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Deciphering Organic, Part 2

Leslie Lyon and Marilyn Patterson March 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
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In Part 1 of this article, which ran in the February 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine, common questions about green, natural and organic product claims were addressed. Now, the path is cleared for deciding which degree of organic is suitable to you as a spa professional. The Five Degrees to Organic is an unofficial scale created by Marilyn Patterson, and as it approaches the fifth degree, ingredients begin to better meet established regulations and move from the designation of natural/organic to certified organic.

You must first figure out your own organic standards and determine the ingredients that you deem to be important as organic and those you consider to be safe enough with or without organic certification. This is acquired knowledge, and is the personal preference of each individual. Understanding these degrees will help to better equip spa professionals to make natural and organic product choices.

Degree #1: Natural or organic ingredients used for marketing only

An ingredient that delivers efficacy is rarely inexpensive. Companies selling low- to mid-priced cosmetics may prefer to spend their money on marketing rather than on expensive ingredients. Marketing claims must follow government guidelines, which differentiate between cosmetic and drug claims, but a lot of puffery is allowed. Therefore, it sometimes can be difficult for the professional to identify the truth in the advertising. A quick look at the ingredient list will give an educated professional an idea of where a product stands. If the natural or organic ingredient that is being marketed is near the bottom of the ingredient listing, than it may not be used at an efficacious level.

Degree #2: Natural or organic ingredients used for efficacy in a non-natural base

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France Cracks Down on Advertising Claims

According to a recent story by Katie Bird from www.cosmetics design-europe.com, France’s advertising regulatory body Autorité de Régulation Professionelle de la Publicité (ARPP) has come out with new recommendations regarding natural and organic advertising claims. In them, the board advises that products should only be labeled natural if they contain a minimum of 95% natural ingredient or ingredients of natural origin. The group also suggests that a product should only be labeled organic if it is made up of 100% organic ingredients, has been certified organic by a certifying body, or if it has been developed following a protocol that is similar to those required by certifying bodies. Although the publicity industry is mainly self-regulating in France and no legal ramifications will take place if suppliers do not follow these recommendations, they are usually globally respected, according to Joseph Besnainou, ARPP director general.

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