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
Certifiedorganic Chiaseedoil,$20. Goodness