Why Aren’t You Buying Organic Beauty Products?

Published in: News

A new study seems to say that we Americans haven’t bought into the hype over organic beauty products.


Despite the attention from the media and manufacturers, organic beauty care items still haven’t caught on, according to the TABS Group (no joke; that’s really the name), a leading marketing research and consulting firm. “There is a significant gap between the hype and reality of consumer purchase behavior with regards to Organic products,” states TABS Group President and Founder, Dr. Kurt Jetta.


In the study, only 5% of respondents claimed to have purchased at least one organic skin care product within the past six months. Only 4% claimed to have purchased organic hair care, and just 3% purchased organic cosmetics.

By contrast, well over 70% of respondents claimed to have purchased non-organic beauty care products over the same period.

Are you buying organic beauty on a regular basis? If not, what’s holding you back?

Are you buying organic beauty products on a regular basis?

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Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Erin says:

    I think I don’t buy organic products mainly because none of the things I want are ever organic. If I saw a cute/really desirable organic product, I’d definitely buy it, but I don’t feel the need to go out and specifically hunt down organic items. So I just buy the things I like, KWIM?

  2. Laura says:

    I don’t buy organic because I have so many allergies to plant products, I would prefer to just stick to the formulas that I know are safe for me instead of risking a trip to the ER.

    Laura´s last blog post..Taffy Likes…The Results of The 2008 US Election!!!

  3. Tiffany says:

    I agree with Erin. I also think it’s a branding issue. I buy some organic products, but they are by brands I know and love, like Cargo and Burt’s Bees. I wouldn’t necessarily buy an organic product from some brand I don’t know, just like I wouldn’t buy a non-organic product from some brand I have never heard of.

  4. Mansie says:

    I don’t know exactly why I don’t buy organic products. I think it’s mostly because people around on youtube and blogs don’t really talk about it, so it doesn’t really have any hype. Also, there aren’t many high end brands that sell organic. I’ve only heard of the drugstore’s Physician Formula and their ads always scare me. lol.

    Mansie´s last blog post..Random Vacation Post

  5. birkie says:

    I buy them on a regular base, but I have to buy them online because they are not as easy to purchase in my neighbourhood. I love organic products, but I do not consider them to be HG only because they are organic, because the natural items in some products can be just as irritating as any chemical (for example: some essential oils).
    Even with organic cosmetics I have to look out for the ingredients and road test before dedicating myself to a product.
    And I still buy some non-organic products…for example, eye makeup and such.

    birkie´s last blog post..Innisfree @ sasa.com

  6. katee says:

    I really never buy organic beauty products. I mean, if I buy it and it happens to be organic, great. But I do not seek out organic when it comes to beauty products. I do most of my beauty shopping as far as cosmetics go at the department stores. There are not any organic lines, at least that I am aware of, that are featured amongst the department store lines. Are there? It seems like I see organic cosmetics when I am shopping at Whole Foods for groceries but I just don’t think of looking for cosmetics when I am grocery shopping. So for me I guess it is kind of a marketing thing. They are not marketing organic cosmetics at the places I shop for cosmetics.

    katee´s last blog post..Contest Winner & Manicure Tips

  7. Holly says:

    Im not sure if this is a mainly UK associated problem but I just find that I hardly ever see Organic beauty products for sale! We are at a distinct advantage anyway in the beauty stakes as we really dont have a solid equivalent to Sephora where there is a wide variety of products all under one roof and in adition to that our smaller drug stores dont have half of the beauty products that U.S. ones do (and what we do have are much more expensive).

    I have seen the odd organic line in Boots but the packaging and promotional material have always been really uninspiring and the products are overpriced for unknown brands! I personally am constantly trying to limit my spending on beauty products because im out of controll (haha!) so im far more willing to splash my cash on known and trusted brands that I can get hold of easily and which inspire me at the counter!

  8. Brandy says:

    The “organic” label is nothing but a selling tactic, it means next to nothing.

