Monday, 8 September 2014

How to Make the Switch to Organic Beauty Products (editorial)

Organic; closer to nature © Dilshad Roshan
In acknowledgement and celebration of Organic September – and more pertinently Organic Beauty Week, which starts today! – I thought I'd create a helpful little guide to help ease the switch from the very non-natural toiletries to organic alternatives.

For most people it's concerning that there's not enough information on the effects laboratory chemicals have on their body. They feel safer choosing products that are much closer to nature and have the certification to prove it. The skin is our biggest organ and absorbs whatever we put on it in small amounts; it makes sense to me and millions of others to cut out any suspicious ingredients.

If that doesn't sway you what about ecologically sound production methods? This partly means that organic manufacturers can prove where their ingredients have come from so consumers can make an informed choice but it's bigger than that. Many worry about the use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients, but you won't find these in certified organic beauty products.

The beauty industry is poorly regulated. Anyone can claim their product is natural or organic with very few natural or organic ingredients included! Stick to a certified product (Soil Association is the strictest, then COSMOS then EcoCert) and you'll be fine. Don't be afraid to try non-certified products, though. Some companies save money by skipping the certification, but you take a chance.

This is not something I'd do in one fell swoop! For a start, throwing away lots of half used products isn't very environmentally friendly and it's such a waste of money. Instead use up a product and replace it with a natural or organic option. This is a far more affordable – not to mention easier – way of making the switch.

You'll probably run out of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner first so replace these, then face and body care. Organic make-up is still in the early stages of development, in my opinion. There are some great products, make no mistake, but there's not a huge selection yet. Change that last; I guarantee you'll be far more aware and knowledgeable of organic brands after you've changed everything else – you'll be in a better position to buy then.

If you're worried about the availability of certified organic products, don't fret. There's a truly massive range of Soil Association, COSMOS or EcoCert approved products, especially if you shop on-line. The internet is your friend; you'll be amazed what you can find there! Soil Assocation's list of organic beauty companies is a great place to start: click here.

Organic products can be a little more expensive, but not always. It depends what you're comparing them with. You can get anything from simple and honest to posh, glitzy designer-style brands with impossibly glam packaging. Whatever suits your budget and your preference is available – if you can't find anything that appeals please get in contact! Send us a message here, on Facebook or on Twitter and we'll get back to you with some suggestions.

While I'm a big supporter of organic food and beauty products I still use some non-natural cosmetics and toiletries. This is for two reasons, the first is simply because people give me stuff to try! I never say no to a freebie and always review it in a balanced and honest way whether it's natural or not. But I also love certain products that either have no natural alternative or the natural option isn't as good, for example mattifying face primer. I've still cut out a lot of artificial ingredients and I'm happy with my 60/40 approach to organic beauty. Don't feel bad if you can't go completely organic. Every little helps.

For all the organic or part-organic products click HERE.

For all the Soil Association certified products click HERE.

For all the EcoCert certified products click HERE.

Good luck! :-D

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