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The Acala Guide to Buying Organic Beauty

Organic skincare is amazing. We would just like to open with that. True organic skincare means nourishment for your skin that will leave you feeling and, obviously, looking AHmazing! It is also much kinder to our environment.  But buying organic beauty is not always straight forward. From the ingredients with alien names to the various certifications out there it can be hard to know what you’re really buying.

A recent national, independent survey discovered that 76% of us feel misled by the labelling on beauty products. So, here we’ve decoded the BS to help you shop organic beauty confidently.

Ingredients Lists Translated

Order matters in beauty, so when looking at a skincare label always remember that the ingredients listed first are those found in the highest quantities in the product. So if synthetic ingredients are in the list, you’re always looking for them to be right at the end.

It can often feel like you need a chemistry degree to read a skincare label and even some natural ingredients are hard to immediately decipher when they are listed using their scientific names. No fear though, the European Commission has set up the CosIng database that will tell you what all ingredients are in plain English. It will also tell you how each ingredient functions within the formulation.

Soil Association recently released a list of what they are calling ‘The Terrible Ten’ ingredients as part of their Campaign for Clarity. They are not suggesting that the products themselves are harmful, rather that inclusion of these ingredients in products that claim to be organic could be misleading. Read more about it and discover The Terrible Ten.

Certifications Decoded

Certifications are a tricky one and there are many organisations out there who are doing amazing work but are not yet organic certified. These certifications are in place for a reason though, and crucial when you want to be 100% confident in the product you are buying. 

The biggest and most reputable certifications to look for when buying organic in Europe are:


These five certifications have teamed up to form an internationally recognised cosmetic organic standard called COSMOS to ensure beauty products globally meet their standards. Look for the logo of any of these five organisations or for COSMOS when buying organic. The Soil Association also certify health and wellbeing products.

It is also important to clarify the difference between ‘organic’ and ‘made with organic’. To be COSMOS organic certified a products ingredients must be a minimum of 95% organic. COSMOS do also provide certification to products that are ‘made with organic’ ingredients and this requires only 20% of ingredients to be organic for leave on skincare, and 10% for wash off products. One to be aware of!

If it has the logo of these organisations on it then you can be confident in your purchase. As we mentioned earlier though, there are some great smaller brands out there who are not organic certified but are organic so if you’re not sure do some research on the company’s ethics and look into their production methods. 

Know Your Brands

If in doubt, then refer to the Soil Association’s list of approved brands

And there you have it! Any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us a message at


Your inspiration for all things organic, cruelty-free and eco-friendly. At Acala we believe in wellness for both people and planet.

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