    “The labeling of “organic and natural” cosmetics is virtually unregulated by governments, leaving consumers to rely on industry self-regulation.” (1)

    “What constitutes “organic,” however, is a contentious issue. Several U.S. lawsuits are testing the green credentials of various beauty and personal care products, highlighting the lack of stringent across-the-board certification in one of the fastest-growing segments of the cosmetics industry.” (1)

    So along with little to to regulation, with claims of “organic” popping up everywhere, there is also little to no evidence that organic cosmetics are better for either the environment (many organic manufacturing processes when measured by the life cycle of the product – which is a a measure of the environmental impact from growing of raw materials to production to finished product – show that the production of organic goods are actually worse for the environment and in some specific cases even non-sustainable).

    “Academics from the Manchester Business School, at the University of Manchester, carried out an assessment of 150 of the best-selling foods for the survey, dubbed the Shopping Trolley Report. “There is no clear-cut answer as to whether purchasing an organic or a conventional trolley of goods has more or less impact environmentally,” they said.” (2)

    Lastly, there is little to no evidence that organic is actually better for the body. The nutrients of a so-called organically grown plant are the same as its non-organic counterpart. The nutrition/enzymes/what-ever-part-of-the-plant-is-being-claimed-as-beneficial is part of the plant and is not altered by the growing process.

    “But many experts say there’s not enough evidence to prove any real advantage to eating organic foods.

    “There’s really very limited information in people on actual health outcomes with consumption of these products,” says David Klurfeld, PhD, chairman of the department of Nutrition and Food Science at Wayne State University in Detroit. “We don’t know enough to say that one is better than the other.”” (3)

    So, needless to say, I don’t buy into the organic hype. I also think a little critical thinking can be a good thing. 🙂


    (1) http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/04/business/rbogcosm.php
    (2) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1415464.ece
    (3) http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/organic-food-better

  9. Evie says:

    I don’t buy organic cosmetics because I have yet to find a single product (with the exception of Cargo lipsticks) that isn’t below average quality or overpriced, and most seem to be both. Which is very frustrating, because I would love to buy organic!

    Birkie, you’re totally right about the accessibility problem. I’m sure there are a handful of niche organic cosmetic lines that I would actually like to buy from, but who wants to deal with the hassle of blind online shopping when there’s a Nordstrom 10 minutes away?

  10. Lilan says:

    I haven’t jumped on the organics bandwagon either. Of the few products I’ve tried, I just couldn’t get over the earthy smells and the textures/results haven’t been my fave.

    What are your thoughts on organic beauty?

    Lilan´s last blog post..Prescriptives Spring Collection is ‘In Bloom’

  11. Dao says:

    The standard for a product to be qualified is very low. I’ve seen shampoos that have a whole lot of synthetic ingredients plus parabens to be called “organic”. And even a brand that called itself so is nowhere close to being organic at all! So I think a concrete standard needs to be developed first before people can buy the products.

    Dao´s last blog post..Happy New Year 2009!

  12. Heidi says:

    These companies throw around the words “organic” and “all natural” without explaining what they mean. They know that the public lacks knowledge about chemistry, and they totally feed on their ignorance. I’ll stick to my “regular” products.

  13. Indian Girl says:

    As much as I love natural & organic products…I dont buy them as much . One, less variety. Two, they arnt readily available. Three, sometimes they have a really weird smell. Four, I am scared about the expiration dates …

    Indian Girl´s last blog post..The Body Shop Shimmer Body Lotion and Body Polish : Review

  14. Amanda says:

    i’m an “other”–I do buy some organic products, but not on a real regular basis (mainly burt’s bees and kiss my face products, and MOP hair products-LOVE this brand). Hm, I guess most of my organic stuff is hair and body vs. makeup. I think there are two main reasons why I don’t do organic makeup: first, I have SO MUCH stuff already it’s hard to justify buying something just because it’s organic and I’m trying to cut back on spending. Secondly, I’m not sure of the quality of the products. I have some of the cargo plant love things and like them, and I’m interested in trying korres and josie maran…but then see reason #1. 🙂

  15. Jinnzor says:

    I do make an effort to buy organic products, but it’s a lot more difficult to find beauty products than it is to find organic foods or clothing.

