It’s Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week! Yes, really! Under the lead of the Soil Association, 15th to 21st May 2017 is an awareness week dedicated to celebrating beauty brands that are certified organic.
Like so many other aspects of ethical and sustainable living, this is a difficult to area to get to grips with. As the Soil Association points out,
‘there is currently no legal standard in place for organic cosmetics, meaning that any brand can make organic claims on packaging without needing to contain any organic ingredients.’
Unsurprisingly this makes sourcing organic beauty even more complicated. However dedicated we are to this mission, it unfortunately seems that there are firms out there who are willing to dupe us with misleading branding and hard to decipher ingredients lists.
So what can I do? What can each of us do?
1) Get clear about our own priorities
For a start, get clear about our own priorities. Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week is, unsurprisingly, focused on organics – but maybe your biggest concern is with animal welfare. Cruelty free is a related but not identical issue. Likewise, you might be trying to use fairly traded products as much as you can; this may or may not map neatly on to organic products. Alternatively if you’re looking for British made then you’ll have different criteria again.
This might seem like trying to rank equally worthy objectives, but it is necessary. Otherwise you’ll be stood at the counter trying do weigh up the merits of a possibly smaller carbon footprint versus fairly traded ingredients from further afield while also needing to decide what food to pick up during your lunch break.
In a complex web of competing factors, we need to make our choices as easy as possible.
2) Do some basic research
We can also do some basic research into the area that most concerns us. The internet, as well as online shopping, makes accessing niche brands and products easier than ever. We can check out a firm’s credentials (as I need to do) and buy what we are after with just a few clicks.
There are plenty of resources out there to support this. The Soil Association, for instance, lists the brands that they have certified as organic. There are also apps that can help, such as Skin Matters by Joanne Evans (unfortunately for IOS only at this stage). This doesn’t focus on ethical issues directly but allows you to find out more about the components in your skincare, including those chemicals best avoided.
I also have an Ethical and Sustainable Beauty Pinterest board where I gather together articles on this topic. Some of these deal with the big issues and debates but many discuss easily available products, such as vegan nail varnishes. I update the board regularly so follow along to keep informed.
3) Make one change
Perhaps the most powerful step that we can immediately take is to make one change. This is within all our grasps with little inconvenience or extra cost.
You can read all the details over on the Revival Collective, but in summary they are:
Trade shower gel for soap
Switch to natural deodorant
Use organic cotton wool
Of course there are others, and I’d love to hear what you choose. What one change will you make?
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Thank you for reading.