BY VEERA LAITINEN
Manager Sustainability & Communication
Organic skincare. A mysterious, tangled realm where navigating through labels and claims feels like a confusing quest of its own. You are bombarded with information, and searching for the right products for your skin may feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Is it meant to be this hard?
It’s no secret that misleading advertising and – let’s call it for what it really is – greenwashing run rampant in this world. Products claimed to be environmentally friendly often hide behind fancy marketing jargon. And it’s not just about the ingredients and materials – behind the visible and obvious, there is a whole crowd of factors that make or break the product’s green promises.
But because the market for organic and natural skincare has boomed, help has entered the arena. Certificates and various labels have surfaced to make things easier. These certificates hold a special role. They have emerged to identify and highlight the trustworthy products and brands. Their aim is to offer clarity, to signal trustworthiness. They have truly helped to make the industry easier to understand. And we could all use a guide in the dark, right?
However, despite being 100% organic, we are not certified. Why is that?
When aie was born, we quickly kicked off the process for a certification. However, soon we were met by a challenge, and we had to make the choice between obedience and doing what we felt is the right thing to do.
Our great obstacle was one of our key ingredients, Immortelle (Helichrysum italicum).
We source our Immortelle from a small, top-quality farm in Croatia, and we are proud to call them one of our partners and suppliers. We wanted to support a small farm in aie’s birthplace instead of mass-producers. However, certification providers have a set list of approved suppliers and producers. Unfortunately, no Croatian farms supplying Immortelle were on that list. These certificates operate with a subscription-like fee system, and however great the system is, it is not achievable for everyone.
But let’s first get the facts straight. What does ‘organic’ even mean?
Here comes the boring (but crucial!) part: organic ingredients, as outlined by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), consist of natural substances from controlled organic farms. However, the idea of ‘organic’ is a shapeshifter, always changing.
But there are also organic ingredients that should be nowhere near the finished product, like silicones and dyes. See how things are not as straight-forwards as you might have thought (at least we did when we first started!)? Simply searching for the word ‘organic’ is not enough.
Aie was born from a dare to challenge the status quo.
We don’t need certificates – we have integrity. We prefer to support organic farms directly. We know the world of ‘organic’ is complex, and that is why we conduct our own research. We check each of our suppliers individually, we meticulously dig deep into each one’s origins, we adapt and adjust. Call us the aspiring Sherlock Holmes of plants and skincare if you wish. We track the origin of each of our ingredients, and if the trail goes cold, that ingredient is out. We are not perfect, but we make sure we are constantly learning.
But don’t get us wrong, we do appreciate the ease that certificates bring. They help us examine our suppliers. Whenever we can – without compromising our values and quality – we pick ingredients certified organic. Additionally, more and more certificates arise as the industry expands. It’s vital to keep one’s eyes open in case a better match emerges.
However, even without a certificate, we refuse to compromise on our values. We are transparent about our ingredients and sources. If you are still not sure, all you have to do is ask.
We may not be certified, but we have honesty and action fused in every bottle.