All you need to know about Organic September

Organic September is an annual campaign led by the Soil Association. It encourages people to make small changes to their purchasing habits and aims to raise buyer’s awareness of buying genuine organic products.

Organic is on the up

Despite what we’ve been reading in the press, more and more people are buying organic. In fact, a recent report from the Soil Association showed spending on organic products increased by 4% in 2014. And it isn’t all about food – of those sales, organic health and beauty products saw a whopping 20% increase.

So why are people so keen on organic beauty?

Research published by the Organic Monitor in 2014 showed 90% of UK buyers had converted to buying organic health and beauty products primarily to avoid chemical nasties (we can relate to that). But what happens if what you get isn’t what it says on the tin (or bottle?), and who can help?

Misleading the customer

Did you know that any beauty product that says it’s natural or organic doesn’t have to be? So at the moment in the UK, there’s no government legislation or definition that states what natural and organic beauty actually is. And without certification, beauty brands can dupe us into thinking products that have potentially harmful chemicals in them are in fact natural, animal and eco-friendly.

The cosmetics industry doesn’t have the best track record … and has been known to tell us an ingredient is safe, only to remove it later when it realises it has adverse health effects. This happened with certain phthalates – a group of chemicals used as solvents or fixatives in our nail polish and perfumes. Also, ingredient lists on beauty products can be confusing and tricky to negotiate with their Latin lingo: for example "parfum" which could in fact be a cocktail of over 100 chemicals.

Phew – help is at hand

Worry not, there is a way to check if what you’re buying is genuine and many have already figured it out. Research by the Organic Monitor showed 43% of those of us who bought organic beauty said they looked for assurance symbols and logos from trusted organisations to ensure what they were buying was bone fide.

The Soil Association is one of these organisations. It campaigns tirelessly to help stop ‘greenwashing’ and has one of the most stringent organic standards in the world. The Soil Association focuses on the management of the soil that grows many of the ingredients within its certified beauty products, ensuring natural quality, best practice, and protection of the environment and wildlife.

You can browse all Soil Association certified products that are available at BigGreenSmile here. Alternatively check out products (like those featured in this article) from certified brands including Bentley OrganicsNatracareBalm Balm, and Odylique by Essential Care.

Walking the walk

At BigGreenSmile we fully support the work of the Soil Association and were proud to be voted its Best Independent Retailer of the Year in 2014. Like the Soil Association, we believe in full transparency and give you every opportunity to ensure the products you’re buying from us are genuine, natural and organic. We do this in the following ways:

  • You can search for products your using criteria and all the products we sell are categorised with the relevant assurance symbols, logos and certifications to help put your mind at rest. As well as the Soil Association certification you’ll find products endorsed by Cruelty Free International, ECOCERT, BDIH, NaTrue, The Vegetarian Society, and the Vegan Society. See the full list of criteria here.
  • We aim to break through the ‘green wash’ by explaining in detail what each criteria means so our customers (you) understand exactly what you’re buying – organic MEANS organic on our website
  • We rigorously check product ingredients before they get anywhere near BigGreenSmile, thereby avoiding any ‘nasties’
  • We also send out free samples with every order over £10 so you can check the products for yourselves, and have a ‘no quibble’ guarantee, so if you’re unhappy with your products we’ll offer a refund, exchange or voucher
  • Unlike most websites, we include ingredients on our product pages (there’s no hiding here)
  • Our customer service team are always happy to answer any questions that you have about our products, just drop them an email [email protected]

And remember, when buying your natural and organic beauty products try to check you’ve got the genuine article or you could end up with a tub full of nasties. Endorsements from organisations like the Soil Association are as good as a guarantee, as well as trustworthy retailers (like us) who will help you drill down and check any products pedigree.