But how has the market for this common perfumery and toilet product evolved?
If we go back to the historical period from the 50s to today we can evaluate how the functional and productive characteristics of a cosmetic have changed radically.
If in the postwar years the presence and distribution of the cosmetic product was decisive, already in the 60s and 70s with the economic boom the choice of the consumer shifted towards a conscious choice dictated by the need for the “Good” and the “Quality product “.
In the 70s and 80s, instead, the need for “beauty” came forward and instead, during the last decades of the millennium, the concept of “healthy and safe” and “ethical” made its way up to the present day with the increase in consumers who prefer the “organic and sustainable” product.
It is not easy to disentangle in the forest of organic products, but what does a careful consumer have to do in order not to dazzle and make an informed choice?
Remember that the products defined as “organic” must have a certification, which I repeat is not necessary for the marketing of the same, but it is a plus that some companies choose for their products. Here then is an endless series of brands and logos of numerous certification bodies that everyone in their own way guarantees the organic of the product.
There is no single and recognized disciplinary, but there are several associations that try to impose on the producer who wants the BIO label a very precise formulation. Here are some of the most important and quoted names with their logos that you can find on the packaging of your organic shampoos (and other products):
They differ in the geographical area in which they operate but the criteria of eco-sustainability are common.
But how do you “evaluate” the biological aspect of a shampoo?
IS THE ORGANIC BRAND SYNONYMOUS WITH QUALITY IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS?
Given that even the biological shampoo must maintain its function of cleansing the scalp, there are some formulation aspects to take into consideration. Several raw materials have a very low biological index due to their poor biodegradability or higher bioaccumulation index.
Surely a shampoo that boasts a biological claim will not contain silicones or silicone derivatives, cationic substances identifiable with the name INCI Quaternium or Polyquaternium (very harmful for aquatic organisms) or even substances of petroleum derivation, such as Carbopol.
An important datum is the Critical Dilution Volume, that is the value that represents the minimum quantity of water necessary to render a certain quantity of chemical substance harmless for aquatic organisms. It is not a value shown on the label but can be requested from the manufacturer if you want to be sure of using an eco-friendly product.
The lower the value for each individual substance the greater the biodegradability of the product and the lower its environmental impact.
But the focus does not stop only on the environmental aspect, because the organic cosmetic also takes into consideration aspects such as the delicacy of the skin and the safety of people, precisely that part of the population (nowadays, alas increasing) that suffers from allergy disorders related to myriad of chemicals contained in a single detergent product.
In other words, finding your way around is not easy and, waiting for a European standard, I recommend you always check the certification mark on each product declared organic.