Is your skincare really organic?
Organic September is a campaign originally introduced by the Soil Association to raise awareness of the incredible benefits organic farming can bring for our climate, nature and our health.
Co-founder Liz shares how many skincare brands use the word 'Organic' on their packaging when there are only really small amounts of organic ingredients actually in the product.
Kevin, who formulates and handmakes all our products, explains the use of the term organic in skincare:
Could your organic skincare products secretly be anything but?
Unlike in the food industry, in which I was a chef for 17 years, the term ‘organic’ is unfortunately unregulated for beauty and wellbeing products.
Companies can use a picture of a nut or fruit and a claim such as 'pomegranate oil’ moisturiser on their packaging. It can be that less than 1% of the ingredients are organic or natural whilst they make it appear that the entire product is organic and natural.
Liz did not believe me when I first told her that a skincare product can claim to be organic even if only 1% of its ingredients are organic.
Imagine eating burgers, pizza and chips every day? We can unwittingly be putting our skin through a daily diet of synthetic, inflammatory and aggravating chemicals
It is often the case that in mass produced skincare highly processed ingredients are used that perhaps one day came from some kind of natural source but have been manipulated using various chemical processes.
It's a little like 'junk food'; the products are designed to feel good (e.g. to feel cool and silky on your skin in the case of skincare) but they contain little to no active nutrition.
Fragrances and synthetic scents are often derived from petrochemicals and can contain hundreds of chemicals which are not legally required to be listed on the label. You may not notice the effects now but a compound effect of the chemicals in all the different products we use builds with time, and many customers come to us saying that their skin is now very sensitive, dry or irritated when it never used to be. Synthetic fragrances can cause allergic reactions or hormone disruption.
The chemicals in mass produced skincare can also cause internal issues, as it is easy for chemicals to cross into your bloodstream through the skin.
Just like an awareness of eating less processed food, has become a part of most of our lives at this stage, taking care of our skin is the same. Even if we aren’t always perfect, we are definitely more aware that what we eat has a direct link to how we look and feel, and ultimately to our physical and mental health. It is exactly the same with clean-skincare.
Who can you trust?
There are some organic certification bodies for the cosmetic industry such as the Soil Association and Ecocert who can help to certify that products meet the organic and natural standards you would expect. Many small businesses may meet the percentage criteria of the certificate bodies but cannot afford or are not yet ready to become certified even if they meet the criteria.
Even with this, there are also some variances around what constitutes an organic product and this can range from 70-95%!
What does organic and natural mean to us
All of our products are made using 100% natural ingredients. The vast majority are also made using 100% certified organic ingredients. Where organic is not possible (for example, bentonite clay is naturally occurring but can't be classed as organic), we use sustainably sourced wild-foraged ingredients (taking the percentage of certified organic ingredients down to 85-90%). We list the organic and wild ingredient percentages on our website and packaging so you know exactly what you are going to get.
100% active ingredients!
Every single ingredient in our products serves an active purpose; to help your skin light up the room. Our products contain 100% active ingredients to deliver the ultimate healing power to your skin. We painstakingly research every ingredient we use and have absolute transparency on our website and packaging.
We have very clear values, and a simple philosophy and set of standards in relation to our ingredients. They have to be organically produced, naturally occurring or wild-harvested plants, flowers, botanicals or clays, which are kept as close to their natural state as possible. We will never compromise on that.
All of our oils are cold-pressed and unrefined to fully preserve the beneficial and healing fractions within the oil, and all of our plant butters are also unrefined. None of our ingredients are extracted or produced using any chemical solvents or other synthetic means. This ensures that you can relate to it as a customer. If you can see it growing in the ground, and it is free of potentially harmful pesticides and other chemicals, then you can trust that it is as safe as can possibly be for your and your family's skin.
We have an entire section on our website regarding our philosophy on ingredients.
We carefully choose each and every ingredient based on what benefits it is going to bring for a particular skin condition, whether it is eczema, rosacea or acne. It is also so important that the product feels good on the skin, that it feels light and soaks in easily, and that it smells natural and pleasant. The result is a 100% pure product, without a filler in sight.
We use no chemical preservatives, emulsifiers, fragrances or any other ingredient that could damage your skin.
We make every single product by hand ourselves, so we know precisely what is in them.
We only work with certified organic or wild harvested ingredient suppliers.
This guarantees that every single ingredient we use is fully traceable and ensures the purity of our products so that unknown chemicals are not going onto, and into, your skin every day.
Full records are maintained with our certified organic ingredient suppliers who must adhere to strict standards which include:
No genetically modified ingredients
No parabens or phthalates
No synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances
No animals used or harmed during the growing process, and no animal testing in the making of the product.
So why is organic important?
The term organic refers to a system of agriculture used to grow skincare ingredients. This means producing ingredients sustainably without chemical pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals and synthetic chemicals which are widely used in the skincare industry today.
Organic farming works in harmony with nature, delivering many benefits for wildlife and the natural world. It also benefits communities, often in remote areas by protecting the soil to ensure the long-term health of the area.
Certified organic farmers and businesses work to a strict set of standards, to ensure that their ingredients and products sustain the health of the soil, wildlife and nature such as pollinating insects like bees and butterflies, and animals.
We are able to know that we are helping to ensure the planet and all its inhabitants are cared for.
Did you know that, on average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms?
In the face of widespread decline in biodiversity, the role these nature-friendly farms can play in restoring wildlife populations is vital.
The reason why organic farms are so important for healthy and fertile soil and thriving wildlife include:
Fewer pesticides: Pesticides are undoubtedly one of the major drivers of all insect decline, particularly pollinators, like bees and butterflies. Organic farmers help to create a balanced ecosystem on their land, where pests are controlled through natural means.
Nature-friendly habitats: For every 10% increase in bee-friendly habitats - like that found on organic farms - bee numbers and diversity increases by over a third! As a result, organic farms are much more likely to have nature-friendly habitats on their land, like hedges and trees.
Cleaner water for wildlife: As well as being energy-intensive to produce, nitrogen fertilisers used in conventional farming can create ‘dead zones’ when they run off fields and into waterways, reducing the amount of oxygen in rivers and seas. This nitrogen pollution can kill fish and other aquatic life. Organic standards ban the use of these highly processed chemical fertilisers, significantly lowering pollution.
Repair damaged skin AND the planet!
Organic farming by its very nature is kinder to the environment and does not pollute the soil or the air with chemical pesticides, so we are proud to work to this standard across the board.
Nano particles including microplastics in soaps/moisturisers can also enter our bloodstream and enter our water system/environment.
It’s a cocktail of harmful chemicals being washed down the drain every day into our rivers and oceans.
We believe that the purpose of sustainable skincare is to choose products that meet our beauty needs without having a negative impact on people, animals or the environment.
But isn't organic skincare more expensive?
Organic raw ingredients are many times more expensive than their non-organic alternatives - Hello water! However, can you afford not to choose organic ingredients for your skin? Chemical based cleansers and mass-market moisturisers attack the skin and damage the skin barrier. A damaged skin barrier brings dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles and can make it more sensitive.
Our skincare, on the other hand, is concentrated nutrition for your skin. A little goes a very long way. All of our products last a lot longer than a pot of big brand liquid soap or moisturiser as they are waterless.
Many mainstream products can contain up to 90% water - see our video Are you paying for Water in your skincare?
Our products actually soothe and restore the skin barrier, they sink in, don't sit on top and truly nourish our skin on a deep level.
Why choose Coraline Skincare?
We’re so confident you won’t find a more organic or more natural product, that if you do we’ll eat our hats.
It's so pure, that even Mother Nature has put in an order!