8 Beauty Brands You Would Think Are Natural … But Aren’t

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Posted April 2, 2012

 

Nothing makes me crankier than seeing big companies trying to pull a fast one on us by luring us in with their claims of being all “natural” and “organic”. We aren’t silly, but we are busy and many of us will fall for these claims if they are presented convincingly enough. When I first started making the switch to all natural products, I got caught out quite a few times thinking I was doing the right thing when in reality I was still pouring harmful chemicals into my body. You too? Here is a list of just some of the brands who are guilty of green washing (aka lying to us).

I chose one product out of the range, removed the marketing fluff, and deciphered just how much crap is in the product.

 

1. Aveda

Looking at: Shampoo

The claim: “The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essence”

The harmful ingredients: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Quaternium 80, PEG 7 Dimethicone C8-C18 Ester, Babassuamidopropyl Betaine, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycol Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Polyglyceryl 10 Oleate, Polyquaternium 7, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone.

 

2. Jurlique

The claim: “Our mission is to provide the purest, most effective skin care through nature, science and innovation.”

Looking at: Cleanser

The harmful ingredients: Decyl Polyglucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Lactic Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Alcohol.

 

3. Nivea Pure & Natural

The claim: “Do you wish you treat your lips with pure & natural ingredients? … NIVEA pure & natural is inspired by nature …”

Looking at: Lip balm

The harmful ingredients: Cera Microcristallina, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetyl Palmitate, Polyisobutene, Pentaerythritl, Tetroisostearate, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Myristyl Myristate, C20-40 Alkyl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bis-diglyceryl, Polyacylapidate-2, Tocopheryl Acetate, Maltodextrin, Neohesperidin, Dihydrochalcone, BHT, Benzyl Salicylate, Parfum, CI 77492.

 

4. Aveeno Active Naturals

The claim: Active Naturals are ingredients derived from nature and uniquely formulated by Aveeno to deliver real skin results.

Looking at: Daily scrub

The harmful ingredients: Sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene, lauryl glucoside, PEG-16 soy sterol, carbomer, phenoxyethanol, glycol distearate, cocamidopropyl betaine, methylparaben, butylene glycol, fragrance, laureth-4, sodium hydroxide, tetrasodium EDTA.

 

5. Bio Oil

The claim: No blatant health claims in their marketing – this is just one that I know many people think is all natural. I used to!

The harmful ingredients: Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Triisononanoin, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Myristate, BHT, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Colour Orange: CI 26100 (Red 17) Pink: CI 26100 (Red 17) and CI 60725 (Violet 2).

 

6. Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment

The claim: “Treatment from nature”

I don’t know one person that wasn’t duped by Lucas’ Paw Paw ointment. I used it constantly until not so long ago when I discovered that it is actually petroleum based and barely any better than Vaseline. Most people think it is just fermented fruit, but here is the full ingredients list:

Fermented Fresh PawPaw Fruit, Rhus Succedanea Wax, Glycerine, Petrolatum, Canola Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Beeswax, Corn Starch, Potassium Sorbate (0.1 mg/g).

 

7. MoroccanOil

The claim: “Our antioxidant infused, nutrient rich, innovative formulas are unmatched and provide dramatic results.”

The harmful ingredients: cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, cyclomethicone, butylphenyl methylpropional, fragrance supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, coumarin, benzyl benzoate and alpha-isomethyl ionone.

 

8. Natures Organics

The claim: “97% naturally derived.

Looking at: Skin cleanser

The harmful ingredients: TEA-Stearate, Stearic acid, Cetearyl alcohol, Glyceryl stearate, Decyl oleate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium lauroamphoacetate, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Sodium benzoate.

 

Find out what any of these ingredients are with the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

 

And some other special mentions …

I swung by the local Woolies the other day to scope out what kind of lies their shelves were telling us beauty buyers. In addition to some on the above list, I also found TRESemme Naturals, Garnier, Vaseline, Covergirl and many others all trying to entice us with their green packaging and claims of being “natural”.

 

Want a solution?

All of this green washing sure can be depressing. Who the heck can we trust these days? Luckily there are heaps of authentic organic and natural brands on the market. Always look for products that are totally certified organic, and always read your labels. Check out this post for a list of my favourites here and here.

 

Any surprises on this list for you? Do you have any others that you can add?

 

Positive affirmation for the day: I believe that all of my dreams are coming true.

