Pulse October 2018 - Page 41

“Most certification bodies require thorough testing or vetting so that you can be sure certification claims are valid.” — asHlEy PraNgE, founder, au Naturale cosmetics buying organic groceries: easy. buying organic cosmetics: not so easy. The same goes for any sort of personal care product, from body wash and shampoo to moisturizers, peels and scrubs. While spas have long known the value of natural products, the general public has been slow to adopt them. The reasons for switching to natural or clean products are many. In addition to potentially easing any skin and immune system sensitivities, clean products are also free of substances like preservatives and parabens whose long-term effects are not yet well-documented. Now, though, green is mainstream, says Ashley Prange, founder of Au Naturale Cosmetics: “With green and clean becoming more and more of a trend across all industries, it is especially important for consumers to read between the lines and take a closer look at what these terms mean to each company.” Many manufac- turers are simply cashing in on the trend by claiming their products are clean, green, natural, or organic, even though they may not be. As a spa professional, it can be difficult to distinguish the good products from the bad. How can you tell the truly beneficial from the blatantly bogus? though. For personal care products, this means that at least 95 percent of the ingredients are organically produced. These products will have the distinctive “USDA Organic” seal on them, and are generally a safe bet in the realm of natural products. Unlike the term “organic,” the USDA Organic seal can only be used on those products that actually meet the USDA’s guidelines. However, being an official USDA Organic product is not the be-all-end-all. “Our powder products are comprised primarily of minerals and our crème products are a combination of organic ingredients and minerals,” says Prange. Yet, these products cannot be labelled organic despite being entirely natural, because “basic lab science says that minerals cannot be organic, as they were never living.” “unlike the term ‘organic,’ buying tips the usda organic Prange’s top tip when looking for green, clean or natural products is to simply look seal can only be used at the label: “Veer clear from ingredients on those products you can’t easily pronounce.” Alternatively, that actually meet look for non-USDA certifications. With regulation of personal care products being the usda’s essentially nonexistent, several entities have guidelines.” stepped up to fill the void, certifying products the Wild, Wild West In the United States, all organic food is regulated and certified organic by the USDA under its National Organic Program. Personal care products are not regulated by the USDA. Although these products can be USDA certified organic, the USDA does not enforce the use of the word “organic” on them. For example, if a vegetable calls itself organic but isn’t, the USDA can take action against the manufacturer. When an eye cream calls itself organic but isn’t, the USDA is powerless. Beauty products can still be certified organic by the USDA, according to different standards than the USDA. “Most certification bodies require thorough testing or vetting so that you can be sure certification claims are valid,” notes Prange. It’s also a good idea to do research on the product maker. Most companies who take being natural, clean or green seriously will have a portion of their website dedicated to explaining their green mission or highlighting their ingredients. With so many companies attempting to cash in on the natural beauty trend, it is important to independently research even the claims that do have a stronger legal footing than natural and o rganic, says Prange: “It is more crucial now than ever to look for company-specific definitions of certifications that do have legal parameters, like cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan.” n October 2018 ■ PULSE 39