Organic and or – How Europe Manages the Beauty Industry

Before digging into how Europe manages the ingredients used to manufacture cosmetic products, it becomes necessary to understand why this is so important. Personal care products, otherwise known as beauty products or cosmetic products, are known to contain over 10,500 chemical ingredients. Many of these ingredients are toxic in nature. Toxins are poisons and when used over long periods of time, can cause serious damage to one’s health. Women use an average of over 5 pounds of lotions and creams annually. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is very porous, allowing over 70% of what is applied to the skin to seep into our bodies and into our bloodstream. Through clinical studies, it has been proven that the very same toxins found in a mother’s blood have been found in the umbilical cord of the fetus. Many of these toxic (poison) ingredients are carcinogenic and can be linked to cancer as well as respiratory problems in infants, birth defects, liver and kidney disease, etc.

Perhaps now it is clear as to why it is so important to know what is being done around the world to monitor what goes into the manufacture of cosmetic products and why it should be so very important for consumers to use only certified organic and/or .

Europe, Asia, and Oceania have taken major steps in controlling the ingredients used in beauty products. In this article the focus will be on Europe, while future articles will tackle how other parts of the world address this issue. Having said that, one might ask what about the US? Unfortunately, with the cosmetic business being such a large (50 billion) and extremely profitable business, the US cosmetic companies employ lobbyists in Washington to prevent changes in the laws regulating the industry. Shocking as it might seem, the Cosmetic Industry is self-regulated. It can determine what it wants to bring to market without any pre-testing by any government or private agencies.

Currently Europe has one Government authority that controls the ingredients of beauty products, the European Union (EU). However, there are private institutions operating in five countries that provide independent laboratory testing to the many cosmetic companies operating throughout Europe. These independent organizations use the authority of the EU to manage the process, but in some cases, go beyond the regulations required by the EU to determine and qualify products as certified organic and/or . These organizations are:

-BDIH operating out of Germany;
-ECOCERT & COSMEBIO from France;
-SOIL ASSOCIATION from the UK;
-ICEA from Italy;
-BIOFORUM from Belgium

These six organizations combined also make up what is known as the COSMOS-standard. The COSMOS-standard has not yet achieved legal status, but that will be delved into later in this article. At this juncture, let’s look at how the EU manages this process.

What is the European Union? What are its aims and results? How does it work? In summary, the answers to these questions are:

-27 democratic countries participate in the EU economically and politically;
-498 million citizens in these 27 countries look to the EU for safe, consumable products, including beauty products;
-It’s results in the beauty category provide for not just safer products, but a greener environment as well;
-It works because each country sets up bodies to adopt and manage the EU’s legislation.

The COSMOS-standard represents the European cosmetic organic standards working group. It is made up of the previously mentioned organizations. It is expected to be legalized by April, 2010 by the pronouncement of the Belgian Royal Decree. Excerpts of the main objectives of the COSMOS- standards and taken directly from their final document dated January, 2010, can be summed up as follows:

“Establishing a ‘sustainable development’ that would reconcile economic progress, social
responsibility and maintain the natural balance of the planet is a project in which the cosmetics
sector is willing to be fully involved… the organic and natural cosmetics sector clearly shows its ambition to go further in setting a new standard for organic and natural cosmetics.”

The following represents a summary of a set of simple rules that will be used to manage the organic and natural beauty industry. The main focus is on prevention and safety in all segments of the manufacturing process, that is, from raw materials to market ready final products.

The rules will focus on human health through:

-Organic agriculture and natural resources always with respect for the environment;
-A manufacturing process that is environmentally clean while, at the same time, utilizing and expanding a more green philosophy that ultimately will create a higher standard for organic and .

The six organizations making up the COSMOS-standard, namely BDIH, ECOCERT & COSMEBIO, SOIL ASSOCIATION, ICEA, and BIOFORUM, each have their own set of standards for certifying organic and/or . It would take a book to delineate each agencies processes. Suffice it to say that Europe has taken a lead position on this subject through the EU and continues to improve its status by moving forward with the COSMOS-standard. One of the results of the EU’s legislation is that they have already banned over 1100 chemical ingredients used in the manufacture of beauty products, while the US has banned a mere 10.

The US, with its lack of leadership in this industry, has left the consumer vulnerable to the poisons we already know cause harm to pregnant mothers, their babies, and to the millions of consumers that have used these toxins for decades. Over time, with many countries around the world coming together to prohibit these toxic ingredients from being used in beauty products, hopefully the US will change current legislation and demand pre-testing of beauty products before they are released to the public. Further, hopefully the US will also permit independent agencies to test products to qualify them to be labeled as certified organic and/or . In the meantime, when shopping for certified products, simply look for the logos of the aforementioned companies out of Europe. In doing so, you will be assured of using safe, non-toxic beauty products.

How Can Healthy Living Choices Prevent Birth Defects?

Every year, costs on birth defect related hospital bills exceed USD 2.6 billion.

Type of birth defects. It can occur as a result of a various factors at any point in the pregnancy. Mostly, they occur due to a combination of environment factors, genetics and individual behaviour.

According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), the most common defect is down syndrome with around 6,000 cases per year. Cleft lip is around 4,500 cases and cases for hole in the heart around 2,000 cases per year.

Coleen Boyle, the director of the National Centre on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, cautions that defects not only affect the patient but also the entire family – both emotionally, physically and financially. Thus it is important to take preventive measures.

Though experts do not know the causes of quite a few birth defects and not all birth defects are preventable, preventive measures can still be undertaken by the mother and her family to reduce the risks of occurrence.

Small steps like going for regular check-ups, taking care of yourself and adding 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid in your diet can go a long way into prevention.
Planning ahead.