 

 

 

MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR PLATE: HOW TO END YOUR TORTURED RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.

HAVE YOU BOUGHT YOUR COPY OF MY NEW E-BOOK YET? CLICK HERE TO READ WHY THIS BOOK WILL PUT AND END TO THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF DEPRIVATION, BINGING, AND GUILT FOREVER.



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Hi there lovely!
As a makeup artist, I was wanting to know what natural makeups you use?

I work very closely with Adori Studios and I noticed how lovely your makeup was for the shoot just recently.

Hear from you soon.
Natalie x

Jess says:

Natalie Hunter » Hi Natalie, thanks so much! I did my own make-up for that shoot so that is such a compliment ha ha. I use all INIKA make-up. They are really good! xx

Hi Jess, Just love your comments about so called ” Safe and Natural products” you are such an inspiration.
I use, recommend and share information about safe Neways products, for skin care and cosmetics, and anything for the home. We want to see ” Healthy Homes” one person, one family at a time.
Anna

Kate says:

Anna,

I just looked up Neways producys – to see how natural and safe they are, have you actually seen whats inside their moisturiser for your FACE!?

Water (aqua), dimethicone, cetearyl alcohol, isopentyldiol, hordeum distichon (barley) extract, polyglyceryl-2 stearate, cetearyl methicone, squalane, santalum album (sandlewood) extract, phellodendron amurense bark extract, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, hydrolyzed algin, biosaccharide gum-1, hydrolyzed soy protein, tocopheryl acetate, beta vulgaris (beet) root extract, stearyl phosphate, caprylyl glycol, xanthan gum, butylene glycol, linoleic acid, glycine soja (soyabean) sterols, hydrolyzed wheat protein, phospholipids, camellia sinensis leaf extract, haberlea rhodopensis leaf extract, pyrus communis (pear) fruit extract, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract, ferula assa foetida root extract, sodium hydroxide, yeast extract, disodium EDTA, tripeptide-1, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol, fragrance (parfum).

Not so natural

Hey Kate, wow. Yeah, there’s that phenoxyethanol again, among other things. That seems to be the one most companies are using to replace parabens. http://www.kvorganics.com/replacing-parabens

Jan says:

That is very naive thinking. Natural doesn’t mean ‘safe’ anyway! Poison Ivy is natural, would anyone in their right mind use that on their skin? As an independent Health and Fitness researcher, with very close (personal) connections to toxicologists and research scientists, I feel that in respect of their expertise, it should be noted that there are safe chemicals and not so safe chemicals…….big difference……huge! For example, water is a chemical, and in it’s pure state it’s safe. Besides, unless you are really sure, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. People who throw dirt, lose ground!

John says:

Hi Kate,

I think this assumption about Neways is a little misguided. An ingredient list like that might as well be written in chinese to the lay person reading about toxins. Big words are threatening on ingredient labels because we are not scientists and do not understand the meaning. The proof about toxicity comes from the scientists scrutinizing the products. For example, Prof Samuel Epstein (Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition) scrutinizes everything Neways does for toxicity and has recently quoted Neways as the safest products in the world.

In addition, the products are designed to work with real science behind their formulation, as in, they dont just mix a few fruit extracts together and call it a moisturiser and hope for the best. For example the Fragrance is (which is shown simply as ‘Fragrance’ ) on the label, is a careful blend of natural and man made ingredients that go together to make up ‘fragrance’. Any man made ingredients (that cant legally be called ‘Natural’) are scrutinized to be as safe or safer than similar natural ingredients and are only used when a natural alternative is not available.

This same process may be relevant to similar companies out there, its a matter of consumers doing some of their own research. Unfortunately, companies like Neways have received a bad name simply because some people dont like they way they chose to market/distribute their product (which is irrelevant when talking about ingredients and toxicity). I did my own research and decided Neways was the safest based upon the most up to date research available at the time. If people are really concerned about ingredients, search every one and see for yourself, simply copy and paste the ingredient with the letters ‘MSDS’ after it and have a read (but who has the time). Otherwise look for companies with a good mission who are dedicated to providing chemical free, non toxic products (rather than just slapping ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic’ on the lable), then do research about them in your own time and make a decision.

This goes for all companies..

Kate says:

Anna,

I decided to look up Neways to see how natural they are, and im affraid you have been convinced on marketing…

here is a list of ingredients from the moisturiser which is for your FACE!

