One of the main problems you will face when shopping for natural beauty and skin care products is determining which products are truly natural. There are literally thousands of products on the market these days claiming to be “natural.” But just because a product has the word “natural” on the label doesn’t necessarily mean its ingredients are 100% natural and free from synthetics.
It can be quite a challenge to figure out the real composition of the product, even if you are fairly well versed in reading product label jargon.
Unless you are familiar with the scientific names of every single ingredient, it can be quite tricky to figure out which ingredients are synthetic and which are natural. Some manufacturers use different names for the same or similar ingredients. And when it comes to natural ingredients, some use the common name, while others use the scientific names for plant extracts, so you might not even recognize a natural ingredient when you see it. (Helpful Tip: Look for the words “extract” or “oil” following the long scientific name – these will be natural plant extracts.)
Some manufacturers (Burt’s Bees, for example) may list the percentage of natural ingredients right on the label, which makes it a lot easier to judge. But most don’t, and even those that do don’t necessarily include this information on all of their products.
Even more confusing is the fact that some manufacturers change formulations rather frequently. So even if you find a company that does make truly all-, they may unexpectedly change their ingredient list and include synthetic ingredients where once there were none. This can be both confusing and frustrating for consumers, as you may find your favorite all-natural product line suddenly contains chemicals you don’t want on your skin.
So what is a health-conscious shopper to do?
There are a number of databases where you can find information on both man-made chemicals and plant extracts., If you are prepared to put in some time, you can find these online or at your local library. It can be a time-consuming process, at first, to look up every single ingredient you run across that you don’t recognize, but as you become familiar with the terminology, you will start to recognize certain prefixes and words that occur as components of other chemical names. Then when you see a variation of these you will at least know whether they are synthetic or natural.
You can also find databases on cosmetic safety, and natural product rating websites are becoming easier to find these days as natural beauty and person care products become more popular and mainstream.
With a little research and a keen eye, you can begin to differentiate for yourself which products are truly natural, and which ones are deceptively using the “natural” label, while still including potentially harmful synthetic chemicals in their formulations.
Copyright Notice: This article is copyrighted by Rose Hillbrand, September 2011. Article may be shared or republished as long as resource box below is included in its entirety.