Lack of regulation allows misleading ‘organic’ claims on beauty products

The Environmental Working Group recently found that thousands of products on the site claim to be organic, yet they have very poor Skin Deep ratings. Despite being branded as “organic”, these products have hidden ingredients that are synthetic and/or harmful to your body.

How can they get away with this?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture only regulates the use of the term “organic” farm products. So, if the product is made primarily with farm products, the USDA will only allow it to be branded as “organic” if 95 percent of the materials meet federal organic standards. The other five percent of ingredients still must be on an approved ingredients list.

If the product is made primarily with chemicals, there is no regulation of the products use of the term “organic” at all. Even worse, the Food and Drug Administration makes very little effort to regulate these misleading claims.

In light of these findings, the Federal Trade Commission and USDA recently hosted a roundtable on the topic of misleading “organic” claims on beauty products. The roundtable hosted discussions on the impacts of the misleading claims, as well as ways to improve the regulation of them.

Until we know what will come of this roundtable, here are some brands with misleading labels that you should try to avoid. Remember: truly organic, natural products don’t contain any ingredients that are synthetic or harmful.

Be Natural Organics


According to the EWG, Be Natural Organics’ products can range in rating from a 1 to 5 on a scale on 1 to 10 (1 being the best and 10 being the absolute worst). Some of the ingredients used in their products are known carcinogens, organ system toxins, and synthetic additives.

Aubrey Organics


Aubrey Organics’ products also range in rating from 1 to 5, according to the EWG. Some of the ingredients in these products are skin irritants, carcinogens, and reproductive toxins.

Lotus Cosmetics


Not to be confused with Lotus Herbals, Lotus Cosmetics also scores in a 1 to 5 range with the EWG. Their products can contain ingredients that act as skin irritants, carcinogens, and reproductive and organ toxins.

So are all of these companies/products misleading?

Definitely not! Shedding light on these misleading claims is great because it allows us to work toward stricter regulations of the beauty industry. This doesn’t mean that every brand, or even every product within the brands listed above, contain harmful or dangerous ingredients they aren’t telling you about.

The EWG’s findings should not make you distrust the organic beauty industry, because there is so many benefits to using and promoting natural skin care. This should serve as a wake up call to ALWAYS read the ingredients labels on products before buying them, even if they are labelled as organic.

If you’re having trouble understanding what some of these ingredients are or if they are dangerous, the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database is a great resource to help you out!



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