opportunity to lead the way in Organic Hair Removal. Yeah baby! So what does it mean to be "certified" Organic anyway? Well, in the US where our line originates from the NOP, or National Organic Program that is housed within the USDA oversees the process a brand/product/manufacturer must go through in order to obtain the seal of certification. This means formulation, ingredient sources, good manufacturing processes and facility inspections are reviewed  in order to ensure that any product with the USDA Certified Organic seal has met or exceeds these stringent standards.

So what's up with brands calling their products Organic even when they do not carry a seal or logo indicating they are? There are definitely beauty brands out there that formulate using high quality organic ingredients but have not yet invested in or chose not to go through a formal certification process. Getting Certified is not always a quick or easy process and it carries a bit of a price tag. It's not always an option for a small brand when they are starting out or even a priority for a bigger brands. But there are also brands out there that use 1-2% Organic ingredients and then slap Organic in their product name. Incredibly enough there is no regulation against the use of the word organic on beauty products here in the UK. It's a buyer beware situation when it comes to products labeled natural or organic that do not carry a certifying seal.  So, step one should always be: Turn that bottle, tub, tube around and read the ingredient list.

One hot topic in the industry at the moment is the increasing prevalence of a trend called "greenwashing".  Greenwashing can come in many forms. We could talk about corporate practices or environmental implications but for sake of staying focused on beauty let's talk about what greenwashing looks like when it comes to personal care products. Ever been browsing the aisles of your favorite store and found a nicely package body lotion with a green leaf in the logo or tree on packaging? Let's say for examples sake the brand and product is called Nature's Naturals, Botanical Moisture (made this one up, but you get the point). You get all excited because finally you've found an £3 body lotion that uses natural ingredients. What a bargain! You turn the label over and there it is......a list of 45 ingredient you can't imagine came from planet earth. Oh wait, there's some coconut oil in there (phew!) but the rest is looking pretty suspect. There you have it, you've been conned by that eco green leaf logo, the recycled looking craft paper label or the earthy brand name. Happens all the time.

Let me get a touch off track from a quick sec. I'm not here to tell you that Organic and Natural is the only way to go. I'm not even going to suggest you avoid synthetics in your skincare because truthfully I believe in the power of non-natural preservatives when they are necessary. Safety is a huge concern when it comes to what you're putting on your skin, so it's good to know that your product isn't going to grow something funky in it or go rancid in two weeks. There are effective, highly tested non-natural preservatives out there I personally see a place for when it comes to skincare care formulation. As someone who makes much of their own skincare I can tell you that it's no laughing matter when a product that goes funky on you. Ok, I digress - that's an entire blog post in and of itself. 

Ok, back to my point because by now you're probably wondering what my point actually is. Essentially this is what I want to put out there - Not all brands are interested in being fully transparent.  Just as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Natural and Organic Beauty is booming. Companies are looking to get a piece of the action and because no one can tell them otherwise, they will resort to telling you what you want to hear to make that next sale. Be diligent in checking labels, ask the companies you're working with or buying from to talk to you at more length about their ingredient list. If they are calling their product organic but don't have a seal from one of the major Organic Certifying bodies then ask them the percentage of Organic ingredients and/or which ingredients are organic. Totally fair question. When it comes to professional beauty we as practitioners have to step up and ensure that what we tell our clients, or better yet, what we sell our clients is up to the standards we believe it to be. This means asking questions and not taking everything that is marketed to us at face value.

Let's put our best foot forward when it comes to transparency and by all means let's not sell our clients anything we haven't truly taken the time to research. We can elevate the natural and organic beauty scene by becoming experts in our craft as well as our product. 

Cheers to label reading and asking more questions! Have a question for me? Let me know!

* Want to learn more about The Soil Association + COSMOS Certification criteria. Read more HERE. USA Standards that our product meets requirements for - Check out this fact sheet