Organic Beauty

If you haven’t stopped by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) lately to read about their Coming Clean Campaign, you should. Why? Because they’ve been working tirelessly to clean up the “organic” cosmetics industry since 2004 and they’re finally starting to make some real headway.

Due to poor labeling standards, many beauty products that claim to be “organic” are falsely labeled as such. The goal of the OCA is to limit organic claims to products that are actually certified by USDA organic standards.

In 2010, the OCA, along with certified organic brands Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Intelligent Nutrients and Organic Essence filed a complaint with the U.S. National Organic Program about the terrible labeling practices of so-called “organic” personal care brands. The complaint urged the USDA to regulate cosmetics like they do food and crack down on these fake “organic” brands once and for all.

Some of the personal care brands accused of false labeling in this complaint included:

  • Avalon Organics
  • Dessert Essence Organics
  • Earth’s Best Organics
  • Giovanni Organics
  • Jason’s Pure
  • Natural and Organic
  • Kiss My Face Certified Organic Botanicals
  • Nature’s Gate Organics
  • Physicians Formula Organic Wear

The craziest part about the above list is that those brands, and only those brands, comprise the short list of “healthy” personal care products carried at my local health food store. How sad is that?

The OCA is working to curb this problem too by asking retail stores that claim to make health a priority not to carry brands making false organic claims. The OCA won a major victory recently when Whole Foods agreed to set up a new requirement for it’s organic personal care brands, saying that their shoppers “don’t expect the definition of ‘organic’ to change substantially between the food and non-food aisles” of their stores.

Right now the only way to protect yourself against all the deceptive labeling going on in the “organic” beauty industry is to only buy products that carry the USDA Certified Organic seal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture only awards this seal to products with contents that are 100% certified organic or 95% certified organic with the remaining 5% of ingredients posing no known risk to health or environment.

Any beauty product that does not bear this seal but still claims on its label to be “organic” is not telling the full truth. It likely still contains several, (if not dozens), of chemicals and synthetic ingredients that pose a risk to human health.

The following brands carry the USDA organic certification seal:

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