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What Organic Beauty Terms Mean

"Organic" Means Nothing When It Comes to Beauty

Did you know that no government agency regulates use of the term "organic" when it comes to makeup and skin care? Yup, it's true. Although the USDA enforces a strict standard when it comes to food labeled as organic, the same isn't true for makeup and skin care, which are notoriously poorly regulated.

So what does this mean for you? Well, mostly that if you pick up a product that says it's organic, that label means absolutely nothing. There's no regulatory process, so bald-faced lies from manufacturers are all over the place. The item could have no organic, or even "natural," ingredients in it.

There's actually only one way to tell if your product is organic. There's a completely voluntary USDA organic regulation for skin care, called the USDA NOP. Products that are actually organic and pass the standard will have this USDA Organic seal on them clearly displayed, so there's no mistaking them. Otherwise, the great majority of the "natural" or "organic" items you may be picking up didn't pass USDA organic standards, may well be making a false claim, and could actually be totally synthetic. Until the FDA or USDA starts regulating these claims and ingredients the same way they do food and medicine, it's definitely buyer beware. So read the ingredients and remember that if there's no USDA seal, it's not actually organic.

Join The Conversation
Cris1192 Cris1192 7 years
I think this post is great, because there are so many lies in the make up industry, specially when it comes to organic stuff. There are people who have really sensitive skin and they can't handle all the chemicals regular lotions/make up have and they buy this "organic" stuff trusting the brand only to have the same results.
pandacn pandacn 7 years
Oh, and to follow up, some brands now specify where the fragrance comes from (like Jurlique), which is really nice (even though it's voluntary) because that used to be a huge loophole in putting fishy ingredients in a product without listing it.
leenstarr leenstarr 7 years
That's really disappointing. I get really happy when I buy products that have recycled materials and the makeup/lotion (whatever it is) is made from natural/organic materials. I also try to stay away from parabens, and unnecessary ingredients (including too much fragrance). Ah well =/
biarose biarose 7 years
This is interesting. I buy from a little known Australian company though, who I really trust.
jasonRS jasonRS 7 years
Great note, we posted it on our blog. Thanks, Jason
pandacn pandacn 7 years
This is a great topic, but it would be really useful if you did a post about the brands that are known for being actually USDA organic, or that its ingredients are actually natural! And what types of non-natural ingredients should we look for in particular? There's been so many myths/rumors about the actual harm or lack thereof of parabens. Also, sometimes, natural ingredients are so far down the line of ingredients that it doesn't even make a difference.
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