Beauty mar­ket eyes the real thing

De­mand grows for purely or­ganic, chem­i­cal-free prod­ucts


At first, the pair sim­ply be­gan mak­ing soap; then, they re­searched or­gan­ics.

“We found that there was no rea­son that ev­ery­thing in our prod­ucts couldn’t be or­ganic, and we were able to find it all at prices that we could com­pete with con­ven­tional prod­ucts, so that’s what we did,” says Nolan, a nurs­ing in­struc­tor at Norquest Col­lege.

The re­sponse has been “amaz­ing,” she adds. “Peo­ple re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate that we’re us­ing all or­gan­ics and that we’re not green­wash­ing it.”

Nolan de­fines green­wash­ing as, “putting one or­ganic in­gre­di­ent in and the rest is a slew of chem­i­cals, and re­ally fo­cus­ing on that one in­gre­di­ent and down­play­ing the rest and hop­ing the con­sumer doesn’t find out or doesn’t re­al­ize it.

“That’s what a lot of com­pa­nies are do­ing th­ese days, jump­ing on the or­ganic band­wagon. Like the big one is shea but­ter. Every­one has shea but­ter in ev­ery­thing they have.”

But that doesn’t mean the prod­uct is nat­u­ral, pure or or­ganic, she adds.

For con­sumers try­ing to nav­i­gate the of­ten-con­fus­ing world of “nat­u­ral” and “green” prod­ucts, a group of lo­cal vol­un­teers called Ed­mon­to­ni­ans Sup­port­ing a Green Econ­omy is or­ga­niz­ing in­for­ma­tion nights at Car­bon En­vi­ron­men­tal Bou­tique down­town.

Last month’s of­fer­ing was about non-toxic beauty prod­ucts, with the own­ers of FunkyBug Nat­u­rals and Truf­fula Or­gan­ics on hand as speak­ers.

“Peo­ple were very re­cep­tive,” says Moses of the re­sponse. “They re­ally want to know what’s safe and what op­tions they have.”

Some peo­ple have al­ler­gies or sen­si­tiv­i­ties to the chem­i­cals, dyes and gluten in beauty prod­ucts, she adds. Many con­ven­tional lo­tions and hair prod­ucts con­tain paraben, a preser­va­tive that also acts as a hor­mone dis­rupter, she says.

“There’s no lead in the lip­stick, no mer­cury in the mas­cara,” she jokes.

While those tox­ins aren’t nor­mally found in makeup, plenty of other chem­i­cals are, like ph­tha­lates, formalde­hyde and lau­rel sul­phate, MacLean adds. Re­cent con­cern, for ex­am­ple, over bisphe­nol A in baby bot­tles and other con­tain­ers, has made con­sumers more wary about prod­ucts and in­gre­di­ents they used to as­sume were safe.

“ You’ve got to watch the terms ‘nat­u­ral’ and ‘or­ganic,’ too,” she adds. “Ar­senic is or­ganic, too. Poi­son ivy is or­ganic. It’s a lot for peo­ple to re­search be­fore they go buy a bot­tle of cream.”

CanWest News Ser­vice

Al­li­son MacLean, the owner of Car­bon En­vi­ron­men­tal Bou­tique, says all the makeup and per­sonal care prod­ucts in her store are plant-based and or­ganic, free of ar­ti­fi­cial dyes and fra­grance.

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