What is organic makeup?

Cornstarch, which is often used to make organic makeup.

Organic makeup has several possible definitions. It can be made only from plant materials or from substances derived from plant materials. Makeup labeled organic can also mean that it is made from organic or natural compounds, including minerals. The term implies that all makeup materials are certified organic, meaning they have not been exposed to pesticides. Unless a makeup actually claims to be “certified organic” makeup, it may contain pesticides.

Organic makeup is usually made from plant materials or substances derived from plant materials.

Organic cosmetics derived from plants and minerals can work very well. For example, the main ingredient in the popular Bare Minerals or Bare Escentuals makeup is cornstarch. It would be a mistake to assume that organic makeup is necessarily better for someone than chemically produced makeup. Plants can contain powerful toxins and carcinogens that are just as harmful to the skin and body as lab-produced chemicals. Minerals can also have a high degree of toxicity, and organic cosmetics from the past, such as the white powder used by geishas that cause lead poisoning, can be harmful.

In the United States, “certified organic” products cannot include genetically modified ingredients.

Even when the organic composition is certified, plant or mineral materials can still be unsafe. The best idea is to make sure your makeup does not contain any known toxins or carcinogens. This can often be difficult to decipher on labels because they use a lot of long and complicated words when listing ingredients.

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Some chemicals to look for and avoid in organic makeup include the following:

Sodium laurel sulfate, which can cause mild to moderate skin irritation and allergy,

Paraben, which is often used as a makeup preservative and contains estrogen

Hydrosols, which contain water that is often unpurified and can have high levels of chemicals.

It can be difficult to always avoid these chemicals: virtually all shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes contain sodium laurel sulfate. But people often pay dearly for organic makeup and should know in advance if the product is really different or safer than lab-produced chemicals. They should also be aware that this cosmetic is not necessarily free of contaminants or pesticides, and look for makeup labeled “certified organic”.

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