You might have heard the phrase, “Your body is your temple.” Some people have taken that mantra to heart and have started being very careful about introducing potential toxins into their bodies. When it comes to facial products and even facial cleansers, there is growing concern among some people about the synthetic chemicals in their beauty products. People now want “organic” cosmetics that include only “naturally derived” ingredients. But what does “natural” and “organic” really mean?

Unfortunately, in the world of cosmetics, “natural” and “organic” do not have well-defined meanings. A general understanding is that “natural” means “not synthesized in a lab”; “organic” would then mean “contains no synthetic substances.” But just because a facial cleanser packaging states it is “organic” does not mean what you may think it to mean.

Due to the lack of regulation, a company can get away with labeling their product as “organic” without any real sort of certification. In fact, a company can label their facial cleanser or product as “natural” even if it contains just one natural ingredient. Sadly, some of the so-called “natural” ingredients are not even what you would truly call natural; for example, “grapefruit seed extract,” though sounding as if it comes from a natural source (grapefruit) has gone through so many extraction and purification steps in the lab that the final product is far from “natural.” Likewise, some reports show that some companies are going so far as to label sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) as being “naturally derived from coconut.” Technically, one of the early chemicals needed in SLS synthesis, lauryl alcohol, could be derived from coconut, but between that and all the synthesis steps needed to create SLS, you could hardly call SLS a “natural” product.

In the United States, you may see a “USDA Organic” stamp on some cosmetics, but there is no proof backing that claim. You see, a product stamped with “Organic” is not guaranteed to be 100% organic. As described above, facial cleansers labeled as “Made with Organic Ingredients” can be a play on words with perhaps only as little as 1-2% of ingredients as being organic.

So what is, or rather is not, in an organic facial cleanser? You should not see the above-mentioned SLS in the ingredient list. Some people argue that you should not see any of the lauryl sulfates (the argument being that if SLS is potentially harmful, then derivatives of SLS should be as well). Any petroleum-derived ingredients, such as mineral oil, liquid paraffin, or propylene glycol) should not be on the list; nor should you see amines (MEA, DEA, TEA) or any parabens. If “fragrance” or “parfum” are listed, that is another indication that synthetic materials are within.

Be warned! Unlike a pharmaceutical drug, all ingredients of a cosmetic do not have to be listed. So when reading the ingredient list on your “organic” facial cleanser, you have to still be on edge for the things that choose not to reveal. It’s enough to make you feel slightly paranoid, isn’t it?

The truth is, there are probably very, very few truly organic facial cleansers and facial products out on market. If you manage to find one, be prepared to be, well, shocked. Without stabilizers, such as parabens, the facial product will get contaminated very easily and quickly. And without the masking artificial fragrances, well, hold your nose when you dare to use it!

The only way to be 100% certain that your facial cleanser is organic is to make it yourself. Otherwise, be prepared for disappointment in your search for an organic facial product. Until the United States clamps down on regulations for organic product labeling, you’ll have to contend with “not-so-organic” facial products.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Daniels is a reviewer of the Best Facial Cleansers on the market. His knowledge of which are all natural, and which work or not, has made him a respected authority on the topic. Many of his readers comment on his blogs that his opinions were vital to their shopping decisions.