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.