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Read organic product labels

So you’re looking for the best possible beauty products for yourself and your family. You may have heard that organic beauty products are higher quality, with fewer toxins, and that may be true. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue to read the organic product labels. Keep in mind that the majority of products have different percentages of organic ingredients. “Made with organic ingredients” means that at least 70% of the ingredients are organic. “USDA Certified Organic” means that 95% of the ingredients are organic. And organic products cannot use genetically modified ingredients.

Organic beauty products are allowed to use certain synthetic ingredients, like xanthan gum, which may not be derived from organic sources. Others may contain animal-derived ingredients that you may not favor (e.g. glycerin may be animal or vegetable based), as well as synthetic surfactants and emulsifiers. Being organic does not mean that individuals won’t have allergic reactions, either, so it’s important to know what’s in each organic beauty product.

Even organic product manufacturers might use the term “fragrance” on their organic product labels, which may leave you wondering what it means. Companies have a lot of leeway to include both artificial and natural fragrance oils, and even known preservatives, under the “fragrance” banner, without having to reveal individual ingredients. Unfortunately, you may have to try out the product to see if you have an allergic reaction or if you are sensitive to its ingredients, as companies are not obligated to divulge their proprietary “fragrance” recipes.
If you’re researching organic beauty products before buying, many companies post their ingredient lists on their official websites. Amazon.com is another go-to website, as they sell many national brands. If you don’t see an ingredient list posted, you can e-mail the company and request it. For a more hands-on approach, you can stroll through the aisle at your local beauty aisle and photograph product labels with your phone for comparison later.

If you want to read more, visit the USDA blog coverage of “made with organic ingredients.”

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