Hydracial SkinDefense Daily Moisturizer is a dynamic anti-ageing daytime moisturiser that is scientifically developed to help reduce the signs of ageing and give visible results in a very short period of time. It features the cascading antioxidant properties of Haberlea rhodopensis along with powerful moisture retaining ingredients to help your skin look and feel smoother, firmer and more hydrated as well as encouraging a natural, youthful glow.

Not so natural

Martina says:

Hello

Just a note about Haberlea rhodopensis … it is a plant… nothing chimical about them. Check http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22023081 for all the informations about that fabulous plant.

Have a nice day

Nimrat Bhattal says:

Hi Jess,I just went to the INIKA website after your review. Below is the ingredient list from their website for the certified organic eyeliner. Lots of chemicals and hydrogenated oils in there nothing Organic about it:
Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate; Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides; Hydrogenated vegetable Oil; Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus); Dulcis Oil; Mica (CI77019); Copernicia Cerifera; Olus Oil; Euphorbia cerifera; Sesamum Indicum Oil; Hydrogenated Palm; Glycerides Citrate; Polyglycerol-3; Diisostearate; Glyceryl Caprylate; Tocopheryl Acetate; Sorbic Acid.
Iron Oxides (C.I. 77491; C.I. 77492; C.I. 77499; C.I. 77891; C.I. 77289; C.I. 77007; C.I. 77510; C.I. 77742)

Similarly for the lipstick, as soon as I read the first ingredient is hydrogenated coconut oil, I felt disgusted.

Sue says:

Hi Natalie, I use True Touch cosmetics after years of having reactions with so many other brands of makeup, I finally found one where not only do I not have a reaction, I also feel like I am not wearing any at all. You will not find 100% natural makeup or any other product for that matter, unless you have grown the food and made the product yourself. If any company makes that claim, you can bet your being lied to. True Touch is not all natural but absolutely safe. I highly recommend it. Also to the best of my knowledge any product can get the certified organic label if it just has one organic ingredient in it, I have and will never trust those or the Heart Foundation labels. Keep in mind there are good and bad in both natural and chemical. I hope you do find what your looking for and get great results. :)

Thankyou Jessica,
For educating people about the lies alot of companies are trying to sell about being natural or organic. It astounds me that they can get away with what is essentially false advertising and have very little regulation.
You are fighting the good fight and I am loving following your journey .
Best wishes Rachel Cooper

Ahh yes, it’s SO frustrating! Especially when there are some brilliant brands out there trying to do the right thing and other brands that green wash just make things confusing…

The Teens Turning Green list of the ‘Dirty Thirty’ ingredients to avoid is a great easy to read resource to help you read labels and know what the bad ingredients are! http://wordpress.teensturninggreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/TTGDirtyThirty.pdf

x

Tamara says:

a bit surprised, I thought aveeda was good…. I use abba (here http://www.pureabba.com/ ) & would love to hear what you think about them……

thanks again Jess, again, I’ll spread this around :)

T

Emma says:

OH I’m sad about Lucas’ Pawpaw it’s one of the only things that makes my lips softer… can you recommend any alternatives?

Deceptive marketing really annoys me too! x

Jesse says:

Hi Emma,

There are a few pawpaw ointments around now that don’t contain petroleum and other chemicals – like this one:

http://www.barenakedbeauty.com.au/products/suvana_paw_paw_honey_organic_lip_balm/251/1

I also use Mukti’s honey and macadamia lip balm which is divine, and I also love Shizen’s lip products.

Anna C says:

Hi there, I am so glad I came across this – we live on a farm and I make everything using beeswax and honey from our hives, plus organic oils and butters. Our family is into the whole “only put on your skin what you can eat” . If you’re up our way we’re at Farmers Markets as well as online with just simple, natural and really lovely options. Go wellness warrior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trish says:

Hi there Emma, I’ve been living with eczema & allergies since birth and got to a point where i had to come up with my own moisturisers and other skin care products to avoid all the hidden nasties in these so-called ‘natural’ products that have simply been marketed toward your hard earned dollars.
I also make a Lip Balm which is definitely ALL natural and keeps my lips soft and luscious. Visit my eBouTiquè at http://www.lookingforalternatives.com.au for a look at Trisha’s Blends All Natural Products.

