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Deciphering Organic, Part 2

By: Leslie Lyon and Marilyn Patterson
Posted: February 24, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 4 of 5

Less than 70% organic ingredients. Products cannot use the term “organic” anywhere on the principal display panel. However, they may identify the specific ingredients, excluding water and salt, that are USDA-certified as being organically produced on the ingredients statement on the information panel. Products may not display the USDA organic seal and may not display a certifying agent’s name and address.

2. NSF. The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides one of the first U.S. organic standards to emerge after the USDA for cosmetic manufacturers. NSF requires a minimum of 70% of all ingredients, excluding water, to be organic in order to use its “Made With Organic” claim. NSF allows a broader array of preservatives and chemical processes than the USDA. Because this organization only started certifying cosmetics in 2009, there are few available products on the market under this certification at this time.

3. OASIS. OASIS is an industry association formed to certify personal care products specifically, in order to separate cosmetic standards from food standards. It requires 85% of all agricultural ingredients to be organic and allows a broader array of preservatives than the USDA. Because this organization started in 2008, there are few cosmetic products currently on the market that have this certification. There are two levels available: “Organic” features the OASIS logo and “Made with Organic” requires 70% organic ingredient content and does not present the logo. OASIS plans on increasing the required organic content as the industry develops more organic ingredients.

Degree #5 includes the most organic ingredients, but ingredient limitations make it difficult to formulate elegant and effective creams, or mild, pH-friendly cleansers. Oil serums and balms, including lip balms and hydrosol sprays, will be the most common kinds of products that carry these logos.

Become familiar

Spa professionals have many choices to make when deciding on a product line. Because cosmetic product and ingredient certifications and regulations are not unified, the process can become more confusing the deeper you delve into it. However, as a decision-maker, it will help if you consider the following points carefully.

  • The ingredient listing on labels is very important; familiarize yourself with all of the details and accompanying claims.
  • Seek out the designated ingredient expert at the cosmetic companies you are researching in order to compare your findings and learn even more.
  • Confirm that there is a valid certification logo when the word “organic” is used to describe a product.
  • If a product has a logo, find out about the certifying body that provides that logo and make sure it agrees with your own philosophy, and that it is indeed from a reputable source. Many companies create their own logos, that have no certifying bodies behind them.
  • Look for valid proof of a product’s promise of efficacy.