    I’m very happy Cargo made their Plant Love line. Fantastic idea!

    Jinnzor´s last blog post..NOTD: China Glaze Sacred Heart

  16. Elena says:

    I’m with Dao and Heidi on this. I would love to buy organic to be healthier and environmentally beneficial, but it’s hard to understand what qualifies just by looking at ingredients. The products I’ve seen labeled that way also do seem to be pricier and have shorter shelf lives. What I would really like to see in general would be clearly labeled production and expiration dates on all beauty products.

  17. Gemma says:

    I don’t buy organic because “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you. I’m allergic to the Cargo Plant Love line, but I’m not allergic to Clinique. People forget there are many all-natural herbs, flowers, minerals etc. that can cause irritation and allergies worse than chemicals i.e. poison ivy.

  18. Shefali says:

    I think organic products are pricey…plus, I shop at Nordstrom for most of my stuff and there aren’t many organic lines there. Origins is there and it is the ONLY USDA certified organic line. I’ve tried the toner. It was actually very good. But…pricey.

    I probably have other organic products in my bathroom, I just don’t know that they are. I had no idea Korres is organic. Is it? I know it’s all natural, but is it organic? I die over their stuff…it’s amazing. I haven’t tried one single product that I’m unhappy with. Their lotions, bath gels, shampoos and makeup are all excellent. Plus the scents are usually unisex – my husband uses everything I use (except the makeup of course!).

  19. Tiera says:

    I’m still on the fence, like it sounds like a lot of you are. I’ve tried a few products, but from familiar brands (like Cargo and Korres). I’m not sure I’m down for dishing out the moolah on a products that are unproven (at least in my book). I feel much more comfortable spending my hard-earned money at MAC!

    Tiera´s last blog post..2009 New Year “Challenges”

  20. GA says:

    “Natural” or “Organic” does not always mean better when comes to cosmetics. There are many synthetic ingredients that are superior to so-called natural or organic ones. Cetaphil skin cleanser is one of the best out there and with exception of water and alcohol there isn’t one natural or organic ingredient in there. Read Paula Begoun’s books to get more info on this issue.

  21. Tavia says:

    I admit I don’t know so much about organic products, but another reason for what I don’t buy them is cause I’ve never found something interesting and that i really like and find it useful to me.

    Tavia´s last blog post..Clinique Turnaround – 15 Minute Facial mask- Review

  22. cloudburst says:

    I read an article that said that alot of “natural” and “organic” products are not tested as thoroughly as non-organic/natural products in terms of their potential to cause allergies & reactions.

  23. Briana says:

    I’m pretty set on the products that work for me. I have a hard time finding shampoo and conditioner that don’t wreak havoc on my scalp, so I’m definitely sticking with my Pureology.
    In makeup, I’m not picky, but organic is usually way more expensive than I’m willing to pay. Especially when its such a new thing. I’m willing to spend more on tried and true products that have been around for awhile, I’ve been disappointed enough times to be wary of new productts. I like to go with stuff I can research and read other peoples opinions of.

  24. Catherine says:

    I do like organic/natural skincare (and mind you those two words don’t mean the same thing!), and I actually make my own moisturizer, but when it comes to cosmetics, I feel that it is just so much harder to find quality products for comparable prices.

    The only things I can really think of when I think “organic” makeup… are Burt’s Bees lip balms/glosses, which I dislike for the consistency and peppermint oil, and Juice Beauty… and Juice Beauty’s closest to makeup item is their balms which failed miserably in my book (in terms of color/consistency and moisturizing). According to Sephora, NVEY Eco is also organic, but I’ve never seen it carried in any of their stores.

