Natural, What’s That?? / Introducing… Label Poise

Nature’s Pulchritude is dedicated to encouraging people to use products that are natural or contain naturally derived chemicals. So what does natural mean exactly? To most people, when they think natural they think nature, therefore, a product that contains ingredients that come from nature as opposed to synthetic chemicals. In the world of cosmetics, personal care products, consumer goods and food, natural is an ambiguous, up-to-individual interpretation term that is not regulated by the FDA or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

My definition of a natural product is a product that doesn’t contain chemicals (synthetic or natural because technically everything is a chemical) that are known or suspected to be carcinogenic, ecotoxins, or endocrine disruptors; petrochemicals (mineral oil, parrafin wax, etc.), silicones, parabens, phtalates, or synthetic dyes and some fragrances.  I am more strict about hair and skin products than nail polish and makeup.  Another important factor that goes into my decision making process is efficacy–does this product work?  There is no sense in buying a product because it is natural/organic if doesn’t work (well enough).  Many of these ingredients have multiple pseudonyms or ‘code names’ so you really have to read product labels thoroughly (look for posts covering this in the near future). Organic is far less complex, I typically look for the USDA Organic symbol, or a similar certification from Canada or the European Union.

Marketing

In my last post, I told you that there is more or less no regulation for cosmetics or personal care products, therefore companies can call their products ‘natural(s)’ or ‘organic(s)’ without truly being so, or having an organic certification. Marketing is a very powerful tool that is designed to entice you, the consumer, to buy! Companies are well aware of the fact that consumers are becoming more aware about the chemicals present in their products, so they add clever names (either the company name or product name) to draw your attention because they know that you aren’t as aware as you think. Whether or not this deception is intentional is subjective, and instead of criticizing a company who does this, I will instead showcase a company that listened to its customers.

Introducing… Label Poise: A Great Example

These two bottles are for the same product.  Notice anything?

Yes, that’s it, the word ‘Organics.’

Notice anything else about the bottles that might be of importance (hint: any symbols)?

Hey, Where’s the USDA symbol? There isn’t one.

While the product may very well have some organic ingredients, it is not certified organic by the USDA or any other reputable body. Aubrey customers complained and Aubrey removed the ‘Organics’ name from products that are not certified organic. How is that for customer service.

This is the first of many posts titled ‘Label Poise.‘ It is my way of teaching you how to read product labels with poise and confidence.

Feel free to comment, provide feedback, and let me know what issues you have when reading product labels.  Thank you for reading!

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