polish & prime: so, in five minutes or less, what are organic skincare products?
Organic products seem oh-so du jour. Even organic apples aren’t reserved for farmer’s markets anymore, they instead hold pride in the produce section of Coles. And if you were to go for a spin around Coles, you’ll find many organic products –dishwashing liquid, toilet paper, laundry detergent. While some dismiss and critique organic products, they are only gathering momentum and are clearly here to stay. One area of organic products becoming increasingly popular is beauty products.
My father is the person who has given me the best piece of beauty advice. When I was sixteen, I started wearing makeup. I was pretty impressed with myself because I had found a foundation at a $2 shop. When I delightedly informed my father of my frugal ways, he frowned and said, “You really want to put something that cost $2 all over your face?”
Man had a point. I’m not saying the price of your products matter; it’s more that it’s important to have an idea of what you’re putting onto your skin.
I wanted to have some more understanding of the difference between organic and synthetic products, so to help me with these, I contacted a few Australian organic companies. These were La Mav, Ayurda and Laviol. What really impressed me with all three companies – and what is evident from their websites – is their focus isn’t the standard ‘we’ll make you blemish and wrinkle free’. Instead, their focus is protecting and nourishing your skin.
So, between my Google research and speaking to contacts at the aforementioned companies (you’ll be hearing from them later about specific products and concerns), I got the answers to a few of my questions.
So how are regular products different to ‘organic’ ones? Many beauty products, particularly mass-produced ones, use synthetic products, meaning the ingredients used are usually constructed in a lab. The reasons for doing this vary. It can be for economic reasons – synthetic products can be cheaper to produce and they often have a longer shelf life. It can be for product specific reasons – chemicals can enhance the way a product works, make it smell more appealing, and can even make it feel nicer to apply. While synthetic products clearly have their advantages, some people are growing concerned about applying so many man-made products on their skin, which explains why organic products are growing in popularity.
What makes a product organic? As well as using natural ingredients, true organic products are completely naturally derived. This extends to how components are grown. For instance, in organic rosehip oil, the roses will be grown free of chemicals in the soil.
How can I tell if a product is organic? In Australia, there’s no current regulation on the use of the word ‘organic’ in the cosmetic industry. Because of this it’s important to read the ingredients on the label and ensure it doesn’t contain any synthetic chemicals or GMOs. Recognised organic products are often stamped with certification from an organization such as ACO, BFA, NASAA, OFC or USDA.
What are the benefits of going organic? Organic products are typically gentler, so it’s a great option if you have sensitive skin. Organic products are also less prone to contamination. And while it is highly controversial, there is thought that certain chemicals involved in synthetic products (such as parabens) may cause health concerns.
So will I be incorporating more organic skincare into my beauty regime? Absolutely. But my skin has always been quite clear, and I’m young enough to not be worrying about filling in wrinkles. I don’t need products that require drastic, lightning-fast action. As mentioned previously, I also like having an understanding of what I’m putting on my skin, and organic products make this easier for me because I don’t have to Google scientific names of ingredients.
Skin care is such a personal preference and can be influenced by so many things, but it’s important to start doing your research and have more of an idea of what you’re putting on your delicious face, and what the long-term consequences are as opposed to the short term results.