What Are Organic Cosmetics?

Lainie Petersen

Organic cosmetics are made from ingredients that have been certified organic by one of the many certifying organizations that operate around the world. An organic ingredient is technically an ingredient that has been grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. Depending on a manufacturer's formulations, organic cosmetics may be made entirely from organic ingredients or may include organic ingredients. Cosmetic experts point out that the choice to purchase organic cosmetics should primarily be an ethical one, made out of concern for the environment and farm workers. Just because a cosmetic is made from organic ingredients does not mean that it is necessarily better for the skin or healthier for its users.

Some blushes contain organic ingredients.
Some blushes contain organic ingredients.

In response to ongoing concern about environmental pollution caused by agricultural pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals, many people choose to purchase products made from organic materials. These materials are typically grown in organic conditions that do not involve the use of synthetic chemicals. The term “organic” is somewhat protected by the existence of organic certifying bodies that review the standards of various organic farms and plantations in order to ensure that their operations remain in compliance with accepted organic standards. Each certifying body has its own standards, with some certifying bodies being regarded as more credible than others. Consumers are encouraged to educate themselves as to the legitimacy of organic certifications and to look for certification seals from reputable organizations on the products that they buy.

Some cosmetics companies use organically produced ingredients in their makeup.
Some cosmetics companies use organically produced ingredients in their makeup.

Some cosmetic manufacturers are using organic ingredients in their cosmetics. As such, their products are often marketed as organic cosmetics. One thing that consumers should be aware of is that chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers are generally removed from the plants and other ingredients used in cosmetics during processing. If an individual is purchasing organic cosmetics in order to avoid exposure to pesticides, he or she should be aware that this particular danger does not exist even in conventionally produced cosmetics. It is also true that even organic cosmetics can trigger reactions and irritation in some customers because of the ingredients themselves, regardless as to whether they were produced organically.

Consumers should beware that organic cosmetics are only as good as their formulation. While it is typically a good thing to purchase organic items out of respect for the earth and for those who are engaged in various types of agricultural labor, the organic certification does not mean that a product is necessarily good, effective, or healthy to use. Someone who purchases organic cosmetics should subject these products to the same type of evaluation that he or she would apply to any other skin care or makeup item.

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