Friday, June 03, 2005


Want Chardonnay in your moisturizer? Tangerine in your mouthwash? Papaya in your soap? Products containing those ingredients are on the market. Organic cosmetics are expected to reach $5.8 billion soon, growing at the rate of an estimated nine percent a year. The search for "all-natural" products is fueling the introduction of "new "skin care and beauty items.

The United States Department of Agriculture has evidently been so swamped with cosmetics claiming to be free of chemicals and synthetics, it has withdrawn its "USDA Organic" label designation for such products. When it created the seal in 2002, the primary intent was to certify the organic claims made by food producers. Now, three years later, the department believes that cosmetics and personal care products can't be government-certified as organic, after all.

Almost all cosmetics and skin care products do contain "natural" ingredients. Just consider fruits, which are among the most popular. Strawberry juice, for example, is reputed to contain ingredients that soften and nourish the skin. Plum extract is used in mouth washes and skin creams. And don't forget the fruit acids used in a myriad of anti-wrinkle creams. Olives, soy and wine grapes are also popular today.

The European market is particularly focused on finding legendary and newly discovered active botanicals. They may give the ingredient an exotic name. The European names on the label Opium graveolens and Avena sativa, for example, we call celery and oatmeal.

Even though there are no standards for organic cosmetics, reportedly any soap, shampoo, or other body item with the word "organic" in its name is a popular choice. You have to read the label carefully so you don't get "skinned".

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