Organic Beauty 101
Is Organic Really Better?
With so much hype behind the organic beauty movement, one assumes there must be huge benefits to using organic products, right? The jury's still out, but some research suggest that there are certain benefits to going green.
"There is strong evidence to support that true organic personal-care products can be healthier for people and the environment," says Diana Kaye, cofounder of the organic care line Terressentials. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that methyl and butyl parabens and certain preservatives -- all ingredients commonly used in personal-care products -- have been linked to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, and neurological disorders, as well as various cancers. "True organic personal-care products would not contain preservatives," says Kaye.
But do organic products lend any aesthetic advantages? "Is there a noticeable difference? I think no," says Barbara Close, author of Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics and founder of Naturopathica, a holistic health spa in the East Hamptons. However, "Some nonorganic products use petrochemical ingredients such as mineral oil which can irritate sensitive skin. Also, skin recognizes and identifies with natural products better." So while organic products may be noticeably beneficial for people with sensitive skin, their main allure lies in the environmental and social implications of choosing organic. "Using petrochemicals depletes earth's natural resources," says Close. "Purchasing from independent farms sustains a livelihood of people who really care about artisanal ingredients and the wellness of their purchasers."