Why certificates matter (and do they, really)
You may have heard of some certifications for organic products like Soil Association or Ecocert and might wonder does it matter whether the cosmetics or skincare products you use are certified organic or not.
So, let’s tackle the question, do certificates matter?
Skincare and toiletries industry can be a little Wild West sometimes. Interestingly they can be called organic; even if they contain a tiny percentage of organically grown ingredients and/or are mostly synthetic, it’s not legally regulated. That’s why you see so many products titled 100% natural or organic even though the actual product would not be one. Greenwashing has become a trend as so many consumers want to buy more natural skincare products. You need to be a bit of an inci list geek to spot synthetic from organic products.
What does certification do?
Certification is your guarantee that the products you’re using have been independently tested to make sure they’re using the purest ingredients and processing methods available. For instance, the Soil Association and Ecocert certificate also mean the product does not contain parabens, petrochemicals, propylene glycol and other potentially harmful synthetics. All Soil Association-certified products are also cruelty-free; not testing on animals is another requirement for brands wanting to sign up.
Ingredients can only be organic if they’re produced through an agricultural process. In other words, they need to be farmed. For example, you can have organic oils, as, almonds can be grown organically to produce organic almond oil.
Minerals, clays, chalks, salts and berries picked from the forests can’t be organic. You can’t have organic wild grown berries or kaolin clay, because none of these ingredients is farmed. They can be processed in a way that is approved by the organic certifying bodies, but they can’t be certified as organic. In the UK and Europe, 95% of the ingredients must be organic for a product to be classed as organic.
So the bottom line is, certification helps you spot the organic products from synthetic ones. The certifications assure that the national and international guidelines are met and that the products are safe to use and don’t contain any harmful ingredients. We’ve provided you with a small list of some certifying bodies; the list is not exhaustive.
Do you use certified organic cosmetics?