Do you know what’s really in your organic and natural toiletries? Marili Aitken, Founder of Marili Skincare and Magical Little World Ltd talks us through the misleading jargon surrounding these products and ingredients we should be avoiding.
Do you know your organic and natural from your synthetic products? When selecting unique products for your high end guests, do you know whether you are using ingredients which aggravate sensitive skin or whether it really is an organic/natural product?
The market is currently swamped with misleading jargon, and there is a lot of confusion around organic and natural products.
Genuinely natural products, such as almond oil, are derived from something natural with no synthetic compounds and naturally derived ingredients are also derived from natural products but usually contain synthetic compounds too. A typical example would be a natural shampoo or body wash, as the majority of surfactants—or cleansing agents—are made with some sort of synthetic compound. Genuine natural and organic companies differentiate themselves from the rest because they try to avoid those harmful synthetic compounds.
Legally, cosmetic ingredient labels must be in Latin and begin their list with the ingredient that is largest in volume, finally ending with the name of the ingredient that is smallest.
Companies often make claims on their front labels, like “made with organic argan oil.” However should you turn the bottle over and find an asterix (*) denoting organic pretty much at the end of the list, it is likely to be less than 1% of the product.
A product can only be certified organic and bear the word organic in its title—for example, “Organic Lip Balm”—if it is over 95% organic. If it contains less than 95% organic ingredients, the product cannot make the “organic” claim and can state the volume of organic ingredients.
If the volume is not stated, there is usually a reason why.
This label contains lovely olive oil, aloe vera and lavender, however read a little closer and it’s certainly far from natural.
Here’s a quick guide on what to avoid when selecting a high-quality product along with a few smart pointers on making sure what you finally decide on, authentically counts.
What to avoid
- Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulphate – a skin irritant, toxic and carcinogen
- Parabens – endocrine disruptors linked to breast cancer
- Phthalates – hormone disruptors commonly found in synthetic fragrances and perfumes
- Triclosan – linked to liver toxicity and banned by the FDA from Sept 2017
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – carcinogenic petroleum ingredient
- Petrolatum – derived from crude oil, may contain carcinogenic ingredients in the manufacturing process
Indicators of authenticity
- Look for certifications like Cosmos, Ecocert, Organic Farmers and Growers, Soil Association or the organic percentage https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/474604/organic-control-bodies.pdf
- Breastcanceruk.org.uk has a wealth of knowledge on which ingredients to avoid as well as a ditch the junk infographic which is well worth looking at.
New to market
If you need some inspiration here are my latest hero products.
Africology’s Moisturiser – an intensely hydrating moisturiser with extracts of mallow, ivy and cucumber to soothe sensitive skin prone to dryness and inflammation.
This lovely South African range is new to the UK market. They have elegant mini travel sets as well as an extensive range of wonderful products inspired by the wisdom of Africa’s traditional healers, vibrant heritage, communities and plant life. It is no surprise that they have been signed up as the Virgin Groups’ exclusive spa brand in its African properties.
Ellupure’s Face & Body Oil & Beard Oil – a health boost for your skin and an all-in-one genius oil that cleans, moisturises, detoxifies and helps fight the signs of aging. Using sesame oil as their magical ingredient, the oil feels soft and indulgent on the skin and absorbs incredibly well. Ellupure also have a wonderful range of beard oils.
- Myroo’s Superfood Balm – a gorgeous, concentrated, superfood based balm with a beautiful smooth texture. Packed with goodness, it contains omega 3, 6 and 9, multiple vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from cucumber, raspberry, mango, papaya, carrot, avocado, olive and more. It helps protect and repair the skin’s natural barrier to the elements and is very addictive. Their gorgeous mini trial size sets would be a wonderful treat at a high end B&B or hotel room. Remarkably their range is free from all 14 food allergens and their fragrance free range is free from all 26 cosmetic allergens.