The foetus is most vulnerable in the initial stages of the pregnancy that is the first three months. This is the time when the organs of the baby are being formed. Thus, preparing in advance, even before conception, can help improve the baby’s chances.

Based on CDC’s statistics, most pregnancies are unplanned. Hence they suggest that women of childbearing age should in general take care of their health to ensure future health of their babies.

If mothers take the 400 mcg of folic acid, 70% of neural tube defects, 36% spina bifida defects and 17% anencephaly (incomplete formation of the brain, skull and scalp) could be prevented.

Consumption of harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco can cause severe birth defects, premature births, sudden infant death syndrome and miscarriage. Care should be taken to avoid these substances, especially if a couple is trying to get pregnant.

Mothers can also help their unborn children by following a healthy lifestyle which includes following a healthy and balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight. A balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats is recommended. A healthy lifestyle has the potential of halving the occurrence of birth defects.

Another point of prevention could be women ensuring that they have gotten all their vaccination shots to prevent catching infections.

The habit of pill-popping should also be avoided. Especially for pregnant moms, any medication they take should be in consultation with their doctors.

What can men do?

While the onus of child bearing is with the women, men too can be part of this initiative by being aware and reading up some literature. If they know of some existing genetic history, they should actively participate in uncovering as much information as possible. While the women are making healthier life choices, men should too, by making similar lifestyle adjustments.

So this new year, make a resolution to follow a healthy lifestyle – immaterial of whether or not you plan to start a family.

Magic of

Jean Kerr, the American author who has penned several humorous works has said in her famous books, The Snake Has All the Lines, that “I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want – an adorable pancreas?” Humorous enough, but there is something true in her words as well. When you meet someone for the first time or enter a place, nobody really knows or cares about who you are and how good hearted you are. What people notice is how you look and how you carry about yourself. And to make that ‘first and best impression’ you need good looks that you can easily find through .

That time is past when people wanted to look good through those artificially made beauty products that contain a lot of chemicals and toxins that could make you look beautiful for some time but can harm your skin in the long run. With the coming of the World Wide Web and the popularity of the celebrities and models who use organic products, both men and women are realizing the importance and need of made with materials that the Mother Nature has benevolently provided us.

Today we find most of the items that we use in our daily life made with natural products. Soaps, shampoos, face scrubs, conditioners, toners, moisturisers, anti-ageing creams, make-up items like lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, eye shadows, eye liners – there is simply no end to the items that you would find under the category of natural or organic products. They have changed the destiny of several models and movie stars and have therefore become an attraction for people all over the world. The cosmetic industry today makes a huge income today out of these beauty products made of organic materials.

Often people think that since these items are natural they can use it without a second though, which is not actually true. It is important that you consult with a dermatologist before you start using these products. You need to be aware of your skin type, texture and complexion before you buy any of these. Once you get to know the details of the products from a qualified person, you could go ahead and purchase them. Luckily, this is not very difficult as there are so many brands of natural or organic beauty products in the market today and each of them have specially made products for each skin types.

are available today for both men and women and for people of all ages. They are of the finest quality and ensure that your skin would have no harm due to using them. It is in fact never too late to start using them and once you start on them just watch how heads are turned at you and check the added glow on your face in the mirror.

Setting Up a Beauty Salon

Today’s modern world mainly includes an ever busy and stressful lifestyle. As a result, most people who may find some leisure time would spend it in places where they are guaranteed to be able to relax and unwind. This is one of the reasons why a Beauty salon is dubbed to be one of today’s thriving businesses everywhere.

Starting a Beauty Salon business is similar to every kind of business ventures where the owner should first devote sufficient time in studying and researching for possible feasibility of the business, as well as looking for useful materials, tools and human resources that are essential in his or her business plans. If you are planning to invest in a beauty salon business, here are some suggestions that may assist you in doing so.

Researching about the what’s and how’s of a beauty salon will provide an assurance that you can manage the different aspects of running the business. Sufficient financing or funding is the top concern in any business. There are local banks or financial aid institutions who are offering funding solutions and business plans to those who aspire to set up a business. A business plan is like the backbone of the business as it will serve as a guide especially in the administration of a business. It will encompass various aspects such as handling the business single-handed or budgeting your available fund in hiring assistants.

The right location is another critical consideration for the commerce. The establishment should be strategically situated within the busiest of areas. Although this may not a matter of concern to well-known salons with renowned hair stylists as they can place their shops anywhere and clients will still continue their patronage. However, if the business does not yet have an entrenched reputation, it is recommended that you choose a prestigious location that people can easily access from wherever places.

Make the atmosphere of the salon clean, inviting and comfortable, after all no decent client would enter a dirty and unsafe salon. Proper sanitation of the salon’s facilities, products and tools is among the requirements in applying for a business permit. Keep the shop hygienic, frequently wash towels, regularly scrub and sanitize combs, brushes, scissors and other utensils to ensure that you keep your clients away from possible infection.

If possible, offer potential clients with a wide range of services in a single venue. This will give you an edge over other salons providing limited types of services. Most customers prefer going to only one certain salon where they can conveniently have all their hair, nails and face done. This is one way of making your salon a convenient beauty shop. The right product should be bought for use on clients such as shampoos, powders, gels, hair sprays and cosmetics. Invest on beauty salon equipment that are helpful in executing your salon’s offered services such as hair cutting stools, wash basins, beauty trolleys and nail stations.

Should you hire help, make sure that your chosen personnel is highly qualified and trained, as your clients will definitely be dissatisfied with unprofessional and unqualified service.

Lastly, communicate and relate to your clients so that they will not only receive proper beauty treatments, they will also receive friendly accommodation from the staff of the salon. This way, the customer may recommend you to their friends and relatives.