Blog: What does organic beauty actually mean? | Breast Cancer UK

Blog: What does organic beauty actually mean?

Published 18 May 2017

As the Soil Association’s Organic Beauty and Wellbeing week kicks off, we look at the growing trend for organic beauty.

Natural and organic beauty is one of the fastest growing beauty sectors, as people switch to a greener attitude to beauty.  Sales of organic health and beauty products grew by more than 20% in 2016, with the UK market now worth around £61.2m.

Why are we choosing organic beauty products?

The ever expanding number of synthetic chemicals found in cosmetics and personal care products is a concern.  More people are growing concerned about the links between these chemicals and adverse health effects including breast cancer.

Green washing

Unlike organic food, which must meet strict EU regulations, there are no legal standards for the use of the terms organic or natural on beauty products. In reality, this means any brand or beauty product can be labelled as organic or natural even if it contains virtually no organic or natural ingredients.

The Soil Association’s recent investigation, Come Clean about Beauty Labelling, has produced a league table of products which are not certified as organic but which are using the term organic on their labels.

A national independent survey reveals that 76% of consumers feel misled by some labelling on beauty products.  Even Gwyneth Paltrow, the poster girl for organic living, has had her products criticized for containing harmful chemicals.

So how do we know it’s really organic?

Under Soil Association Organic standards (COSMOS) to be certified organic a product must contain 95% organic ingredients (it would be 100% but most beauty products contain water which can’t be classified organic).

When choosing a new product, look for the certification logo so you know the products you are buying are genuinely organic and have been independently verified.   These include:

Why you should be a green beauty queen?

As more evidence emerges of the long term health effects of using harmful chemicals, it’s time we took a precautionary approach.

Reducing our exposure to harmful chemicals in everyday products may help reduce our risk of long term health issues, including breast cancer.

Our #DitchTheJunk campaign is about taking simple steps to reduce the number and quantity of harmful chemicals we use every day to help make our bodies healthier.


You can read more about the chemicals linked to breast cancer in our science and research section  

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