Ingredients | Environmental

Soil Association Standard in Skin Care

Your skin acts as a porous protector, allowing some substances to enter, whilst keeping bacteria out.

We know that certain chemicals can be absorbed through our skin and what the cumulative effect can have on our health and wellbeing is.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average lipstick wearer consumes around 1.8 Kg of lipstick over the course of a lifetime.

As consumers become savvier about their products, it’s no wonder that demand products free from synthetic chemicals increases.

Today the skincare market is 
saturated with companies benefiting from this demand, using “green beauty” as a marketing opportunity to cash in on this lucrative market.

Fortunately, there is one company that has a great deal of integrity behind it, getting their certification, means your skin care product has to go through vigorous testing:

The soil association

The Soil Association is one of the most recognisable organic trademarks in the UK.

Founded in 1946, over 80% of organic skincare products in the UK is certified by the soil association.

The ingredients within the products, have to meet strict criteria to ensure they are not damaging to human health or the environment. 
Their standards are based on principles that require a maximum amount of organic ingredients of 95%. They also require minimum synthetic ingredients, and minimum ingredients to be processed.

They are also strict about clear labelling; this, they believe, allows the consumer to make an informed choice about the products they are purchasing.

Certification requirements

The following points are the soil association guidelines:

  • give clear and accurate information on the label.
  • under no circumstances must the products be tested on animals
  • not harmful to the environment or human health and the environment
  • they must be produced in line with the Soil Associations ethical trading standard
  • personal care products must contain a minimum of 95% ‘organic’ ingredients
  • the product should be fit for purpose and must have a very high proportion of organic ingredients
  • be traceable, clearly identified, and separate from non-organic products at all stages of the manufacturing process

The Soil Association does exclude water in their calculation if the water is used to create an ingredient – the water’s weight in contrast to the plant’s weight is used to determine the organic percentage. This method prevents manufacturers from manipulating their organic content levels and using organic floral waters or hydrosols to boost the organic percentage.

The inclusion of water in a formula is tricky to monitor, especially when it comes to shampoo, this is subject, er discuss in greater detail in the article organic shampoo.


The Soil Association is calling into question the terms ‘Natural’ and ‘Organic’, going on record to say;

Many customers are using chemicals on their skin, chemicals found in paint formulas, household cleaning products and even antifreeze, when they genuinely thought they were buying a product made from only natural or organic ingredients, and this has got to stop!

They feel that many personal care products are duping customers into believing their products are free from chemicals when they clearly are not.

Clearly, the Soil Association has imposed high standards, preventing just any company exploiting the term organic. As a result, any skincare manufacturer that carries the Soil Association standard is well regarded and committed to giving the customer what they want, when it comes to integrity in organic skincare.


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