Confused by all of the unfamiliar terminologies and ingredients listed on the labels of the skin-care I use, I began questioning what guidelines companies have to follow in order to keep my skin safe from toxic chemicals and equally as important, how brands become organically certified and cruelty-free.
I compiled a helpful list for all skin types that want to implement safer and organically certified products that help our skin rather than damage it.
This blog post covers everything you need to know about organic and cruelty-free skincare, including what to avoid, certain ingredients that will heal and benefit your skin, and the requirements, brands need to follow in order to label their products organic in the EU, USA, Australia & New Zealand.
Sick of putting nasty chemicals into your skin? Breaking out? Are you experiencing unusual health issues and sudden reactions to your current, skincare routine? When we are not aware of what is in our foods, makeup and or moisturizing products, it becomes so much more difficult to find out what is causing those skin issues.
What makes a product 100% organic?
Your skin is the largest organ in the body, anything you put on your skin, from shampoo, moisturiser, fake tan, toners, make-up, you name it, will all be absorbed into the bloodstream, therefore it is important to check the ingredients on the back or side of any product you buy and intend to use on your skin. Do not rely solely on the marketing label.
Below is a list per country, as to what labels you should look for and what they mean.
In the USA:
Organic products have strict production and labelling requirements. Unless noted below, organic products must meet the following requirements: – Produced without excluded methods (e.g., genetic engineering), ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge. – Produced per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). – Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
- sustainable cultivation systems
- a variety of high-quality products.
- greater emphasis on environmental protection
- more attention to biodiversity
- higher standards of animal protection
- consumer confidence
- protecting consumer interests.
Organic production respects natural systems and cycles. Biological and mechanical production processes and land-related production should be used to achieve sustainability, without having recourse to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Australian Organic owns and supports the nation’s largest organic certifying group Australian Certified Organic.
The main objective of Australian Organic is to be the industries foremost representative body raising awareness of products wearing the Australian Certified Organic logo and supporting its members and clients.
They work tirelessly to establish a diverse and flourishing organic industry which is profitably and sustainably meeting the needs of a growing consumer base which is demanding Australian Certified Organic products. The (ACO) Australian Certified Organic seal is used for many different consumer products. It covers not only all types of food and beverages but also body care products, skin care products, makeup, textiles virtually anything that can be put in or on your body and much more.
While it is true that there is no government regulation of the organic certifications in New Zealand it does not mean that there isn’t any oversight. Commercial producers of organic products in New Zealand are subject to the Fair Trade Act which covers false or misleading advertising. There are a couple of international organizations Demeter International and IFOAM which oversee the organic certification processes in New Zealand. The primary New Zealand certification agency is BioGro. BioGro was started in the early 1980’s and is the leading organic certifier in the country.
Demeter International is the largest certifier of biodynamic agriculture and is one of the three largest organic certifiers. Demeter International was established in 1928 and currently operates in more than 50 countries.
IFOAM – Organic International is the worldwide umbrella organization for the certification of organic agriculture. They represent more than 800 affiliates in more than 115 countries. Their mission is to “Lead, unite and assist the organic movement in its full diversity.”
BioGro is the primary New Zealand based certification agency which was formed in 1983. They are responsible for overseeing the certification of anything and everything that is produced in New Zealand and can be certified organic.
Ingredients To Avoid
A few months ago, I ended up with a bad case of folliculitis, my skin felt dry, exfoliating and moisturising didn’t seem to be as effective or help with the situation in the way that my skin needed, so I took a good look at the ingredients in the products I was regularly using. Unfortunately, the majority of the skin care products contained ingredients that were not good for my body, the following list is what to avoid and why. Since then I did an enormous amount of research into what ingredients or products will benefit my skin and since, noticed a significant change, including no more breakouts, my folliculitis is healing and my skin feels nourished and incredibly soft, like silk.
- Parabens. Parabens are a whole family of chemicals (methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, and ethylparaben) that help preserve the shelf-life of products. Sadly, you will find them in most makeup products because they have not updated the regulations for make-up brands to follow since the 1950s.
- Phthalates group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in cosmetics. This helps products stick to our skin. They are extremely dangerous to children and best to avoid products such as hairspray, deodorant and perfumes that contain Phthalates as they can cause serious endocrine disruptions and even cause birth defects. Congress in the USA have actually banned several types of phthalates already from children’s products.
- Fragrances: They may smell divine, and thankfully there is an alternative, however fragrance companies do NOT have to disclose the ingredients used, as a result, when you see the word Fragrance used in any product such as moisturisers, makeup or perfume/cologne, be warned that they may contain a cocktail of chemicals that have been proven to cause allergies, hormone disruption, and may lead to health issues such as infertility and reproductive problems.
- BHA & BHT are synthetic antioxidants, that are used to prolong the shelf life of a product but contain carcinogens (a substance that capable of causing cancer in the skin tissue) and hormone disruptors that may cause liver damage. Lovely. You will find these in most lipsticks, moisturisers, diaper creams and other cosmetics.
Safe to say that if you are experiencing any sudden allergies, health issues, skin irritations, or wanting to take better care of yourself, maybe it is time to consider googling the ingredients of the products you are currently using to make sure they are not the problem.
Ingredients That Are Key For Your Skin
Here is what I have found nourishes, restores and feeds your skin what it needs on a surface level. Subscribe to be notified of the next blog on what specific brands are filled with all the organic, certified cruelty-free, natural ingredients that give incredible results!
Tip: do not trust marketing labels, always check the ingredients on the back or side of the product to make sure it is 100% free of chemical nasties!
- Moisturizes Skin.
- Removes Makeup Safely.
- Prevents Razor Burn.
