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Avalon Organics goes organic

Reviewed by SarahK November 30, 2011 6 Comments
Cosmetic companies lie all the time; it’s simply part of the business of making money. Part of Truth In Aging’s mission is to change the world one eye cream at a time – and that includes convincing cosmetics companies that the consumer comes first. So while we’ve criticized Avalon Organics in the past for portraying a very natural image and selling fairly unnatural products (green washing, anyone?), it’s always exciting to see companies like this one change their ways, proving that putting the consumer first and making money doesn’t have to be an either-or decision.

Earlier this month, Avalon, which is part of The Hain Celestial Group, announced its transition to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients. The standard defines labeling and marketing requirements for cosmetics, oral care products, personal hygiene products and related personal care products that contain organic ingredients. Essentially, this voluntary standard doesn’t allow for companies that wish to receive the NSF label to get away with dishonest practices, such as marking product containers with “contains organic ingredients” when, in reality, only a small percentage of the ingredients are truly organic.

Products with the NSF seal of approval comply with several requirements, including limiting chemical inclusions and stating the exact percentage of organic content. To actually sport the NSF label, a product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, in addition to meeting all the other NSF requirements. In the United States, the NSF comes second only to the USDA in terms of stringency of regulations; companies that are approved by NSF should certainly be commended for their honest labeling and relatively safe ingredients. And the USDA does not technically have specific standards for personal care products, so the NSF is filling a needed void.

The fact that all Avalon products now contain at least 70 % organic content, and that all of the company’s ingredients are approved by NSF is a drastic but lovely change from the direction Avalon was headed in over the past few years. In 2008, Marta wrote a post about Avalon being sued for including a carcinogen (1,4 dioxane) in its products and not disclosing the information. And nearly two years ago, Copley followed up on the Organic Consumers Association’s complaint to the USDA against The Hain Celestial Group, among others, for falsely promoting beauty products as “organic.”

In a press release announcing Avalon’s transition to the NSF Standard earlier this month, it was also announced that Avalon had “been working to meet this standard for several years.” I’m guessing that legal action and plain old bad publicity had something to do with Avalon changing its ways. While it would be nice for companies to do the right thing without any prodding, it’s exciting to know that we as consumers have a voice, and that we do make a difference.

After all, a woman named Rosminah Brown walked into Whole Foods one day in 2009, purchased some nice, organic Hain Celestial products, only to find that she had been duped into buying things with mostly inorganic ingredients. The Jason product she bought, which was labeled “Pure, Natural & Organic” only contained one, single organic ingredient. The company itself admitted that aloe was the only organic ingredient, and that it wasn’t even a prominent one. The Brown et al v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. suit also cited Baby Avalon Organics Silky Cornstarch Baby Powder as a misleading offender (marketed as organic, but containing only two organic ingredients).

Clearly, consumers do have a say in what goes into our personal care products. It is unclear what will happen to the class action lawsuit now that Avalon has gone organic (for real, this time), but it looks like The Hain Celestial Group is in good company. The Center for Environmental Health found, in purchasing products from various drug and grocery stores in California’s Bay Area, that 26 companies (including Hain Celestial) falsely advertise personal care products as being organic.

What are your thoughts on Avalon’s transition – did you use the company’s products before? If not, will you now?
  • October 1, 2016

    by valerie

    Looking to buy a organic shampoo without nasty chemicals. I purchased Avalon organic shampoo from my usual shop where I buy my vitamins.
    On reading the ingreidience I was very disappointed to see it contained a nasty preservative.
    I am looking now for a better organic shampoo.

  • February 12, 2013

    by Luke

    Sorry to tell you this but AVALON ORGANICS CONTIANS MANY HARSH CHEMICALS AND HAS NOT CHANGED FOR THE BETTER! Look at their ingreidnts and type it into cosmeticdatabase.com also known as skindeep (MAKE SURE YOU VERIFY INGREDIENTS LISTED IN PRODUCT DESCRIPTION MATCH WHAT IS ON COMPANY WEBSITE) I made a video on this if interested type in avalon organics expired products on youtube if interested.

  • December 1, 2011

    by Susan M

    i haven't used Avalon in the past, but to support its reformation, I will try one product, at the least. Truly. Kudos to Avalon. :)

  • November 30, 2011

    by imelda

    I'm so glad for this news about Avalon, Marta! It juggled my memory on a review I had intended to write about their Essential Lift Contouring Eye Creme which I have been using for the past several months. I can say that I am quite satisfied with its efficacy in hydration and smoothing of fine line around the outer corner and under eye areas as well as the seemingly lifted, refreshed feel and well rested look of my eyes within just a week of use. The signature ingredient statement that "over 70 ocean derived micro minerals draw up moisture trapped beneath the skin's surface to plump and firm dehydrated skin cells and boost skin radiance" may well be true. The sea silt extract appears first in the list of ingredients that includes organics that are certified: jojoba seed oil (for moisturizing and softening skin), organic oat kernel extract (for skin tightening effect and feel), and rosemary essential oil (for revitalizing skin) among other nourishing plant oils and extracts. I should also add that the pump should be pressed gently and slowly to avoid spurting unnecessary amount onto your fingertip used to apply it with. This I learned after wasting what I felt could have been 2 applications worth of creme. The creme is light, goes on smoothly and absorbs fast enough if you're in a rush to apply make up. With its amazingly low price (got it for $20 at discount when Henry's Market first introduced the product line) of $25 for the benefits your eyes are treated to, one may overlook the other ingredients like linalool (listed last so may be very small concentration) that purists may balk at. I have not tried their moisturizer and would love to give it a go. Other avalon Organics products I have used in the past and have been happy with were their shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, and liquid soap.

  • November 30, 2011

    by Marcy

    Avalon is, by far, my favorite skincare brand! The NSF only strengthens my opinion of them. I'm actually giving their products as holiday gifts this year!

  • November 30, 2011

    by Carole Ann

    Bravo to the change. I frequently consult the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics datebase before purchasing products now. I applaud Avalons efforts to make safe beauty products and will definately give them a try

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