Monday, October 22, 2007

What Does Organic Mean To You?

Organic beauty is big business these days, but what does it mean if a product is labeled organic? Does it only contain certified organic products? Is made only of natural ingredients? Does the company follow any sort of environmental regulations? Or does the company simply slap on the word organic on an otherwise average product as a marketing gimmick, as a way of making an everyday product a high end product?

While I can't give you the answer to these questions, I can tell you that the FDA does not regulate organic goods. It's left up to manufacturers to decide when the organic label applies. Organic basically means that all the active ingredients in a product are grown without chemicals or pesticides. Products described as natural are supposedly made without the addition of some synthetic additives like chemical preservatives or non-natural colors or fragrances. To further confuse things, some beauty products are labeled as containing botanicals. All this means is that the product contains naturally derived ingredients and essential oils.

I've had issues with so-called environmentally friendly products in the past, and the lack of any real regulations over the organic/natural/botanical label further frustrates me. Consumers receive mixed messages every day. We hear that our lipsticks have lead in them, we hear that man-made chemicals are potentially deadly. But then we learn that no one is really paying attention to what goes into our beauty products. It's enough to almost make me what to stop wearing makeup (I said almost--don't panic!).

I wish I could tell you what you could do as a consumer, but I'm at a loss. My rule of thumb when it comes to makeup is that I try to buy products that are not tested on animals. I simply don't know what to do when it comes to yucky chemicals or toxins in my makeup because I'm not a scientist and I have no way of knowing what's going in to my favorite mascara. As a consumer I have to trust the manufacturer, and that something that's becoming increasingly difficult.

Do you have any thoughts or advice on this matter? Leave me a comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i didnt know that the fda didnt regulate our cosmetics with more scrutiny. it makes me nervous as a consumer. maybe i'll learn to make my own makeup so i know for sure what goes in it!