Annette Christy, owner of Chikii online organic beauty store and blog. She presents some great guidelines on choosing organic skin care products.
Organic Beauty Trends readers will also receive a special discount on all orders from Chikii. Details are at the bottom of this article.
Author – Annette Christy owner and founder of www.chikii.com.au
Are you new to using organic skin care products? Are you shopping for an organic skin care product?
Do you know what to look when shopping for a organic skin care product? Are you new to using an organic product instead of using a conventional product?
Below is information on what to look for when shopping for a high quality pure product and some tips on how to use them.
How to make an informed decision on the right product for you?
It is important to look and understand the ingredient listing on the label.
Below are some guidelines.
How pure is the product? What percentage is plant and essential oils? Are the ingredients from a natural source, certified organic, or are they synthetic? Approximately the top third of the ingredients usually take up 90- 95% of the product, the middle third about 5-8% and the bottom third, 1-3%. The ingredients on the label are listed in quantity order, the first ingredient being the largest.
What methods have been used to extract ingredients? There are several ways to extract oil from a plant. It can be extracted with a solvent (butylene or propylene glycols, acetone and other petroleum derivatives) which leaves toxic residues in the products, or by extremely high heat, which destroys the botanical properties associated with the plant. Refined oils are poorer quality than unrefined cold pressed oils in their natural state. Look at pressed vegetable oils where extraction occurs without heat or the use of preservatives such as avocado, macadamia, jojoba, coconut, olive. Look at dried herbs that have been infused. This maintains medicinal and nutrient properties of these herbs e.g. calendula, chamomile, olive leaf, green tea, rosemary, gotu kola. Look at essential oils and floral waters that are extracted by steam distillation which retain their therapeutic properties e.g. lime, rosemary, lavender, tea tree, peppermint.
How much water (aqua, distilled water, juice) is watering down the product? We know that water is filler and is not an active ingredient.
How natural is a product? Watch out for products that are called natural but may only have 1 or 2 ingredients that are natural; the product is not totally natural. If it says “organic” or “natural” on the package, it’s not necessarily a natural or organic product. Especially when it says “natural”. First of all, the term “natural” bears no legal responsibility whatsoever, so plenty of unscrupulous manufacturers put it on concoctions full of synthetics, fragrances, colors, etc. Therefore to make sure you actually get natural or organic skin care, be sure to read the ingredients on the labels. If a product says that is contains organic ingredients it does not necessarily mean that it is a fully natural product. It could mean that it is a 99.9% chemical cocktail with a 0.1% of extract from something organic. So read the labels carefully. This is a very popular gimmick, especially with the big mainstream companies trying to get a piece of the “green” pie.
Are there synthetic or toxic ingredients present? Have ingredients been treated with a synthetic ingredient to get a final ingredient? E.g. derived from a chemical name followed by the natural ingredient.
Preservatives are important in a product as they stop bacteria forming and keeping the products fresh. As we know artificial preservatives (parabens) are not good for your health. It is important to look for natural preserving systems that are safe e.g. sugars, plant alcohol, herbal extracts, Vitamin E, plant oils, essential oils.
Artificial Colours or Fragrances. Gorgeous scents can be very enticing and often influence our beauty and personal care purchases. Artificial colours have no therapeutic value other than increase the products visual appeal. These colours can actually act as irritants and unnecessarily upset the skin.
Chemical foaming agents. These are used in most shampoos and body washes and may contain toxic substances such as Nitroamines. Look at alternatives e.g. Yucca Cactus Extract, Decyl Glucoside (derived for maize) and polyglucoside
Choose products that have the cruelty free logo. Some products contain bees wax, milk, honey, propolis and royal jelly and are considered by us to be not harmful to the animal. The source of organic beeswax is from suppliers where no stress or suffering is caused to the bees. They live beautiful peaceful lives where they are treated with respect.
How would I know whether a product is certified organic?
Look for the organic certification seal from one of many organizations throughout the world. If the products are organic and natural, it should carry a certification from a certifying body. In Australia the following organizations certify organic products:- OFC (Organic Food Chain), NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture) ACO (Australian Certified Organic), OGA (Organic Growers of Australia). Read the label very carefully. Check out the ingredients list of the products and note the first three ingredients as they usually are the ingredients base.
Look for products that are certified organic by organizations that are recognized and who follow strict guidelines. Look for the words ‘cold pressed’ and ‘organic’ on labels. Always look for the words “essential oil” instead of “fragrance”. For companies to be certified, all ingredients must be derived from a natural source.
Packaging. Protecting your health means not picking products that use plastic packaging as it can leech into the products which you are applying to your skin. It is absorbing these plasticizers which have been linked to lowered fertility rates and other health problems. Avoid excess packaging to protect the environment. It is important that the packaging contributes to the longer shelf life of the product, because organic skin care does not contain harsh synthetic preservatives, packaging has to help in protecting the ingredients from contamination. One of the most popular packaging materials for natural cosmetics is glass. Glass is non-porous and inert material, which is good for the lifespan of the formulations. And it is recyclable, making it a popular “green” choice. Aluminum jars (with protective resin) are also popular because they are recyclable, and because they squeeze the product out and don’t refill with air — thus minimizing contamination.
As most of the brands use powerful active ingredients with natural ingredients to preserve them, they are packaged in airless serum pump dispensers to protect them from light, air and to ensure maximum hygiene.
The worst packaging from preservation point of view are the open jars where you have to put your finger in to get the cream out. You effectively transfer the bacteria from your hands into the jar. Not to mention continuous air exposure. If you have such a product, try to use it as quickly as possible, store it in the fridge and always wash your hands!
sources- refer to www.beautydirectory.com.au. look at the cosmetic safety database,skindeep.
Using an Organic product – some tips.
Organic products are more concentrated, and the essential oils are powerful in the smallest amounts. A little goes a long way. To prevent using too much you may like to apply your product to damp skin. You will find that products are extremely gentle but highly effective. Use a wash cloth to remove cleansers and it should be used only be you. You will not need to use cotton wool. A wash cloth will also give you a little bit of exfoliation and you will achieve a better result from the use of your cleanser. If you are allergic to almonds and your new organic makeup contains 100% organic almond oil, you’ll be allergic to it. So while it contains far fewer synthetic allergens, if you have specific food allergies, always double check the ingredients.
Organic products should be stored below 25°C in a dry environment. Protect from direct sunlight. Do not store below 5°C.
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