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Chemical Concerns Drive Natural, Organic Cosmetic Sales

CosmeticsNinety percent of buyers of natural and organic personal care products in the UK are going out of their way to avoid products that contain synthetic chemicals, according to a Consumer Insights report by Organic Monitor.

When asked to name specific chemicals they look to avoid, almost two-thirds of buyers said parabens.

Since 2007, awareness of synthetic chemicals in personal care products has increased significantly, as this year’s survey showed 19 percent of buyers wished to avoid phthalates and lanolin, compared to just 3 percent in 2007.

The report also reveals that certification has become more important to consumers. Forty-three percent of buyers said they look for symbols and logos on personal care products, up from 33 percent in 2007. The Soil Association logo is the most associated with certified products, with almost 30 percent of buyers looking for the logo on products.

In addition, 21 percent of buyers said they look for the Fairtrade symbol. The Fairtrade symbol represents the presence of certified Fairtrade ingredients, but does not represent certified finished products.

All consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay extra for certified products. The majority, 72 percent, stated they would pay up to 20 percent more for certified products. However, just 12 percent of buyers said they would be willing to pay a premium above 30 percent.

Although the number of brands has increased in the UK, established brands comprise most sales in every product category. Weleda, Dr. Hauschka and Jason Natural are some of the leading brands.

Concerns about the contents of cosmetics are not confined to the UK. Earlier this year a searchable website was launched in the US that shows which cosmetic products have been reported to contain toxic chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm.

In April Avon announced plans to phase out the antibacterial chemical triclosan from its cosmetic and personal care products, as the chemical is a suspected endocrine disruptor.

Photo Credit: Cosmetics via Shutterstock

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