There are two major things to keep in mind when discussing organic skin products: First, just because something is labeled as natural doesn't mean it's organic as well. Also, remember that products labeled natural can be good for you or your skin even if they're not organic.
According to Dr. Bonnie Grolemund, ND, "The skin is the largest organ in the body and it has an amazing ability to absorb anything put on it, therefore using products with organic ingredients without pesticides makes sense. We need not give our skin a further dose of contaminants just by using the wrong products. It makes sense to do homework in this area. Essential oils are good for the skin, are a pure form of the plant and their molecules are small and easily absorbed. Therefore look for organic sources."
When a brand labels a product "organic," you can often check for as at least one indication of where the ingredients have come from or just what percent organic a product is. To find out more, we waded through many of the companies out there to find several of the ones that carry eco-cert certifications, use food-grade ingredients and nutraceuticals among others and give you a brand by brand breakdown.
Created by the original founder of Aveda, Horst Rechelbacher, this line is USDA-certified organic with 100 percent food based, non-pesticide and non-toxic ingredients. He is currently exploring plant stem cell technology for future use. Many products have the brand's exclusive Intellimune blend which utilizes powerful antioxidants including certified organic red raspberry, cranberry, black cumin, pumpkin and red grapes.
Try this -- Intelligent Nutrients Organic Anti-Aging Serum ($60) a certified organic serum loaded with the rich Intellimune Complex along with Acai, Argan and essential oils that help reduce redness, hydrate and even skin tone.
This French luxury brand has brought Ecocert certified products to our shores. They are dedicated to selecting and using only the finest, and in many cases rare, botanicals and have sourced their formulas through Old World apothecaries and family recipes as well as by using fair trade practices. Within Patyka are two lines -- Biokaliftin, for anti-aging, and Absolis, for combination and dry skin, as well as beautifully fragranced body care.
Try this -- Crème Visage Neroli ($55), a rich hydrating cream with essence of neroli essential oil and jojoba, sesame cranberry seed and apricot oils for moisture and antioxidants. The formula is 99.94 percent natural and 20.27 percent organic.
Born in Colombia and with a degree in engineering, Tata Harper began a four year odyssey to create a skin care line made from 100 percent naturally derived and non-toxic ingredients after realizing how bad many of the chemicals in skin care are. It took four years, but Tata Harper skin care was born.
Products are made by hand and produced at Harper's organic farm, Julius Kingdom, in Vermont's Champlain Valley. There she grows many of the ingredients used in the products and oversees the line from production to packaging. Each product has at least six to 29 active ingredients.
Try this -- Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer ($100). Using raw honey, aloe vera, rosewater and essential oils, it gets deep into skin to moisturize, firm and reduce inflammation while leaving a matte finish on skin.
RMS is Rose Marie Swift, a makeup artist for over 20 years who decided to found her own line based on "living and organic principles" after finding herself having health issues due to toxicity in the products she used. She uses pure and raw, food grade biologically active ingredients like raw coconut oil and believes organic beauty must be packaged in glass, not plastic that pollutes. Her products are packed in recyclable glass with a recyclable airtight lid.
Try this -- RMS Beauty Lip and Skin Balm ($25). A blend of coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax and more, this ultra-healing balm can be used on lips and anywhere an extra helping of moisture is needed, such as around eyes, cuticles, elbows, etc.
This is one of the brands that's been around the longest and is a staple in health food shops as well as your local Whole Foods. They have several lines like CoQ10 and Essential Lift and an extensive overall product list.
The line has recently undergone a change to transition all products by this April to the new NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for organic products. This voluntary standard covers a designation that "contains organic ingredients" for products and says those claiming this must have at least an organic content of 70 percent or more. It also requires companies to state the exact percentage of organic content in their products.
Try this -- Avalon Organics Essential Lift Eye Contouring Cream ($26) is a mineral-rich eye cream with organic jojoba and rosemary oils and aloe vera for deep hydration and oat kernel extract for lift and firming.