Weeds challenges one-sided view of organic beauty sector

Abi Weeds, co-founder of organic beauty brand Essential Care, has written to the current affairs magazine Prospect to challenge a “one-sided view” of the organic personal care sector contained in a recent article.

The article, by Anna Shepard (Prospect, December 2009), dismisses claims made by the organic beauty industry that its products are fundamentally safer than conventional cosmetics. Shepard describes as “absurd” the assertion that ‘what you put on your skin penetrates your body in the same way as food’. Modern cosmetics, she says, are “formulated with precision to remain on the top of the skin”.

Shepard argues that the success of the organic and natural beauty sector has been due to the “fear” it has created among consumers, particularly parents “who lose sight of science in the face of anxiety over their children.”

Weeds took issue with the clear bias of the Prospect article, writing: “Anna Shepard presents a one-sided view of organic beauty products. Substances applied to the skin can be absorbed and metabolised by the human body — as evidenced by the efficacy of hormone and nicotine patches. And while it’s true that evidence is not conclusive on the danger of paraben preservatives in cosmetics, sufficient research suggests that it may be a wise precaution to avoid them…the case for organic beauty products is a compelling one.”