Organic Beauty 101

Organic skincare and cosmetics lines are cropping up on the beauty market, but are they really better for you?
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What Does Organic Mean?

When it comes to the beauty industry, the term "organic" has been lobbed about so casually that most consumers equate organic with natural products. However, this is a common misconception.

The main difference between natural and organic is that there are no official guidelines as to what constitutes natural beauty products, whereas organic products must abide by stringent regulations. According to the USDA's National Organic Program, the term "organic" may only be used on labels for raw or processed agricultural products or ingredients that have been produced according to the regulations put forth by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Among other things, these standards require 100 percent organic feed for organic livestock, and prohibit the use of irradiation, sewage sludge, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and genetic engineering in organic production.

Breakdown of Organic Labels

So how can you tell if a product is really organic, or only partially organic? Here's what the terms on those labels really mean.

  • 100% Organic: Must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). This is the only label that guarantees a completely organic product. These products can carry the USDA Organic Seal.
  • Organic or Certified Organic: At least 95 percent of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt). These products can carry the USDA Organic Seal.
  • Made with Organic Ingredients: At least 70 percent of content is organic. Front panel can say "Made with Organic" and list up to three specific ingredients. These products cannot carry the USDA Organic Seal.
  • Less Than 70% Organic: Can list only organic ingredients on ingredient panel, but not on front panel. These products cannot carry the USDA Organic Seal.

Continued on page 2:  Is Organic Really Better?

 

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