When Choosing Organic Matters the Most

Cherries With the growing availability of organic ingredients and ready-made products, it can be difficult to determine when to select organic and when to choose conventional (non-organic) items.  While many of us would love to purchase entirely organic foods, personal care products and handmade skin care ingredients, it can quickly become cost prohibitive.  For those of us on a budget, we have to learn to select our organics carefully, basing our decisions on cost and necessity. 

From an environmental standpoint, buying organic whenever possible helps to contribute to farming practices that benefit us all now and into the future.  At the grocery store, compare prices between conventional and organics, and always select organic ingredients and products when they are priced similarly to their conventional counterparts.  You may be surprised to find that many organic ingredients are surprisingly affordable.  This same shopping method can be used when creating skin care products for yourself and your family.  If you are creating handmade skin care products for a business, however, it is usually necessary to keep your ingredients as consistent as possible. Switching between conventional and organic ingredients isn't always possible for product formulation consistency.

If you are incorporating organic products into your diet, personal care, or handmade products for their nutritive and health benefits, there is another approach that can help you best determine when to select organics over conventional items. Because conventional ingredients can contain pesticides, begin by considering which ingredients are likely to carry the heaviest load of pesticides.  The Environmental Working Group has published a handy list of produce items that generally carry the highest percentages of pesticides, as well as a list of items that generally carry the least amount of pesticide residue.  This guide is referred to as The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen.  Click here to visit the EWG website and download a PDF or iPhone application of the guide.  Not only can it be used to aid in your grocery choices, it can be kept in mind when selecting between organic and conventional skin care ingredients. 

When choosing organic ingredients for use in skin care products, keep this additional important tip in mind:

 While most botanicals are harvested from the seeds, nuts, roots, or leaves of a plant, certain ingredients are apressed from the botanical's skin or peel.  In these situations, the conventional version of the rind may have been exposed to a significantly higher quantity of pesticide than the fruit or generally edible part of the same botanical. This is a common occurance for citrus essential oils like orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit.  Nearly all citrus essential oils are pressed from the peels of the fruits.  While oranges didn't make the EWG's Dirty Dozen List, conventional Orange Essential Oil is likely to contain a high quantity of pesticides because citrus peels are often sprayed with pesticides during farming.  Despite the higher cost, it can be important to choose organic citrus essential oils for use in products and formulations that will be applied directly to the skin or for room fragrancing/personal fragrancing applications in which a noteworthy content of the oil may be inhaled. 

I hope this information will make shopping for organic products much easier.  From Nature With Love is pleased to provide crafters and formulators with as many organic options as possible by carrying an ever-growing line of USDA Certified Organic Ingredients

Share your ideas, knowledge and experiences! How do you decide when to purchase organic versus conventional ingredients and products?  Please post your comments below:

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