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Go Green on Your Skin: Organic Makeup 101

Aging | Health

Using organic skin care products has gotten so popular that more and more companies, including big brands, are adding organic makeup to their product lines. Aside from using ingredients that are more environment-friendly, another perk of using organic makeup is that it reportedly makes your skin healthier and appear more supple. Naturalists and environmentalists (and of course, lifestyle yogis) are among those who especially advocate using organic makeup instead of the lab-produced type, which allegedly uses chemicals that are harmful to the skin and the environment.

But does using organic ingredients really translate to more skin-safe products? To understand organic makeup and its possible implications and benefits, let me define what organic makueup actually is and how it serves as an alternative to chemical-based products.

What is "Organic" Makeup?

There is actually no clear-cut definition of organic makeup. Some people classify makeup as organic if it is made purely of plants and naturally occurring minerals, while some say that as long as it doesn't contain synthetic materials, it is considered as organic makeup. However, the most commonly agreed on definition or qualifier for organic makeup is if all the materials used in making the product are free of pesticides. This is what most companies and institutes mean when they claim a product is "certified organic."

How Do I Know if the Product I'm Using is Really Organic?

A lot of manufacturers will try and market their products as organic to ride with the popularity of organic makeup. As a consumer, you should be wary of such false advertisements. Make sure you check the label for the list of ingredients used in the particular product. Some companies label their products as having ingredients "derived from" natural elements. This label may only mean that the ingredient was a derivative of a natural source, and it doesn't discount the possibility that synthetic materials may still have been used to complete that particular ingredient.

An example of this is the foaming ingredient, sodium lauryl sulphate, which companies often advertise as "derived from" coconut. In this case, the "organic ingredient" is not really safe for the skin, as sodium lauryl sulphate is known as a toxic chemical that causes rashes and severe skin irritations.

What Should I Look for in Product Labels and Packaging?

One of the best ways to determine if a product really is organic is to look for a displayed logo of an independent body that certifies organic materials, such as ACO (Australian Certified Organic), USDA (US Department of Agriculture), or CCO (Canadian Certified Organic). It also doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with common ingredients or elements you see in the labels of the specific product you're shopping for, so you can narrow down your search and know which brands to avoid.

Taking the initiative to go green and be more environmentally friendly is always good. But if you are doing so with makeup and other skin care products, make sure you don't fall into the trap of product companies’ false advertisements by being an aware consumer. Always read the labels and check for a seal of approval from appropriate authoritative bodies and organizations.

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