    I’m not sure if TBS is organic, they try to be fair trade and environmentally friendly, but I’ve had so many allergic/breakout reactions to their skincare and body products that I’m basically terrified to try any more of their makeup. I have one lipstick, and it’s pretty low quality in that it transfers to EVERYTHING and is too drying for me. I’ve never seriously looked at any of the cosmetics carried in Whole Foods because the colors are usually quite boring, and the products are quite overpriced for being carried in a grocery store. Also, I’ve never heard anything about them and there’s no one there to help me pick anything out. Also, a lot of minerals based makeup is overly shimmery, in my opinion.

    If an organic makeup line existed, with products of comparable quality and prices to MAC, I’d be all over it. But… there just isn’t.

    However, EcoTools brushes are organic, and I positively ADORE them. Not because they’re organic/natural/animal&environmentally-friendly, but because they’re incredible quality for an incredibly low price (compared to similar products). I’d buy them if they were comparably priced b/c of the extra feel good benefits, but if they were significantly more expensive than other brands, I probably wouldn’t be able to justify it on my budget.

  25. eye4style says:

    Organic skincare makes my sensitive, problem skin *really* flare up, unfortunately. I keep testing different lines, though, so I am open to it!

    eye4style´s last blog post..Spring Preview – Prescriptives

  26. Hana says:

    I’m never completely sure what they mean by “organic” since the definition I know just means anything made with carbon molecules. And I don’t know if the definition in this case means 100% natural or what. But I’m guessing that when most people say organic they just mean something along the lines of is mostly made of natural stuff. In which case the Lush, Burts Bees, Yes to Carrots (I’m not sure about this one), EcoTools, Korres, Kiss My Face, etc. that I occasionally buy count. But I don’t buy them BECAUSE they’re natural or anything. I like trying new stuff. But I have found that for my hair and face chemicals seem to work better.

  27. Donna says:

    Lots of NO options and only one for YES.

    Anyway, I buy “natural” or “organic” products when I can. Often the facial moisturizers are either too heavy, too light, or too greasy. I attribute that to still being in the early stages of creating elegant textures. I mix a little hyaluronic acid in with my Bee Yummy Skinfood by Live Live to make it work. Similarly easier to remedy texture problems with the body products, so I stick with natural versions of those. I like retinoid products and potent serums and the naturals haven’t figured out to deliver them to the skin very well. If it’s not Rx then it’s Avene, the French line that uses thermal water (and that very few bloggers review for some reason it’s excellent).

    As for makeup, my lip products are always from the the health food store, which is where most of what I consume through my mouth comes from. Plenty of brands are doing fine in that area.

    Face powders and foundations, here’s where we have a real problem. Apparently, the makers of most of these products are hesitant to make them in colors suitable for darker skins. I was able to find a good mineral powder that matches and is, for the most part, without many of the hard chemicals found in leading brands. I was lucky.

    Mascara, no way. Thankfully, through EWG’s Skin Deep database I found a “low toxicity” drugstore mascara. The natural one’s don’t pack the right punch.

    Toothpaste, natural. Deodorant, not. I tried, but no. Shampoo, see face makeup. It’s just not made right for me.

    So my answer is YES, I go natural as for as many products as I can, but I exercise the option to use mainstream products when they do a better job. However, MANY natural products to not perform well enough to justify their costs. Perhaps they should look into this.

  28. RetroRiotGrrrl says:

    I’ll get allot of flack from my ecowarrior friends but honestly I don’t care about the environment enough to give up the qualities i want. I want makeup with excellent color payoff and long wear and every organic product i’ve used has yet to deliver the goods. On a side note I also try to stay away from products that contain unsafe ingredients (parabens ect). And I do my best not to use animal tested products unless completely necessary.

