Author – Arnika Karthikeyan
Today, we live in a world where cosmetics are used on a daily basis to enhance our appearance and odor. Readily available in the market, cosmetics are manufactured according to the needs of different bodies. Depending upon the nature of the ingredients used, they are classified as mineral makeup and cosmetics created using organic materials.
As the merits of organic make-up become apparent, it is gaining prominence in our daily lives. Void of chemicals, these organic products provide a natural and harmless way of taking care of our bodies. However, current products in the market are of a hybrid nature with a reducing percentage of chemicals such as ‘0% alcohol’ in deodorants and others.
The sustained popularity of mineral cosmetics is due to their properties of faster results, sun protection and anti-inflammatory character (in products using zinc oxide and titanium oxide), and long shelf life. However, as the harm done by these chemically produced products is gradually revealed, organic cosmetics are gaining currency.
Why Say ‘No’ To Mineral Cosmetics?
Increasing awareness about the wide range of chemicals used in mineral-based synthetic cosmetics and their long-term health and environmental side effects has resulted in a steady decline in their use. Here is a list of harmful chemicals commonly used in cosmetics:
Soaps, deodorants and other cleansing products:
|Anti-bacterial elements||Destruction of body-helping good bacteriaIncreases chances of catching infection and diseases|
|Diethanolamine/DEA||CarcinogenicDrains out vitamins from the body|
|Formaldehyde||CarcinogenicHarms the respiratory and nervous systems, especially in case of fragrances|
|Nanoparticles like titanium and zinc oxide||Absorbed by skin leading to body poisoning and damage of brain cells|
Mascara, eye-shadow, kajal and eye-liners:
|Butyl Acetate||Commonly used in nail-polish removers leads to arresting of cognitive functions and cracking of skin|
|Mercury||Commonly used in eye make-up items causes irritation in skin and brain damage|
|Talc||Causes cancer and tumors (lungs)|
|General composition||Causes dryness of hair in long-term use|
|Coal Tar, especially in anti-dandruff creams||Causes cancer|
|Lead, especially in hair dyes, lipsticks||Neurological injury and poisonous on high use|
Difference between Organic and Herbal Products
Herbal cosmetic products are prepared from ingredients that are derived from plants. However, the process of manufacturing these products might be natural or chemical-based, which include synthetic material and insecticides. Examples of herbal products include black henna (kali mehendi), neem face wash, aloe vera, etc. Organic cosmetics do not use chemicals in their ingredients and their manufacturing procedure, so they have to be certified to prove that.
Apart from being prepared from natural materials, organic skincare products prevent the accumulation of chemicals that might lead to bodily harm over a long duration. Being hypo-allergenic (i.e. less probable of causing allergic response), they do not pose any threat to the user. Natural ingredients are effective for all skin types and are considerably cheaper than synthetic cosmetics. Further, not being tested on animals, they are ethically a better choice than the mineral-based ones.
Guide to Organic Cosmetics
|Organic Ingredient||Indian name||Benefits|
|Aloe vera||Ghee Kunwar||Treatment of wounds, scars and burnsKeeps away sunburn in oil form|
|Coconut Oil||Nariyal ka tel||Hair growthPrevention of dryness in hair and skin|
|Egg||Anda||Hair conditioningReduces wrinkles over long-term use|
|Golden Apple||Bel||Pulp useful for redness and rashes on skin|
|Sandal||Chandan||Applied in powdered face mask form for removing dead cells and scarsIn oil form, smeared for softening skin|
|Turmeric||Haldi||Regular use for removing pimples and reducing facial hair growth|
|Neem||Neem oil used for removing lice and dandruffNeem water to tone skin, remove blackheads and scarsPaste for cleansing skin|
|Basil||Tulsi||Consumption of tulsi juice for skin problems like eczema and scabiesUse of paste for acne and depigmentation|
|Peppermint||Pudina||Juice for reduction in skin irritation and rashPaste for removing blackheads and acne|
|Bacopa Monnieri||Brahmi||To heal dermal wounds with minimum scarring|
|Mignonette tree||Henna||Natural hair coloring ingredient|
|Emblica Officinalis||Amla||Oil for better hair growth and reduced splitting of ends|
|Castor||Arandi||Healing of calluses and cornsPrevents and gets rid of wrinklesRemoves itching and flakes from hair|
|Red lentils||Masur||Used in skin lightening lotionKeeps away aging effects on skin|
Aisle of Organic Personal Care Products
This Guide to Organic Cosmetics advises you about the wide range of personal care products that can be procured from various eco-friendly green companies or made at home. Kajal can be prepared by collection of soot from almond/steel plates and lip balms from cream and honey. Check out our guide on making eco-friendly alternatives. If you’re looking to buy organic products, check out the following companies in our Green Directory: OmVed, Forest Essentials, FabIndia, Nyassa, Himalaya Herbals, Khadi, Rustic Art and Just Herbs.
Certification of Organic Cosmetics
There are various national and international agencies that examine and provide certification to 1,000 companies in India. Ecocert is a leading international organization that initiated the certification of products in India way back in 2003. IMO India and INDOCERT are the other Indian certifying agencies. The criteria to qualify for organic certification are:
- Use of renewable resources in ingredients and during the production process (inclusive of biodegradable packaging)
- Depending on the amount of organic content, Ecocert attributes two labels:
- Organic cosmetics: A minimum of 95% of plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 10% of all ingredients (by weight) derived from organic farming.
- Natural cosmetics: Minimum level of 50% of all plant-based ingredients in formula with a minimum of 5% of all ingredients (by weight) derived from organic farming