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To be cer­ti­fied or­ganic, prod­ucts need to ad­here to strict cri­te­ria.

The term ‘or­ganic’ refers to the way in which in­gre­di­ents are grown with­out the use of ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers, pes­ti­cides or other ar­ti­fi­cial chem­i­cals. Sounds great, but there’s a hitch: New Zealand is clas­si­fied as an ‘un­reg­u­lated or­gan­ics mar­ket’ ac­cord­ing to Wil­son, so there is very lit­tle con­trol over what can be pre­sented or sold as or­ganic.

“Prod­ucts that are la­belled as or­ganic, rather than cer­ti­fied or­ganic, may well be a more nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tive to syn­thetic prod­ucts, how­ever can­not be guar­an­teed as truly or­ganic with­out a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion logo,” she says. The key, ac­cord­ing to Wil­son, is to look for prod­ucts la­belled as ‘cer­ti­fied or­ganic’ and feature the logo of a trusted agency, such as Biogro or NATRUE.

Celia Tre­visani, se­nior brand man­ager for cos­met­ics la­bel Inika, agrees. “To be cer­ti­fied or­ganic, prod­ucts need to ad­here to strict cri­te­ria, which in­clude pro­duc­tion stan­dards for sourc­ing, pro­cess­ing and pack­ag­ing,” she ex­plains. “This also in­cludes hav­ing the in­gre­di­ents grown and har­vested with­out the use of chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers, pes­ti­cides, her­bi­cides, syn­thetic chem­i­cals and growth agents while also be­ing free from ir­ra­di­a­tion and chem­i­cal ster­il­i­sa­tion.”

So, now you can pick bona fide or­ganic cos­met­ics from the im­posters, how do you get the best re­sults from your prod­ucts?

“We be­lieve or­ganic prod­ucts work as well, if not bet­ter than con­ven­tional prod­ucts,” says Tre­visani, “but things like cer­ti­fied or­ganic skin­care and make-up do have a shorter shelf life. A preser­va­tive like phe­noxyethanol can give a liq­uid prod­uct, such as a foun­da­tion, a three-year shelf life, how­ever it can­not be used in or­ganic prod­ucts as it is syn­thetic.”

Brands like Inika use plant-de­rived preser­va­tives, such as radish root, co­conut or sor­bic acid – a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring com­pound that is the most com­monly used food preser­va­tive in the world.

Most or­ganic beauty prod­ucts don’t dis­play ex­pi­ra­tion dates on their pack­ag­ing, as this will de­pend on when the prod­uct is opened. How­ever, as a guide, mas­caras, eye creams and eye shad­ows will last for be­tween three to six months, while mois­turis­ers, lip balms and nat­u­ral de­odor­ants typ­i­cally stay good for six months, and soaps, bath and shower gels keep for up to a year.

As with any prod­uct, it’s a good idea to dis­card any­thing that smells off, has sep­a­rated (un­less that’s to be ex­pected of a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct) or has changed colour.

Tanor­ganic Tril­ogy Pas­sion,$33. Pure

Tan­ningoil,$60. Self Or­gani­crose­hipoil,$48. Cer­ti­fied

Acid, $74.

Cer­ti­fiedor­ganic Chi­asee­doil,$20. Good­ness

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