Navigating Through the Deceiving World of Natural Beauty Products
Organic, Natural, Chemical Free, Alcohol Free, Cruelty Free, and Hypoallergenic These are just some of the confusing claims that make our heads spin while trying to inject some truth into our journey towards Clean Beauty. For us, for our families, for our wallets-knowing what to spend money on, and calling b.s on could change your life for...for now at least, until laws are updated and more comparable to that of other European Countries for example. Which part of of it is merely a marketing technique?
You might not like what I'm about to share with you, but you should hear it. You are reading this because you care about the quality of cosmetics and personal care items you put on your biggest organ, your skin. Companies are well aware of the Green trend and while there are many fabulous products out there with clean, non-irritating ingredients, a whopping 98% of eco friendly marketing claims are misleading, inaccurate and inappropriate.
WHAT DOES ORGANIC REALLY MEAN?
The National Organic Program (NOP) regulates the USDA Organic term, as it applies to agricultural products.The FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic”. In a nutshell, this is how Organic Certification works: The FDA only cares about whether a product is safe or not, they have nothing to do with Certification.(Safe is used loosely here. Irritants, hormone disruptors, carcinogens, for example, could technically be called safe). If a cosmetic, body care product, or personal care product contains or is made up of agricultural ingredients, and can meet the USDA/NOP organic production, handling, processing and labeling standards-it can be called USDA Organic The operations which produce the organic agricultural ingredients, the handlers of these agricultural ingredients, and the manufacturer of the final product must all be certified by a USDA- accredited organic certifying agent.
HOW ORGANIC IS IT?
NO, IT'S NOT AN EPISODE OF PORTLANDIA “100% Organic” means all ingredients are organic (USDA logo)“Organic” Means 95% of the ingredients are organic (USDA logo) “Made with Organic” 70%-94% of the product is organic (USDA logo can’t be used)Ingredient Panel Only: less then 70% Organic Ingredients, must specify on Ingredient panel (USDA logo can’t be used)
ORGANIC CERTIFICATION IS ABOUT...
WHAT YOU DON'T GET
NO chemical fertilizers
NO genetically modified seedNO preservatives
NO synthetic wax coating
Natural indicates an ingredient's source. The FDA has not defined the term "natural", the only thing the FDA cares about with the labels "organic" and "natural" is that the product is safe. However, the following typically applies to NATURAL Ingredients: Natural ingredients are derived directly from natural sources - using minimal processing and maintaining the natural molecular bonds found in nature. Natural ingredients are only 12 steps removed from their natural source.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Many raw materials, used in cosmetics, were tested on animals years ago when they were first introduced. Raw materials that are currently not tested on animals, marketers claim as “cruelty free”
Using the term "Hypoallergenic" does not require FDA approval, it basically means what the manufacturer wants it to mean.
According to dermatologists, this label has little meaning, but may have considerable market value, so next time you read it, consider the product's cost and whether hypoallergenic is the manufacturer's main marketing tool.
The term "alcohol," used by itself, refers to ethyl alcohol (grain alcohol). Cosmetic products, including those labeled "alcohol free," may contain other alcohols, such as cetyl, stearyl, cetearyl, or lanolin alcohol. Check the ingredient panel, generally speaking, alcohol isn't your friend. These are known as fatty alcohols, and their effects on the skin are quite different from those of ethyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols are not as irritating to the skin, but in high doses it can produce toxicity and liver damage.
ALL TALK, NO... PROMISING TOO MUCH, DELIVERING...?
Being aware of these 3 types of claims can help you navigate your future beauty purchase decisions. When you stumble upon the below, look a little closer, odds are, you'll find other questionable things. 1. No Proof- claiming environmentally friendly practices- like recycled materials- without easily accessible substantiated proof. 2. Vagueness- poorly defined and vague terms like “All natural” which are likely to be misunderstood by the consumer. Arsenic, formaldehyde and mercury are naturally occurring, yet poisonous. Check the Ingredient Panel for Certified Organic Ingredients. 3. Irrelevance- Irrelevant claims that are unhelpful and unimportant, like CFC (carbon, fluorine, Chlorine) free. CFC’s are banned by law and this claim is practically useless.