Thursday, 15 September 2016

Organic beauty experiment.



Whenever I meet people in person, and on these virtual pages, I keep going on about how important organic standards are to me personally. However, if you look inside my beauty cabinet you will find plenty of products that are not certified. The truth is that there are no legal requirements for a beauty brand to be certified to have organic written somewhere in the description of the bottle (and yes even having organic as part of the name is also acceptable), as long as they comply with Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulation. What it means in real terms, is that in the absence of a clear definition of natural and organic, there is room for personal interpretation and what I or you think of as organic, is not necessarily what we will find inside a cosmetic bottle.

Instead of diving into the woods of trying to figure out who is and who isn't trying to mislead you, trusting a third party certification body like Soil Association can be a viable option for many, who are not particularly interested in scrutinising every bottle, trying to make sense of the ingredient lists. If you want to find out what is behind the Soil Association logo on cosmetic products, I have recently interviewed them for the peridot mag

I am actually quite fussy when it comes to what is inside my products (be they certified or not), but again I find myself not always agreeing with other green bloggers on the type of ingredients I choose to avoid, and I think, in the absence of definitive or in-depth studies on many of the things used in cosmetics today. that is only natural (yes, I just gave myself a pat on the back for this pun).The one thing I have never done however, is look through my beauty products and see how many of them are certified organic.

This Organic September I wanted to do an experiment, use only cosmos or soil association certified beauty products for my routine (including makeup). Now if I went shopping that wouldn't be so tough, instead I wanted to use what I already had. The first fail was toothpaste and deodorant, while what I have is 'natural', neither of them have organic ingredients (let alone certification). The second fail is more of a semi-fail, my green people shampoo and conditioner duo is certified organic, but not by cosmos or soil association (although green people do have SA certification for some of their products).

I have managed to find a surprising amount of products (a mixture of things that I have purchased myself, brought home in goodie bags, and a few things that have been sent over for a review). Instead of grabbing absolutely every certified product, I tried to pick products that were already open and not more than 3 of the same type of product (I still want to have options, there is just no way I could stick with only one body oil for the rest of the month).

As my skin is both reactive and temperamental, to minimise the risk, I didn't introduce anything that my face wasn't already familiar with, still I took a bit of a chance as it wasn't a combination of products that I have tried out together. 

Throughout the organic beauty week I will be going into detail of each step of my current beauty routine, and at the end of the month I will let you know if I cheated on any aspect of it, what worked and what didn't.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Organic September | Day 1


I actually can't believe how quickly Organic September has come around. Last year I did the whole 'post for every day of September' thing, and it felt like a blogging marathon. I will not be doing it this time around purely because of the fact that I am also writing on The Peridot and I just don't think I would be able to cope with it all.

I feel like I am in a little bit of a different place from what I was last year, and while my views on the importance of Organic standards haven't changed I am reassessing of what organic lifestyle looks like to me. I am not going to tell you that my fridge and cupboards are completely filled with only organic produce, all my beauty products are certified organic and that all my clothes are made with organic cotton, that would not be true. Of course I aim for it, but the reality is that while organic items are more and more available even in my local stores, there are some things like spices that last for some time (and tend to be given as presents) that I will not be getting rid of because they don't have a certification. 

When it comes to the food that I personally buy, I go to the farmers market that has several organic stalls and I also subscribe to a Riverford Organic box. However if I see some papaya in a local green grocers and I really want it I will get it! Do I wish that it was organic? Of course! However, what I think is most important is for the food that I eat all/most of the time to be organic, not an occasional exotic offering. It really is about the things that make the most impact. I am not going to obsess about my cupcake that I had at a cafe not being organic, this is something I have just a few times a year! My potatoes, rice, veggies and greens that I have every week on the other hand, those I make sure are organic. So if you are starting to introduce some changes this month look at what would make the most impact? Are you partial to tomatoes, peppers or spinach? Those are the things to concentrate on.

I find myself shopping mostly outside of supermarkets. It suits me better, there is more choice of what I am looking for and I don't get bombarded with aisles and aisles of processed food. With lots of online retailers it is pretty easy to stock up on cupboard essentials really cheaply too. Organic food really doesn't need to be very expensive if you know where to look and how to make the best use of google.

When it comes to fashion, production of textiles is extremely polluting unless they have been created specifically to an eco standard. There is a lot of clothes already out there, floating around in the world, I don't feel the need to always buy 'new' clothes when so many unworn items are hanging on the rails in charity shops and are sold on e-bay. Of course if I really fancy something that isn't second hand or vintage, yes I will look for it to be eco or organic.

Skincare and beauty is really tough. To create a small bottle of face oil, a lot of plant matter is used. I don't really see any distinction between growing natural skincare ingredients and food production, so if I want my food to be organic it only makes sense that I want my skincare to be organic too. I will go into more detail on this subject during Organic Beauty Week.

Throughout the month I will be sharing some of my favourite products, recipes and just more about my personal approach to organic lifestyle. I will be keeping the content quite fluid, so if there is a particular subject matter that you would like me to cover more, let me know in the comments, I am very happy to oblige!

*Image courtesy of Soil Association