Throughout my beauty journey, I’ve found there are way too many pitfalls the way I’m told what a skincare product is, from the way they are marketed to the way they are packaged to the way I am sold. One thing that I find most confusing is the word “certified organic.” Often when I see a skincare product marketed as “certified organic,” I think it’s 100 percent “purer” than its non-certified-organic variants. But are they? Let’s look at some of these certified organic standards.
1. USDA Organic
If your skincare products have the USDA Organic seal, it means it contains at least 95 to 100 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt).
For products with 70 percent or less than 70 per cent organic ingredients, they may list some of the organic ingredients on the packaging. However, they CAN’T use the USDA Organic seal anywhere on the packaging.
It is said to be the first of its kind to introduce the “natural and organic cosmetic” standard, which was created in the year of 2003. Products accredited or labeled with the Ecocert natural and organic cosmetic label mean:
- At least 95% natural ingredients and 10% organic ingredients in the finished product.
- No GMOs (genetically modified organisms), parabens, phenoxyethanol, ingredients derived from petrochemicals or synthetic chemistry; no testing of the finished product on animals.
- The entire manufacturing process, including the packing stage, is controlled. The packaging and outer packaging must be biodegradable or recyclable.
3. Certified Natural Cosmetics (Kontrollierte-Naturkosmetik)
As I find out from its website, this certification was founded in 1996 by an association called BDIH. A third party is said to conduct testing for its products. Products marked with the “Certified Natural Cosmetics” seal are said to use natural raw material such as plant oils, fats and waxes, herbal extracts and essential oils and aromatic materials from controlled biological sources.
Its guidelines stipulate that:
- No animal testing is used.
- No GMOs are used.
- No organic-synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, ethoxylated raw materials, silicones, paraffin, and other petroleum products are used.
- However, preservatives are allowed to ensure that the products are safe to be used.
However, I couldn’t find any information about the minimum amount of natural or organic ingredients on its website.
I haven’t covered all certified organic standard on the market. But just having a glimpse of the above three seals you will quickly know, just because a product is “certified organic” doesn’t mean all, or even a majority, of its ingredients are organic. This is an important lesson to learn.