Going green is more than just a fad these days and organic skin care products are pretty easy to find. However, it was not always this way. It was not too many years ago that the only option for skin care products were those that were synthetically based. However, as people gained a greater appreciation for the benefits of natural products, the organic skin care industry began to flourish and is now a thriving and blossoming industry all over the world.
A Growing Market
The organic cosmetics sector is poised for phenomenal growth with large commercial production and marketing companies entering into it. Skin care products are at the forefront of this race. The organic skincare product market worldwide was worth $7.6 billion in 2012, with an expected growth rate of over 9% until 2018. Market Research World calls the rise of interest in organic skincare "a global phenomenon." According to Euromonitor International, the U.S. is poised to be at the forefront of development of organic cosmetics or personal care products.
In 2011, North America had captured almost 35% of the organic skin care market with Europe and Asia Pacific not far behind. The global market for organic personal care is expected to continue rapid growth. Emerging skin care markets in such places as China, Mexico and Brazil are also expected to grow over the next several years.
Organic Skincare Through the Years
Organic skincare has evolved over the years, eventually getting to where it is today.
1950's and 1960's
The modern organic movement started around the same time as the industrialization of agriculture and chugged along through the 50's and 60's. Increased awareness, created through works like Silent Spring authored by Rachel Carson, which exposed the toxic bio-accumulative effects of pesticides (namely DDT), and the fight against the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops by environmentalists around the world, brought about a slow but steady change in the agricultural practices. Few organic products were available for skin at this time but a shift in thinking was occurring.
In the 1970's consumers became more interested in health, fitness, nutrition and the natural environment. This shift of consciousness added to the organic movement. Also in 1970, Horst Rechelbacher discovered the healing properties of plant-based Ayurvedic formulations on a trip to India. He became an advocate of natural skin products and created a clove shampoo on his return to the U.S. His company Aveda later merged into Estee Lauder, but continued with its range of organic products.
In the following years, a number of products claiming to be natural and organic came and went. Many did not last long and others were found out to be imposters that actually did not contain any real organic ingredients at all.
With outbreaks of Mad Cow Disease, Avian Flu and the introduction of genetically modified foods, the 1990's saw more people jumping on the organic bandwagon. The growth in the industry has paralleled the growth in education around organics and a greater understanding of the dangers of synthetic products.
Narelle Chenery is a mother who lost respect for the so-called organic skincare industry when she discovered a product that had been marketed as natural really was not. Chenery believed in mixing up skincare recipes in her kitchen and eating an organic diet. Narelle began to create her own creams and lotions and gave them away as gifts to friends and family members. She eventually turned her gift giving into a home-based business and as her knowledge grew, so did her popularity.
When showing her products at a natural health expo, entrepreneur Alf Orpen approached Narelle and challenged her to create a fully certified organic skincare line. Although others in the skincare industry were skeptical, Narelle was successful in developing Miessence, the world's first certified, organic skin-care and cosmetic company. After her products were tested by a third-party group she was awarded organic certification (Australian Certified Organic (ACO) in January of 2001.
According to the company, "Miessence certified organic products contain more than 95% certified organic ingredients. The remaining small percentage (up to 5%) must be naturally produced plant or mineral products with strict processing criteria, (e.g. absolutely no GMOs or synthetic chemicals)."
A 2011 survey by the Organic Trade Association found that more than 78 percent of Americans purchase organic food. Those that purchase organic food are more likely to consider organic skincare, home and clothing products. In the United States today, an increasing demand for skin care, hair care, and other organic cosmetics is driving the market on a global level.
With regulation of testing and certification in the organic skincare industry still not where it needs to be, the consumer must be diligent in the selection of products. With hundreds of new products flooding the market each year, doing a little homework may save frustration and disappointment in the end.
For a thorough analysis of your skincare products visit the Environmental Working Group's Skincare Database. To be sure that you are putting only natural and organic products on your skin you can also opt to make your own, a practice which more and more people are embracing.