Standards for Natural and Organic Cosmetics
If you are concerned about what you eat, and the levels of synthetic chemicals present in your food, the next logical step is to focus attention on what you put on your skin every day. Up to 60 percent of what is applied to the skin soaks through to the blood vessels where it is processed by the liver. The rest of the cosmetic is absorbed by the skin or evaporates away. For those who approach their health holistically, cosmetics warrant a closer view as to what the current standards are regarding natural and organic cosmetics.
A natural cosmetic denotes a product made with natural ingredients and simple methods of preparation. Natural cosmetics should also be free from synthetic ingredients, which are agents that have undergone extreme heat or pressure to drastically alter the chemical profile of the original substance. Many synthetic chemicals, although chemically identical to their natural parallels, have a history of causing allergies, contact dermatitis and other adverse reactions when they are used in cosmetics. Petroleum-derived substances likewise have a dubious history, causing damage to the environment and the skin.
If in the manufacture of a cosmetic ingredient or whole cosmetic the ecology and biodiversity of the flora and fauna of the earth has been irreparably damaged, then the cosmetic cannot claim to be natural or organic. Likewise, genetically modified, bio-engineered or irradiated ingredients appear contrary to the concept of a natural cosmetic. Natural ingredients must be limited to substances which are derived directly and simply from plant sources, minerals and rarely animal sources, and use methods such as cold-pressing, distillation, collecting, such as with beeswax or honey, which imposes no harm to the bee or its hive, harvesting plants and seeds, etc. In addition, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to examine the safety data for each ingredient used to ensure minimal or no toxicity to the consumer.
In Canada, there are no current standards for natural or organic cosmetics, and organic food labeling is voluntary. In the U.S., many are lobbying for stringent standards in the cosmetic industry, to regulate how the terms "natural" and "organic" can be used. There are no standards for personal care products, so some manufacturers have procured certifications by independent organizations from various parts of the world. Ingredients which are used in the manufacture of cosmetics which are certified agriculturally by the USDA can be identified on labels. For food, a product is 95-100 percent organic if it contains mostly or only organically produced ingredients. The California Organic Products Act of 2003 states that a personal care product is certified organic if it contains 70 percent minimum weight organic ingredients which are non-water and non-salt, but the rest can be synthetic or petroleum derived as long as these substances are on the National Organic Programís approved list. Controversy has arisen from the use of hydrosols, or floral waters to constitute the bulk of the 70 percent, in order to gain certification. Clearly, focus on organic status is necessary, but more pressing is the issue of whether a cosmetic is truly natural or not. It is not possible at the present time to have a full range of cosmetic products which are made from all certified organic ingredients, since the cost is prohibitive, but more importantly the availability of ingredients which would qualify as truly organic are not available.
The Organic Make-up Company is committed to providing consumers the following assurances:
- Our all natural cosmetics have been prepared by pure, simple, natural ingredients and preparation methods.
- The environment has been respected in the manufacture of our cosmetic products.
- Renewable resources have been used, where possible.
- Absolutely no synthetic or petroleum derived ingredients have been used in any or our products.
- Products which have been genetically modified (corn, soy and wheat) have not been used when a non-gmo alternative is available for use.
- Irradiated ingredients have not been used.
- Animal products, animal slaughter by-products or animal by-products which have caused the suffering of an animal have not been used.
- Where possible, certified organic ingredients have been used, and continue to be sought out to replace non-certified organic ingredients.
- Packaging materials have been simplified to reduce landfill waste, and have been selected for their ability to be washed out and re-used by the consumer for other purposes.
- For vegan consumers who object to the use of beeswax, all products have been formulated with plant waxes to replace beeswax at the consumerís request.