- Promotes Skin Health.
- Promotes Hair Health.
- Contains Vitamin E.
- Contains Vitamin B Complex.
- Fights Fungai and Infections.
Acts to smooth and soften the skin as an emollient and reduces inflammation and aids in the removal of dead skin cells as an exfoliant. It also unclogs pores and absorbs excess oil from the skin.
Almond Oil, Sweet
All skin types. It is close to the natural sebum produced by the skin. Especially good for eczema. Helps relieve itching, soreness, dryness and inflammation. Very lubricating, but not quick penetration, which makes it a wonderful massage oil and protectant. Contains vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, E), minerals, fatty acids and protein.
Aloe Vera Gel – Always check the ingredients before purchasing as many use colourants and nasty stuff which is not pure aloe vera!
The active ingredients have been found to heal and regenerate skin. Aloe vera improves hydration with its natural moisturizing factor and is good for all skin types. Studies have shown it to significantly help clear up acne and psoriasis. Its lignin component helps other ingredients penetrate the skin. It contains saponins, which are soapy substances that cleanse and have antiseptic properties. They also act effectively as antimicrobials against bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast. It’s composed of salicylic acid that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Angelica Root Oil
Promotes circulation by dilating blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure. Has a balancing effect on the female hormonal system. Improves oxygen utilization. It is used in the treatment of psoriasis, irritated skin, dull and congested skin conditions. Pleasant woody aroma. Contains a substance very similar to that found in musk and can be a sexual stimulant.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It works as a cleanser removing dirt and oil from skin and hair. It promotes blood circulation and helps to dissolve fatty deposits on the skin’s surface, reducing scaly conditions and promoting a softer, smoother appearance.
Apple Juice/Apple Extract
The value of apples lies in the malic and tartaric acids. Boosts the production of human stem cells, protects human stem cells from stress and decreases wrinkles. Delays the ageing of hair follicles. Contains powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Non-greasy. It’s extremely nourishing to the skin and excellent for softening delicate skin around the eyes and neck. It has good penetration and therapeutic properties. Softens and smooths the skin. Reduces roughness, cracking and irritation. Effective in retarding the fine wrinkles of ageing. All skin types.
Lightweight, fast absorbing oil heals and conditions. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, strengthens elasticity, protects against stretch marks. Scientific expertise has yielded several amazing active ingredients from the argan plant.
It has wound healing, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It aids tissue regeneration, relieves pain, swelling and soothes sore muscles. It disperses trapped, disorganized fluids from bumped and bruised tissue, joints and muscles, stimulating the activity of white blood cells that relieve congested blood cells.
This is a natural powdered root starch used as a thickening and stabilizing agent and has great moisture-absorbing properties. It’s gentle, neutral, and non-abrasive with wound-healing properties. The only starch with calcium ash, arrowroot assists in the body’s maintenance of acid and alkaline balance.
It is extremely beneficial and nourishing in treating skin disorders, such as dry and dehydrated skin, eczema, psoriasis, and solar keratosis. Improves elasticity. Very penetrating and a superb emollient. The moisturizing and skin softening properties make it a valuable addition to anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing and mature skin blends. Has sunscreen properties.
This oil is very high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It’s a fast penetrating oil that draws heat from the skin producing a cooling effect. Babassu forms a protective, soothing coat and a pleasant, velvety feeling, which also makes it ideal for hair care as well as skin care. Superior emollient beneficial for dry and oily complexions; non-clogging, and gently moisturizing.
It’s a natural odour-eater with skin-soothing properties for irritated skin. Baking soda is also effective in helping inflammation from bug bites.
It helps to emulsify and thicken lotions and creams, holds together lip and body balms, and forms a protective barrier between skin and the environment.
Amazing drawing power to open and clean impurities from the pores. It’s a premium exfoliant to remove excess oil and sebum from the skin. Has antibacterial benefits and will speed the healing process of acne. It will also stimulate circulation and promote healing in the skin.
Birch Oil, Sweet (edible, though not currently on FDA GRAS list)
Effective for sore muscles, sprains and painful joints because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. Often used for problem skin conditions and as a skin softener.
Has the highest known content of essential unsaturated fatty acids. These are great skin conditioners. They regulate the hydration of the skin and are humectants. Calms inflammation overall, making it an attractive treatment option for arthritis, eczema, seborrhea and other inflammatory conditions. Acts as an insect repellent and blood vessel dilator.
It appears to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects in addition to the beneficial effects of the antioxidants, protecting the body against cell-damaging free radicals. As a result of it is a preferred ingredient in natural anti-ageing skin care products and moisturizers formulated for a dry, sensitive and damaged skin. Well-known antiseptic and wound healer. It reduces swellings and bruises, relieves and heals effects of stings and bites and infected sites. It can be used on all skin types and in all conditions.
Imparts a desirable ‘slip’ texture to the finished product with its emollient properties. Acts as an emulsifier and thickener.
Carrot Seed Oil
This pure essential oil has amazing skin enhancing properties. By stimulating skin circulation, it improves elasticity, tones skin, repairs damaged tissues and combats the formation of wrinkles and scars. It also acts to cleanse and drain skin tissues of excess toxins and fluids.
Shop The Best 100% Jojoba Oil:
Brilliant for acne-prone, sensitive skin, or for those wanting silky, soft nourished skin!
There are so many ingredients I could mention and if you want, I can do a blog post on all of them that will brighten, tone, heal and give life to all skin types that no synthetic, chemically made product can do! Most of these 100% pure, certified organic and cruelty-free ingredients are considerably cheaper than the products you currently use, so this will also benefit your bank balance!
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Sending you all love, light and healthy, glowy skin!