The ever-growing list of industry buzzwords – think ‘clean’, ‘green’, ‘eco’ and ‘pure’ – can make navigating the beauty world a minefield. Organic beauty is at the top of that list, but it’s more than just a popular catchphrase – it’s a planet-positive movement taking beauty by storm. As proud pioneers of organic beauty since 1988, we thought we’d decode the term, so you can choose organic confidently, enjoy all its benefits and love it just as much as we do.
What does organic mean in beauty?
Organic refers to a way of farming that works with nature, not against it, without the use of synthetic fertilisers and herbicides. It’s rooted in preserving the vitality of our soils to propagate biodiversity, which has far-reaching benefits for our health and wellbeing, animals and wildlife, climate, people and planet.
An extension of this, organic beauty is the formulation of cosmetic products using organically farmed ingredients. The term has garnered popularity over the years, but the problem with its excessive use lies in the law; there are no legal guidelines for organic products in the beauty industry. That said, there is an easy and reliable way to decipher organic claims – through independent bodies and trusted certifiers with transparent and exceptionally high standards, whose logos you’ll find on packaging.
Look for the logo
The Soil Association is the UK’s gold standard organic certification body for food, farming, beauty and wellbeing. Founded in 1946 and led by farmer and organic pioneer Lady Eve Balfour, the charity was born from growing concerns about the health implications of intensive farming after the Second World War.
In 2002, the five leading European organisations certifying organic and natural cosmetics came together and agreed to develop a single, harmonised standard. Since 2017, new beauty products launched or reformulated under these robust global organic standards are certified COSMOS (COSMetic Organic Standard).
When you spot the Soil Association and COSMOS logos on a product, you can be sure that it has been formulated without:
- animal testing
- genetic modification
- controversial chemicals
- parabens and phthalates
- synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances
In 2002, we were the first brand to certify organic skincare under the Soil Association’s beauty and wellbeing standards with four heritage products, including our much-loved Melissa Hand Cream and Rose & Almond Night Cream.
Why choose organic cosmetics?
The pros of organic skincare are often overlooked compared to food, but their advantages mirror one another. It’s already widely acknowledged that organically farmed ingredients positively affect our world’s biome. For skin, the beauty of organically grown ingredients is that they are rich in beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which work alongside the body’s natural abilities to increase collagen production, prevent free radical damage, and improve blood and oxygen flow to the skin.
Discover the benefits of our certified organic Frankincense Intense collection, which is clinically proven to smooth and plump fine lines and wrinkles. Or, if your skin is prone to sensitivity, our certified organic Sensitive collection is clinically proven to reduce redness and skin reactivity.
Choose organic for people and planet
Beyond personal beauty and wellbeing, we believe choosing certified organic products whenever possible is one of the best things you can do for our beautiful planet and all its inhabitants. It’s not just about what organic products don’t have in them; it’s about their positive contribution to the world, too. Organic ingredients are more likely to be ethically sourced and harvested in a way that gives back to nature, with soil managed through composting and nourished with soil enrichers. They can also provide valuable income and support to communities around the globe with fair trade and Fair for Life accredited projects.
We work with a women-run family business in southern Serbia to sustainably source the wild rosehip seed oil blended in our radiance-boosting Wild Rose collection. Our wild rosehip seed oil is certified organic by the Soil Association, harvested in a way that protects wildlife with hips only picked from plants above 1 metre high and 10% of hips left on bushes.
Alongside the Soil Association and COSMOS ‘no’ list, their logos are also an easy way to know that a product has been made using:
- at least 70% certified organic ingredients
- sustainably sourced and biodegradable ingredients to protect harvesters, farmers and the environment
- natural colours and fragrances from plants and flowers
- transparent manufacturing processes, and
- minimal packaging and maximum recycled content.
Protecting bees from toxic pesticides
This July, our co-owner Anabel Kindersley launched a parliamentary petition calling for the government to set a national target for reducing pesticide use, cutting toxicity levels and supporting farmers transitioning to nature-friendly alternatives. With 100,000 signatures, we can get this issue debated in parliament.
Try our naturally nourishing Bee Lovely range, from which we donate 3% of sales to bee conservation.
In the words of our brilliant Brand Ambassador and Naturopathic Herbalist, Tipper Lewis, “There’s so much happening to our planet that we can’t control, but we can [make] small, positive choices [that] lead to greater positive change.”