What Is Organic Skincare

What Is Organic Skincare? – Helpful Info

You’ve probably noticed the hype and organic products on the shelves. But what is organic skincare exactly? Are organic products better than cheaper products at the drugstore? That’s what we’ll be discussing.

Organic skincare ingredients follow the same criteria as organic foods. In the US, the USDA sets the growing and labeling requirements for organic products. And it starts on the farm.

Organic Farming

The USDA highly regulates organic farming, and farmers have a lot of rules to follow. They aren’t allowed to use GMOs (genetically modified organisms), synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, animal growth hormones, sewage sludge, or irradiation.

They even have to keep non-organic products separate from organic products. And they are subject to a yearly inspection to make sure all the rules are followed.

So if a product says, USDA Organic, you can be sure it really is. For skincare ingredients, then you know that those ingredients are really organic and don’t contain any haphazard chemicals you might not otherwise know about.

What I especially love about organic ingredients is their sustainability for the earth. Farmers are required to rotate crops to let the soil replenish between crops and other requirements that help the earth. Not only are these products good for us but good for our planet.


Organic Ingredients In Cosmetics and Skin Care

That’s all well and good right? You can know that individual ingredients are organic. But the USDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics and skincare, the FDA does.

The FDA doesn’t define ‘organic’ for skincare products in general. Ingredients that are claimed to be organic have to pass the USDA rules for organic labeling. And it’s almost impossible to have a cosmetic or skincare product that is absolutely, completely made from organic ingredients.

Makers might add emulsifiers to give it a pleasant consistency and the proper preservative (even natural) to keep harmful bacteria or fungi from growing. That doesn’t mean it’s bad for you, they still have to use safe ingredients. And keep you safe.

Even if you make your own skincare products, you’ll need a natural preservative, at minimum, or risk skin infections. Vitamin E (tocopherols), for instance, is a good preservative for oils or fats. Benzoic acid, sorbic acid, dehydroacetic acid, and benzyl alcohol are good natural preservatives for many other products. And they are on the ECOcert certification list as approved for natural or organic products.

ECOcert is one certification on a label that will help you know the product meets certain criteria for labeling as natural or organic.

  • For ‘natural’ labeling, they have to be of 99% natural origin.
  • For ‘organic’ labeling, they have to have 95% minimum of the plants it contains be organic and at least 20% organic ingredients are in the total formula. This could mean that water or minerals are a bigger part of the formulation (according to ECOcert).

Is ‘Natural’ As Good As Organic?

What is organic skincare?

No, it isn’t the same. Products labeled ‘natural’ aren’t regulated by the FDA. They haven’t even established a definition of what ‘natural’ means on a label. But even though there isn’t a definition, they do consider ‘natural’ as meaning nothing artificial or synthetic has been added to the product.

This usually applies to food, but it’s the same for skincare products. Since no entity is regulating the term ‘natural’, you really need to trust the brand you are purchasing if they state they use ‘natural’ ingredients.

A pomegranate is natural but if they add pesticides to keep the bugs away, it’s definitely not organic.

I have some brands I trust which I’ll share with you in another article.


Bottom Line

Yes, organic is better than cheaper products at the drugstore! Even natural products at the drugstore are better than other products if you trust the brand is following guidelines and not putting out misleading or false information on their labels.

If you care about sustainability for the earth, then using as many organic products as possible is a biologically responsible decision.

Using skincare products with organic ingredients really does help you lighten your load of potentially dangerous or harmful (even cancer-causing) chemicals in your body. I really believe in organic as a preventive measure to keep you healthier and also looking healthier.

What is organic skincare? Now you have a better idea and hopefully, make more informed decisions for your skincare regimen.

If you have any comments, I’d love to hear them! Please leave comments or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!

8 thoughts on “What Is Organic Skincare? – Helpful Info”

  1. Hi there, as a bit of an eco-warrior myself, I am always looking out for products that are better for our health and the environment, so it is great to find this post on organic skincare. Organic certification starts at the farm and the way in which products are grown. Organic is certainly better for the environment and for your health. 

    It is interesting how people are aware of organic food and what they eat, but don’t pay as much attention to what they put on their skin or hair products they use. Thank you for the very informative information. 

    1. You are so right! We do tend to think about what we eat, but not about what we put on the largest organ of our bodies, our skin! It really is important. I’m glad you see that. Thanks for pointing that out. And thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Hi Paula. Thank you for defining what organic ingredients are in relation to skin care products. In my younger years I was involved with growing organic vegetables, unfortunately back then the word organic was used very loosely and difficult to verify. I’m so glad to see that USDA has improved it’s definitions of both fruit and vegetables and of the ingredients that go into products such as the skin care range. I was looking for a site to purchase some skin care items for my wife for Christmas, she suffers from dry skin and prefers organic types. I’ll have to return to your site when you add these products

    Thanks Jim  

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thank you for reading and joining the conversation. It is good that there are criteria for organic ingredients now. It makes me feel better about it. 

      You can check out this recent article showing my top natural and organic skin care companies: Top 7 Natural and Organic Skin Care Companies. Also, I’ll be adding my ‘top’ favorite products for specific skin care issues shortly.

  3. Michel Maling

    Interesting post, and it must be challenging for all these organizations to keep a check on everything to make sure if it says organic it actually is. Thanks for clarifying the difference between natural and organic. There was always some confusion there.

    I never realized that vitamin E is a preservative. This is interesting to know. So you can add this to homemade products and hopefully they will last longer, as I hate throwing things away?

  4. Hi, Paula, thank you very much for the guidance you have provided in this post. At least one can move and select a product labeled organic and is sure that the ingredients were obtained from a plant that had been grown organically as defined by USDA. This, to me, is very important. Thank you too, for clearing the misconception that I had in thinking that “natural” was synonymous with “organic”. Right now I can differentiate the two and consider base my decision to buy the product not on the label but rather on how I trust the brand.
    That said, you also pointed out these seemingly contradictory facts: “that the USDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics and skincare, the FDA does. Moreover, that the FDA doesn’t define ‘organic’ for skincare products in general. Ingredients that are claimed to be organic have to pass the USDA rules for organic labeling. And it’s almost impossible to have a cosmetic or skincare product that is absolutely, completely made from organic ingredients”. This statement adds some “salt” to the understanding of what is considered an organic cosmetic skincare product i.e., one whose ingredients need to be produced from certified organic sources as per the USDA regulations, and whose other additional ingredients having an ECOcert certification. Once again thank you very much for this post.

    1. Hi, Hawumba. Thank you for your thorough review of this article. I appreciate your comments very much. 

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