Organic cosmetics: What are they and are they worth it?

As a consumer, the average American adult uses 9 personal care products each day. These products, some…
Organic cosmetics: What are they and are they worth it?
Foto: Wikimedia Commons

As a consumer, the average American adult uses 9 personal care products each day. These products, some of which are considered organic cosmetics, range from shampoo and conditioners to perfume and colognes, lotions, deodorants, and hair styling products. In these 9 personal care products are approximately 125 different ingredients, many of which are considered unhealthy substances.

During the 1970s, a movement began to toughen regulations on the chemicals used in personal care products. This was the introduction of The Safe Chemicals Act, which remains in place today to both ban and regulate the chemicals used in consumer products. It wasn’t until the 20th Century that organic cosmetics began to find their way onto consumer shelves.

What makes cosmetics organic?

For organic cosmetics to be considered organic, they must be free of harsh chemicals such as fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides, all chemicals that were once approved for cosmetic production. Since these chemicals have been linked to numerous diseases including cancer The Environment Protection Agency no longer approves their use.

However, there are still harmful chemical substances being used in some consumer products today. Many lipsticks still contain dangerous levels of lead while both nail polish and nail polish removes remain a deadly way to pretty up fingers and toes with their combination ingredient list of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde.

When shopping for organic cosmetics, look for the Department of Agriculture or USDA Organic symbol. Generally, consumers can trust that these products have been produced without harmful chemicals. Any products that claim to be organic but are without the USDA Organic label have not been certified or verified organic, and therefore, should not be considered organic. Without the USDA symbol, manufacturers can produce cosmetics with some synthetic ingredients and still refer to their products as organic.

Brands of organic cosmetics


Lead remains a main ingredient in many lipsticks produced by drugstore brands such as Revlon, Maybelline, and Cover Girl. A few lip-smacking lead-free kiss choices include several Avon and Body Shop products as well as LipSurgence, RMS Beauty, Ilia, Vapour, and Nvey Eco Organic Lipstick.

Nail polish

Nail polish is another fully loaded chemical laced product used by millions, if not billions, of women around the world. Opt for more natural choices such as Piggy Paint, Butter Lotion, Zoya, Priti NYC, or Sante. To remove traditional nail polish, the best you can do is buy remover labeled toluene-free or DBP-free.


Be smart about packaging labeled as hypoallergenic or natural. This is not the same thing as organic and does not qualify it under organic cosmetics. Do your homework and avoid products that contain parabens, which often appear listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben or butylparaben. Also watch for BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), dimethicone a silicon-based polymer also called polymethylsiloxane, talc, a form of magnesium silicate that is common in eye shadows, and kohl, which is a color additive. Try Vapour or Blades Natural Beauty for their toxic-free eye products.