Monday, September 29, 2008

Guide for Shopping Organic Body Care Products

Well, till the standards for organic body care products are developed and implemented in all countries, as an informed consumer, you have to check the ingredients of organic cosmetic products. For this you need detailed information about different chemicals that are being used in making cosmetics and the organic alternatives for them.

The Organic Consumers Association suggests that whenever you buy organic cosmetics, you should screen the truly organic products in the following manner:

* The cleansing and conditioning ingredients should be made from certified organic materials.
* They should not contain any chemical, synthetic or petroleum derivatives.
* The manufacturing process should be simple and ecological in nature.
* Non-agricultural water such as floral water and botanical water extracts should not be used to increase the percentage of organic content in the product.

The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, educates consumers about controversial ingredients that can be used in organic personal care products in its guide ‘Body Care – A Consumer’s Guide to Shopping and Living Green’. The following reference list can help you in judging organic cosmetics:

* Emollients: Emollients are added in numerous body care products, especially those meant for skin care, because these substances help in moisturizing the body surface.
o Chemical petroleum based emollients include hydrogenated oils, butyl glycol, mineral oil, monostearate dimethicone, oleth 2, paraffin, stearic acid, petrolatum, potassium stearate and octyl palmitate.
o Natural oils and waxes that you should look for as emolliating agents include almond oil, beeswax, coconut oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, shea butter and olive oil.
o You can also use certain natural oils with caution. These include cottonseed oil (cotton is often grown with pesticides and about 25% of the global pesticides and insecticides are used in cotton farming), peanut oil (it can cause allergic reactions on the skin, hence do not use products containing peanut oil if your are allergic to peanuts) and grapeseed oil (check the means of extracting the oil as solvent extraction is the most preferred way of extracting the oil).

* Preservatives: Preservatives are added not only in food products but also in cosmetic products as these are also susceptible to bacterial growth.
o Chemical or petroleum based preservatives include butyl paraben, methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben and dazolidinyl urea.
o Natural preservatives include essential oils, vinegar, grain alcohol, honey, vitamins A, C and E and grapefruit seed extract (GSE).

* Fragrances: There is hardly any cosmetic product in the market that does not have an aroma. Organic essential oils are the most important source of organic fragrance additives.
o Synthetic fragrances include amyl acetate (banana scent), benzophenone (rose scent), coconut fragrance, cucumber fragrance, and various fruit fragrances. Consistent research in the field of chemical fragrances has enabled companies to develop synthetics that smell exactly like the natural products and if you don’t read the contents properly, you can easily mistake them for natural fragrances.
o Organic plant extracts that have strong fragrances include extracts from cedarwood, lemongrass, citronella, orange, eucalyptus, tea tree and fennel. Organic essential oils are so effective that they form the basis of aromatherapy which has been practiced in ancient civilizations since thousands of years and is now gaining rapid popularity.

* Solvents: Solvents form an essential part of all body care products. Solvents dissolve one or more substances and hence you get a uniform solution, cream or gel.
o Common synthetic or chemical solvents used in personal care products include acetone, propylene glycol, benzene, butylene glycol and hexane.
o Water is the most efficient solvent as it is neutral in nature. Water is added in many cosmetic products in varying proportions.

o Other natural solvents include apple cider vinegar and grain alcohol.
* Colorants: Since cosmetic products are primarily used for looks, looks of these products are also important. Colorants are hence added in body care creams, lotions, gels, etc., to ensure consumers don’t reject them due to a dull color.
o Synthetic colors are obtained from coal tar.
o Natural colorants include saffron, turmeric, annatto, paprika, caramel and beets.

1 comment:

Brianna said...

Great guidance about choosing organic body care products...

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