Louise says:

Hey Emma
The best thing I have found by FAR for dry lips – drinking enough water! :)

Hey Emma – just stumbled upon your post “Taking the Focus Away from Food” and didn’t see where i could leave a comment there, so wanted to say, thanks for that post. Just read another one recently called “Food is Not Your God” and have been thinking about this lately. Stumbling upon your post here was timely. Thanks again. :)

Debbie says:

Sally B’s Lip Yummies!!

Saraho says:

HURRAW – Night Treatment Lip Balm – Blue Chamomile Vanilla! :)
(I use this throughout the day as well.) Organic/Wildcrafted, Vegan, Cruelty Free, All Natural, Sans: sulfates/parabens/chemical preservatives. You can find at http://www.hurrawbalm.com, I tend to order it from http://www.therawfoodworld.com. Enjoy!!

Andy says:

Hi!
Brauer from the Barossa Valley in SA make a great one. I swapped to it after reading this blog. http://www.brauer.com.au/products/baby/pawpawtube75/

Fran says:

Thanks for the confirmation & insight Jess, my wellness guru! :) I can finally persuade my boyfriend to stop using Natures Organics!!! :D

Jessica,
So great how you educate people. I agree, there is so much crap out there and most people aren’t aware and don’t have the time to search through it all.
Thanks!

Mia Cassin says:

Thanks Jess for unveiling the mystery! Most people would take a product at face-value rather than look at what really is in their ‘natural’ products. We love that you love INIKA! Have a great day. Mia x

Christine says:

Thanks for posting this! I’ve been meaning to ask you what type of cosmetics you use. I’m glad I didn’t buy any Moroccan Oil when my former hair stylist suggested it, saying it was “all natural”. That phrase gets thrown around too loosely (not just with cosmetics, but food too!)

Danielle says:

Hi Jess,
Great article, but I was a bit suprised to find mineral oil was harmful, as I use this to take off my eye make-up. Could you ellaborate on it’s harmful effects?

Danielle says:

Is there an alternative I could use that is safer?

Sure is … Neways eye Remover, Safest products in the world, Dr Samuel Epstein.
Happy to help with more information, http://www.neways.com.au

COCONUT OIL is the best make up remover I’ve EVER found! :D

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Tara I agree! Organic, extra virgin coconut oil: can’t go past it for post shower moisturising & eye makeup removal. And its totally natural.

Agree on the coconut oil! :)

Tracie says:

sorry Anna but I think you will find EDTA in neways products and I only found out recently and am very disillusioned by this cause I loved the products too

Lesley Dewar says:

List of ingredients from Newways for a skin cleanser.

Water (aqua), cetearyl alcohol, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, jojoba esters, potassium olivoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein, ethylhexyl palmitate, glyceryl oleate, lauryl betaine, bambusa arundinacea stem extract, sodium lauroyl silk amino acids, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, betaine, tocopheryl acetate, caprylyl glycol, hydrolyzed opuntia ficus-indica flower extract, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin

Ack! Yeah, quite a few not-so-great ingredients in that list from Lesley. Biggest red flag I see is the phenoxyethanol. It seems to be what all the ‘natural’ companies are using instead of parabens now. But have you looked into it more closely yet?

http://www.kvorganics.com/replacing-parabens/

When I see that on a label, it’s an automatic, ‘no thanks!’ for me. :)

Anna says:

ANNA, Neways have you fooled! There are nasty chemicals in their products, they just have a great sales gimmick ‘healthy homes’. I joined Neways thinking it was all natural but got a shock when I started reading the ingredients in their products. Please read and analyse the ingredients before you start advising other people to use these products.

Sophie says:

Oh I love neways eye make up remover! It is the best in the world!! I have tried all sorts and this is the only one that doesnt start to dry my skin out.

Doris says:

Hi, RE gentle cleanser: I ‘ve come across Terra Maxima Light Speed Cleanser. Highly practical, reusable wellness sheets ( larger than towels), without PEGs and parabens and no petrochemicals. (Important for me.) I have very sensitive skin – with VERY strong reactions to parabens – and always felt sooo dry after cleansing. Tried many different cleansers. But this one works for me. The best part — that’s why I love it especially – you don’t need water and it does not leave your skin dry after use. Rather fresh, soothed and very well taken care of. No tension, no redness and really fresh.

