Okay, this can be a tricky one. Labels like ‘not tested on animals’ are pretty much standard on personal care products these days. And just about every soap and shampoo is marketed with images of forests and mountain streams. The rules governing the right to use the word ‘organic’ on a label differs from country to country and product to product.
And yet these are products where we often have very little idea of what long-term effect they are having on us. There is research that suggests that certain chemicals used in soaps can make us ill over a long period of time and a reasonable rule of thumb seems to be that the more synthetic a product, the more likely that is to be the case. Get around this by buying most of your toiletries from specialist chains that include environmental care as a central tenet of their business. These firms are pretty carefully monitored by the market, keeping them honest. They also often provide recycling bins for their bottles and because they are a bit more expensive, you tend to be a lot more frugal with how much cream or whatever you use, saving you money in the long run and making you feel a little pampered every time you use your moisturiser. A bit metrosexual? Probably. Greener? Definitely.