  29. Stephie says:

    I agree with Mansie. A lot of the products I look into trying come from recommendations via youtube or blogs and organic brands are really hardly ever mentioned. Maybe when the pockets become more full, will I decide to venture into the world of Organic beauty on my own. But until then..

  30. Asta says:

    I do like Origins but I shop there very sparingly due to the prices. I have one blush from them. I tried the Physician’s Formula organic line’s tinted moisturizer and it wasn’t as great as my regular lightweight foundation so I don’t use it much. I agree about going to Whole Foods or a health store and finding strange organic brands you’ve never heard of. I’m not there to shop for cosmetics, and even if I was I’ve read no reviews on these brands. They need better marketing if they want people to use them.

    I don’t know if you count Lush or Body Shop as organic, but I get most of my bath and body products from these two stores. I like their mission statements, especially the Body Shop, and their products work very well for me. I use Lush cleanser/toner/moisturizer and hair care almost exclusively. I guess I care more about what the company is doing for the environment and for their workers than the organic label, which as many have mentioned is often misleading.

  31. Brittnie says:

    They’re too expensive, and they don’t work as well. I don’t want to pay 3X more for a product that doesn’t work as well.

  32. Shannon says:

    I like to buy organic/natural products when I can, and living in Seattle (a pretty “green” city) I feel like the pressure is a little more “on” here to be environmentally aware when buying pretty much anything. More than buying simply “organic” beauty products, though, I like to think that I tend towards “safe” products — non-paraben, cancer-causing-chemical-free, etc. These products can tend to be “organic,” but not always.
    Have you heard of the ? (check out the “companies” link to see if you’re favorite product lines have pledged to keep what the Campaign thinks are unsafe ingredients out of their products)
    They’re sort of the PETA of the makeup world, and tend to be rather extreme. I’ve found it helpful, though, to at least be aware that there are problems with the way makeup is made so that you can make a somewhat educated decision when you’re shopping.

    The “organic” tagline isn’t as alluring in the makeup aisle as in the produce section — at least, for me it’s not. I’m much more drawn to the paraben-free products and products that have recyclable/recycled packaging. Some organic/environmentally aware lines that I do love, however, are Alba, Burts Bees, and Kiss My Face.

    On a side note: has anyone been inside a ? I wanted to go buy something there, but the smells were so off-putting that I left before I could really explore the place. And it’s a small shop. Some organic beauty was never meant to be.

  33. stickles says:

    I don’t buy em because they expire way faster…

  34. andreea says:

    a YES to organic products but…:
    In Germany there is a clear label (BDIH) on orgnaic products and it means really organic then. MOP e.g. has organic ingredients but also parabens – hwat the heck?
    In US it is nearly impossible to buy organic stuff unless you stick to german brands like Dr. Hauschka or Lavera which are more expensive. For skincare organic products are usually better, but there are always some with allergies or just some who can use everything (lucky people…).
    on organic make-up – YES at lipsticks because you eat them, but I admit the colours are boring. I use a mixture, eye shadows and powder from Dr. Hauschka have a higher quality then Chanel and stuff, but I also stick to NARS, a brand that offers a large variety on colors and professional quality.

    I buy only organic stuff until it comes to make-up, and in Germany at least it is by far cheaper.
    In Europe it is also much more trendy to buy organic, in France they pay 8 Euro for a pound organic tomatoes.
    Until this trend will arrive US it will take long long time – is it the americans that drive huge cars, this very thirsty monsters? 😉
    I do not do it only for the enviroment I admit 🙂 I just like the products and the prices 🙂

    andreea´s last blog post..ALVERDE Styling Gel Weisser Tee Lemongrass

  35. rayon says:

    I did try several natural, organic and eco products a while a ago and they simply don’t work for me. Then again, most skin care doesn’t work for me, except RoC, Valmont and Sisley. I found that they aren’t as moisturizing as for example Biotherm or Chanel skin care and applying makeup on them was a nightmare. And I’m never ever going to buy something from small and indie skin care companies who obviously don’t have the resurces and money to to serious research and testing. Too many allergic reactions and irritations that I never experienced with any drugstore or high-end brands.

