When I first started learning about organic makeup, I pictured butterflies alighting on biodynamic fields of lavender and organic rose petals magically ground into lipsticks. And yes, maybe it is like that – somewhere, in someone’s pretty organic fantasyland.
However, shopping for safe, natural and organic cosmetics is kind of like the wild, wild west. The words "natural" and "organic" can have a variety of meanings from simply being made with natural ingredients to made with 100% organic ingredients. Essentially, these terms may be unregulated, confusing and sometimes not true. That's why we created NaturalMeBeauty.com to provide you the best information, brands and products when shopping for safer products.
So what we do when shopping for natural and organic skincare or cosmetics? Almost every expert we speak to about this subject says the same thing – educate yourself. There is very little regulation preventing companies from branding their products as natural and organic for marketing purposes. So it's really up to us, the consumer, to sort through the misinformation and educate ourselves on product ingredients.
Here are some quick and easy tips to get started on your journey...
You can find a few organic brands you really like and stick with them. Also, look at the packaging of a product. Chances are if they invest time and money into eco-friendly packaging, the company is also conscious about their product's ingredients. And most important, always read your products ingredient list and look for certified labels.
NATURAL: The USDA regulates that food can only be labeled natural if it contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed. The term is applicable to cosmetics that are made with natural, food-like ingredients. Although this label is an important step in the right direction, there isn’t a lot of regulation for enforcing it. However, the USDA standards for labeling something organic are much stricter.
ORGANIC: There are three tiers of organic labeling. If something is 100 percent organic, this means that the products were made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods and therefore can be labeled “100 percent organic”. “Organic” also applies to products with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Both of these categories may also display the USDA Organic seal.
If something is “USDA certified organic,” this means that products ingredients have been certified USDA which regulate the sale of organic products to consumers. Products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them, such as Vegan, Cruelty Free, etc.
If a product is “made with organic ingredients,” this means that product is made with less than 70 percent organic ingredients and can only mention this fact in the product’s ingredient statement.
BIODYNAMIC: Common in many overseas products, this means the product has been organically farmed in a rather interesting way. Biodynamic farms are cultivated as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing the development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, and animals as a self-nourishing system without external inputs.
While there are limited regulatory bodies to verify this production standard, biodynamic production standards can sometimes exceed organic standards.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your next organic beauty shopping adventures!