Several years ago, I started investigating the notion of ‘green skincare.’ Certainly, the green trend isn’t new, but until recently, it occupied a niche segment. According to GCI magazine,
Organic beauty is fast becoming the hot growth segment in the industry. The supply chain for organic materials has improved dramatically, making the segment worth another look for those who have dismissed it in the past. There is an increasing consumer preference for certified organic products across nearly all beauty categories, but that also requires distinct work and investment on the part of beauty brands.
My first dilemma occurred when I tried to nail down the definition of “certified organic.” Currently, a lack of agreement exists on what the term means. Right now, it’s sort of a made-up expression – more of a marketing claim than anything else. As a beauty manufacturer I can claim anything I damn well please (when it comes to organics) because there is no agreed-upon standard in which to compare it.
However, in a sidebar, GCI defined it this way, so I went with it,
In this context, the USDA Organic certification is being regarded as “truth.” And while it could (and has been) argued that other certifications are equivalent (or even better) because they have been adapted to beauty products, we like the simplicity of saying we used the same certification standards as the USDA uses for organic fruits and vegetables (bolded text is author’s emphasize).
So, the same iffy standards that define organic fruits and veggies, also, for this purpose, define beauty products.
Take a look at this pyramid for further clarification.
Anxious to gather more detailed information, we reached out to Richard Pietz, the Global Director of Product Development for Jurlique, an Australian skincare brand dedicated to merging nature and science. Richard clued us into the following trends:
Trend #1 – Blurring the Lines
This trend takes advantage of our lack of standardized guidelines for delineating the difference between organic, natural, and everything else, however, Richard told us that,
Europe is paving the way for more transparency in the industry . . . within the next few years brands will need valid research data to support their green claims.
Hmmm, so that means in our current environment brands who claim this, that, or the other about their products don’t need to cough up their research (or their supplier’s research) to validate said claim?
Indeed! GOLD STAR! Move to the front of the class!
In the meantime, TheDailyGreen.com offers this guidance:
The term “organic,” as it appears on beauty labels, has four variations.
- 100% Organic: The product must contain only organically produced food ingredients, and the label will display the USDA Organic seal.
- Organic: The product must contain at least 95% organically produced food ingredients, and the label will display the USDA Organic seal.
- Made with Organic Ingredients: The product must contain at least 70% organically produced food ingredients. While the front of the product can list up to three organic ingredients or one organic food group, the label will not have the USDA Organic seal. Individual ingredients on a product’s ingredient list will be labeled as “organic”.
- Organic Ingredients: Products which contain less than 70% organically produced food ingredients can only include organic ingredients on its ingredients list, but these products cannot display the USDA Organic seal.
Trend #2 – Avoid the ‘nasties’
Richard advises sometimes it’s easier to avoid the ‘nasties’ (a term coined in to UK, which includes ingredients like parabens, sulfates, PEGs, etc.) He tells us,
Look for the NO label as in Jurlique’s Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator, which contains NO, Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals, or Phthalates.
Trend #3 – Seek out Antioxidants
Antioxidants like Vitamin C and Grapefruit seed extract help fend off environmental aggressors that prematurely age our skin. Jurlique’s new Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum is stuffed with antioxidants, plus the youth defense concentrate serum features a proprietary active complex: Naturadiance PB18+ to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, help increase elasticity, restore radiance and increase hydration! Now we’re talking, Richard!
Trend #4 – ‘Green’ and ‘results’ are no longer mutually exclusive terms
We no longer need to sacrifice our powerful potions for a lackluster green alternative. A few years ago using a green skincare product often meant we sacrificed the efficacy of our high-octane cream. Richard tells us,
As a person who understands product compoistion, there has been a huge influx of naturally derived performance based alternatives, which offer the results consumers want without the other ingredients they don’t.
I couldn’t resist asking Richard the question we all want to: What’s the most important skincare product a woman should use? He advised to start by identifying your primary concern (oiliness, lackluster skin, uneven skin tone, etc.) and pick a product that addresses that need. Then add on products as your time and budget allow, but make sure you’re using a daily sunscreen. (Ok. Admittedly, the sunscreen bit was my idea! You know how I feel about my sunscreen)