Misleading Labels


Many personal care product brands, from makeup to shampoo, print the words "natural" and "organic" across their products to make them seem safer, but these products may be just as bad for you. With so many different claims like "plant-based" and "free of", how can we know what they actually mean?

Well, the word "natural" doesn't even have any legal basis in the personal care industry. This means that many companies will use it to describe unsafe products. They can use natural ingredients that are very unhealthy and use the word natural to give off the connotation of a healthier product, misleading those with the best intentions! The label "natural" shouldn't be relied on as reading the actual label is much safer. For example, companies can use clays full of toxic metals instead of a safer synthetic ingredient, but the word natural makes it seem okay. And, even with the label "natural", recent studies found undisclosed carcinogenic petrochemical ingredients in a large percentage of "natural" products. Even products that claimed to be "100% natural" still had synthetic ingredients in them.

Although Organic products are much safer than their chemical-filled counterparts, labeling can be deceiving. Organic products usually have the USDA organic seal meaning they are legitimately organic. However, in personal care products, companies don't have to use this seal and can make false claims about products. They can write "Organic" and "Organic Ingredients" without the personal care product being truly organic. So, to avoid this, always look for the green USDA Organic seal instead of the claims simply written across the product.

Overall, the best way to make safe decisions about the products you use is by reading the label on the back instead of the loose claims stamped on the front of our products. Try to avoid ingredients such as fragrance (a code word for 3,100 chemicals!), parabens, sulfates, and triclosan. Although this seems like a difficult task, there are resources such as EWG's Skin Deep Database to look up your products and see how safe they really are.

By: Sara Frawley

melanie gabrell