Buying a beauty product that proudly states “organic” has always made me feel good. Here I am protecting my family from harmful synthetic chemicals while doing something good for the environment and for the conscientious company that makes this earth friendly product. I don’t even mind a hefty price tag. Or should I say “I didn’t”, until just recently, when I found out that the “organic” shampoo I was buying all this time is not all that it claims to be.
I had to make some tough but informed decisions about the shampoo I loved… it was like ending a beautiful love affair that was promising a lot… And what do you do when in doubt? Well, Google it, of course! The good ol’ Google provided me with some insights and answers. Answers to the questions like, when can a personal care product be labeled “organic”? And what exactly does “organic” mean?
And this is what I found out. Not all “organic” shampoos were made equal. Unlike organic foods, many health and beauty products are falsely labeled as “organic”.
Confused? Well, get in line.
The organic label approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in October 2002 established national standards for organic claims on all foods, removing a great deal of inconsistency and confusion. But the law applies only to food–or more specifically, to the processes by which food is grown and handled. The law does not govern ingredients in personal care products. EXCEPT when a product contains at least 95 percent organic foods–and most personal care products do not–it, too, can carry the USDA organic seal.
Due to this lax regulation, many personal care products have the word “organic” in their brand name or otherwise on their product label, but, unless they are USDA certified, the main cleansing ingredients and preservatives are usually made with synthetic and petrochemical compounds. Yuck!
Until this changes, the consumers must do some leg work, and make informed decisions.
The Internet proves to be a good place to start. Just recently I came across a list of beauty brands that are being taken to court for a faulty use of the term “organic”. And they are the following brands (my ex-shampoo is on the list as well):
1. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation headquartered in Melville, New
York (“Hain”), makers of JASON “Pure, Natural & Organic” and “Avalon Organics” products;
2. Kiss My Face Corporation, a New York corporation headquartered in Gardiner, New York,
makers of “Kiss My Face Organic” and “Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic” products;
3. Levlad, LLC, a California limited liability company headquartered in Chatsworth , California
(“Levlad”), makers of “Nature’s Gate Organics” products;
4. YSL Beauté, Inc., a New York corporation headquartered in New York City, New York
(“YSL”), makers of “Stella McCartney CARE 100% Organic Active Ingredients” products;
5. Giovanni Cosmetics, Inc., a California corporation headquartered in Compton, California;
(“Giovanni”), makers of “Giovanni Organic Cosmetics,” “Giovanni Organic Body Care” and
“Giovanni Organic Hair Care” products;
6. Cosway Company, Inc. , a California corporation headquartered in Carson, California
(“Cosway”), makers of “Head Organics” products;
7. Country Life, LLC (“Country Life”), a New York limited liability company headquartered
in Hauppauge, New York (“Country Life”), makers of “Desert Essence Organics” products;
8. Szep Elet LLC, an Indiana limited liability company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana
(wholly owned subsidiary of the Hungarian company Szep Elet of Budapest, Hungary)(“Ilike
Organic”), makers of “Ilike Organic Skin Care.”
9. Eminence Organic Skin Care, Inc., a Canadian corporation headquartered in Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada (“Eminence Organics”), makers of “Eminence Organic Skin Care”
10. Physicians’ Formula Holdings, Inc. (makers of Organic Wear), a California corporation
headquartered in Azusa, CA, makers of “Organic Wear” products;
11. Surya Nature, Inc., a New York corporation headquartered in New York City, New York
(“Surya Nature”), makers of “Sapien Organic” products;
12. Organic Bath Company, a California corporation headquartered in Auburn, CA, makers
of “Organic Bath” and “Organic Baby’ products;
13. Freeman Beauty Division of pH Beauty Labs, Inc. (makers of Freeman Goodstuff
Organics), a Delaware corporation headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, (“Freeman
Beauty”), makers of “Freeman Goodstuff Organics” products.
Source: Organic Consumers Association