The cosmetic industry continues to grow each year with sales, as of 2010, at over $7 billion annually. The sales from natural and organic beauty products includes more than $318 million and continues to increase by more than 67 percent each year. Cosmetics include makeup, hair care products, lotions, creams, and fragrance products.
In 2004, the European Union banned over 600 chemicals found in cosmetics, due to health and environmental concerns. Since then, other countries have followed suit by imposing legislation to monitor the manufacture of cosmetic products. As a result, the production of natural and organic cosmetic products has quadrupled over the last decade and continues to grow rapidly, as consumers turn to natural products to meet their needs.
Since the term "natural" is not regulated by the FDA, organic beauty supply vendors set their own standards in order to remain environmentally friendly and to satisfy consumer expectation of safer products. Use of the term "natural" on product lists often refers to products that are plant-based with ingredients derived naturally from organic-derived products. Parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals and synthetic dyes and fragrances are usually eliminated from natural and organic beauty products. Organic additionally refers to ingredients grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides.
Natural cosmetics including shampoos, lotions and creams, often use vegetable glycerin as a base to provide moisture and to stabilize other ingredients found in organic products. Vegetable glycerin is derived from plant oils and has been approved by the FDA for use as a food additive. Other ingredients commonly found in natural and organic beauty supplies include soy products and bees wax.
As a direct response to consumer demand, organic beauty supply vendors now proliferate the online market along with traditional retail establishments. Prices, once prohibitive for many consumers, are now comparable to traditional cosmetic products.