  36. Donna says:

    I buy organic products, but I buy my stuff in its natural form such as shea butter, aloe vera oil, and such.

    Products that I can use on my hair and skin without having to deal with any other chemicals. With that said, you do still have to research even organic hair and skin products for that matter especially if you have an allergy to plant products.

    You can’t get away from allergens, but you can be in control of what toxins are being put into your body, by what you eat, use in your hair, or even what you put on your skin. You just have to be informed.

    Be Botanical.com

  37. andreea says:

    Hi Donna, thank you for that! It is not easy for you though (in the US I mean) as you do not have a proper control instance. I can read in the comments also some rather (sorry to say) ignorant opinios e.g. when there is animal testing for the products, well, you cannot change it. If you would say that somewhere in Europe people will stone you. At least it is not really funny and animal testing is really unnecessary for cosmetical products at least.

    andreea´s last blog post..Umsatzzuwachs für BEIERSDORF trotz Konjunkturflaute

  38. Raffaella says:


    I’ve used certain organic products for YEARS now. Organic shampoos and conditioners put an end to my dermatitis and organic creams helped my acne-proned skin. It’s not just a trend but a very positive change in everyday habits.
    Good organic make-up is harder to find. I like Lavera products and mineral make-up (only *pure*, not the stuff by Rimmel, L’Oreal and such).

    Just like in Germany, organic products in Italy have to be certified. “Green”, “natural” and similar adjectives alone don’t mean anything 😉

  39. Kelly says:

    I can’t buy organic cosmetic since I’m not rich. There are such wonderful organic cosmetics at my local health food store but everything cost $15 or more. There’s no way I can buy an eyeliner, lipgloss, foundation,and eyeshadow for 15 dollars each plus tax. I would not be able to pay my bills.

  40. JO says:

    I was in the same boat , but after researching all the carcinogenic ingredients that are in our everyday products that are linked to cancers and such I decided to take the plunge and go organic. I fully read labels so I’m not duped into buying the same product with the word organic just slapped on the label. I was lucky to find an edgy line (like mac and urban decay) with all the good ingredients that does not irritate my super sensitive skin and actually cleared up the acne i’ve been battling sine I was 13 (I’m now 25) and in the colors that I desire. The major reason I opted to go organic was because I was learning about all the toxic chemicals that seep into our bloodstream from our skin. If anyone is skeptical about trying organic because of the quality or online purchasing I suggest trying http://www.johnny-concert.com they have the best products I’ve ever used (even above my mac, chanel, Nars etc). I really couldn’t of been happier with my find and the results 🙂

  41. obagi says:

    I have used organic cosmetics once and I was quite disappointed with the color after the application. I tried organic foundation and not only didn’t last on my skin but also it becomes a lot whiter on my skin. Only the benefit I had was it did helped with my acne problem. Now I am only sticking to organic skincare products.
    .-= obagi’s last blog post… Obagi Nu-Derm System: Part 1 =-.

  42. Kiera says:

    I have bought organic beauty products, but they are a small percentage of my total beauty purchases. Why?

    – Many “natural” products are not. They include non-natural ingredients like DIMETHICONE and other silicones. Many synthetic occlusive ingredients like silicone always break me out.

    – Price. I can buy the ingredients and make my own natural moisturizer for pennies. So why can’t these natural brands sell me a cream for less than $25?

    – I don’t care about “organic” so much as I do non-synthetic, because most of the ingredients that give my skin trouble are synthetic (e.g. silicones).

    – Lacking Active ingredients. I would love to see retinol in a natural base instead of the silicone base it always comes in (I’m looking at you RoC and Olay). Or hyaluronic acid. Or azelaic acid. Most natural brands just give you some useless but exotic sounding plant extract as their active ingredient.

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