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How The Organic Salon.com Review Products

Evaluating products is an important part of what we do, its part of our ethos to make sure that what we offer you is top quality. We hope that by explaining how we do this will help you make informed choices.

  • How pure is the product? What is the percentage of plant and/or essential oil is in the product. By dividing the ingredients lists into thirds: the top third usually contains 90-95% of the product, the middle third about 5-8% and the bottom third, 1-3%. The ingredients on a label are listed in quantity order, first ingredient being the largest. Are the ingredients from a natural source or are they synthetic.

    What methods have been used to extract ingredients i.e. refined oil is a poorer quality than unrefined cold pressed oil in its natural state. Has the product been watered down? If the product is saying it’s natural, is it totally? It is possible to call something natural if only 1 or 2 ingredients are natural, watch out for this! If a product is not totally natural we won’t retail it.
  • We look at the company’s background, and their ethos, are they working ethically with there workforce and the environment, using nothing from an endangered source. Using an organic ingredient means the land has been cared for. Are they using organic where possible? We say where possible because some ingredients can only be natural if they are not so widely available yet to be farmed organically.
  • Are there any synthetic or toxic ingredients present? Any ingredients that are totally synthetic or toxic we totally avoid. We are looking for ingredients to come from either a plant or mineral source and to be organic where possible. It is ideal that these ingredients have been untreated, had minimal processing and if they have been processed then only with other natural ingredients.

    There are those ingredients that are from a natural source but that have been treated with a synthetic ingredient to get a final ingredient. They will have a chemical name and on the label these ingredients will read ‘derived from’, followed by the natural source. Also known as semi-synthetic ingredients. Products that we retail that contain a semi-synthetic ingredient have been looked at on an individual basis.

    This is a bit of a grey area as it is believed that once an ingredient has been treated to create that chemical, it is that no matter where it is derived from. These ingredients are highlighted throughout the site as we are retailing some products that contain some of these ingredients if they have been shown not to be harmful. We believe that a product does need to perform its function but not at the sacrifice of your health. However some people are still affected by these ingredients. You will probably know if this is you as you will have a history of reactions. We hope that by highlighting these ingredients where they occur will help you.

    Preservatives are necessary as they stop bacteria forming which you certainly don’t want to put on your skin. What we are looking for are natural preservatives that are safe but effective like certain plant or essential oils or plant alcohol so long as there is no more than 15%. Some preservatives can fall into the semi-synthetic category being ‘derived from’ a natural source again these are looked at on an individual basis as above. There are also ways of packaging to keep the product fresh, and lower the risk of contamination. For example bottles with caps and sealed pumps.

    Animal Testing for cosmetics and their ingredients has been heavily cut back in the last two decades, and the UK has banned such tests out-right. However, testing does continue and the ban makes little difference since most of what’s on sale in the UK is imported from, or contains ingredients imported from abroad. According to animal rights campaigners around 40,000 animals in Europe and millions globally are subjected to tests each year for products ranging from hair dyes to toothpaste’s. After persistent public and campaigner pressure, an EU-wide ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics was finally agreed in 2003, however it’s not due to become effective until 2009.

    According to survey after survey, nearly all consumers feel strongly that animal testing for cosmetics should be stopped. But the same people continue to give their support to companies that aren’t on the animal-testing clean list. According to animal rights groups, this is partly because many statements on the sides of bottles and tubes are misleading. ‘Against animal testing’, for example means basically nothing at all. Others such as ‘we have not carried out animal testing since 1990’, could mean that the manufacturers simply commissioned the animal testing from other companies.

    For the strictest standards, look out for the white rabbit logo of the Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS), a scheme supported by many animal rights groups and administered in the UK by BUAV (the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection). To use the HCS logo the company must exclude all ingredients tested on animals after a fixed cut-off point (usually a year in the 1980’s or 90’s) and prove this via independent audits. You can find a list of approved companies in The Rough Guide to Ethical Shopping or for an up-to-the-minute list visit:


A quick reference list of what you won’t find included in products we retail:

  • No animal testing
  • No synthetic fragrances or dyes
  • No genetically modified ingredients
  • No animal ingredients (apart from beeswax, milk, honey, propolis and royal jelly as we consider it not to be harmful to the animal)
  • No petrochemicals (petroleum, paraffin propylene, mineral oil)
  • No phthalates (read our glossary definition on this one!)
  • No synthetic preservatives
  • No parabens
  • No Sodium Lauryl Sulphates

You may find our article "Label Search – 10 things to avoid" useful, or there’s our glossary, which lists definitions for over 140 different ingredients.

  • Are the manufacturers products certified and by who? Certification is a little bit of a grey area at the moment in Europe as there is no legal requirement to certify products. We look for certifying bodies that are recognised and who follow strict guidelines. Guidelines between bodies do differ slightly and although certification is useful and is becoming essential to set a standard, we don’t just follow that. We make up our own minds following our instinct, the information we gather on the company, their products and methods and our knowledge and experience of looking closely at this subject, which we have built up over the past few years.
  • How effective are the products? Does the product do what it says it will do? i.e. if after applying a moisturiser for dry skin makes you feel like you need to put more on after a hour or so then it’s not doing its job. We hand out samples to individuals to try out and get then to review honestly what they think of the product. Were there any visual differences? How did it smell? Was the product value for money? We also want independent views, which is where you the customer come in. You will see Customer Reviews on several products throughout the site. We’d like to know what you think, good, bad or indifferent so long as its constructive we will put it on the site.

    Click here to send us your comment on a product you have purchased from us.
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