You can use it for eye make up as well as cleansing regular make up, dirt and sweat. Tried it the first time on-the-go and loved it. I travel a lot, go camping and do sports, and those towels/wellness sheets they call them, I have always with me now. Great after a long day! My boyfriend started using them, too, because they’re gentle and convenient. Though they are packaged as single sheets, you can reuse them. I use one cleansing sheet for about 5 days. If I recall, they come in packages of 8, so pretty much last a month. The downside: they used to be only available on some airlines, but now you can also order online. Not sure, though, if they ship to Australia. I like it, because I like products that are smart and effective and come in packaging you can actually reuse. This system turned out to be healing for my skin. Don ‘t know why, it just did. Here is the address. http://www.terramaxima.com

katie says:

I couldn’t recommend the products from ‘Perfect Potion’ highly enough!!

It’s a local aromatheraphy and skincare company based in Brisbane, though they have stores all over Australia and internationally. It’s Australia’s first certified natural brand and most of their products contain certified organic ingredients where possible, and are vegan.

I love that they are an ethical, family owned fair trade business and their products are amazing!

So upsetting about Aveda! Grr how annoying!

Yeah, Jessica. :( Aveda definitely falls into that category now. Pretty sure Horst greatly disapproved of what Estee Lauder did to his baby. Once his non-compete clause ran out, in 2007 I think, he started Intelligent Nutrients.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1268/Q-A-with-Horst-Rechelbacher-Wellness-Beauty-Entrepreneur-Activist-Pioneer.html

Though, Miessence achieved food-grade organic certification back in 2001 – and offers me better prices, including a pretty easy way to earn my products for free, so this budget-minded mama loves that.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I am now a very active, working Rep with Miessence. But I fell in love with them first and foremost as a mom and customer and loved that I was able to get my products after just a few months as a rep.)

oops, left out ‘free’… “…loved that I was able to get my products free after just a few months as a rep.”

silly typos. sorry. :)

This is so interesting, especially about the PAW PAW ointment, i have heard that it had a petroloum in it. but no too long ago they had a big thing on it on a Current Affair, saying it was a family buisness and how great it was. They even showed you how they made it with fresh paw paw, no additivies at all and at the end they said they use Pharmacital grade Petrolium, so i thought ok it must be alright. I threw mine out and will not buy it again.
Donna

I’m with you Jess, its been really obvious lately the way that companies from foods to cosmetics are jumping on the “natural” band wagon. Petrol can technically be called “organic” too! Its these technical loops that are very pliable in the hands of companies trying to give themselves an edge in the market place, & wrongly misleading people who are trusting the listing or description when purchasing. Generally speaking with cosmetics, if its not easy english,or too many words joined together, then its like most fast foods – its chemically processed & quite a few steps from “natural”.
Just a mention, under the jurlique product you have listed “lactic acid” as a nasty. Unless they are modifying & processing the lactic acid in a particular way, this is most often a skin friendly ingredient & quite useful in hydration & decongesting the skin.

Jess says:

Hi Amanda, I thought that about lactic acid at first but I decided to leave it on the list after checking with the EWG site. It came up with a moderate hazard: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/703350/LACTIC_ACID/

Anna T says:

Yep–also in Jurlique you mentioned decyl glucoside, but that is plant-derived, safe, and biodegradable.

Corinne says:

I have to agree with you on the Jurlique products Amanda because ‘fragrance’ is also stated above as a nasty… however if you look on the Jurlique bottle it has a * which leads you the the bottom of the list which states the pure essential oils in which the fragrance is derived from…. I am sure there are some ingredients which are questionable, especially since the Jurlique founder (a biochemist, chemist, alchemist, naturopath, psychologist, Herbalist, Aroma Therapist) sold the company to Kerry Packer 10 years. I think it has since sold again… all about profits now!

Thanks for providing this article Jess, it’s a great one. I would love to hear anyones thoughts on Kora Organics…. their ingredient list looks okay to me (a novice) but the products are very expensive by comparison to similar brands (when they repackaged their products recently their Rose Hip Oil went from $36 for a 20ml bottle to $54 for a 15ml bottle!!!)

Jill says:

Hi Jess,
Any thoughts on the The Body Shops’ Nutriganics range?
Jill

Jess says:

Hi Jill, Body Shop is one I should have added to this list! They are terrible green washing culprits. This is what is in their Nutriganics facial wash. The claim is “99% of ingredients are of natural origin” – but that doesn’t mean anything.

Aqua (Solvent/Diluent), Sucrose (Humectant), Glycerin (Humectant), Propanediol (Viscosity Modifier), Coco-Betaine (Skin Conditioning Agent), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Surfactant), Coco-Glucoside (Surfactant), Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate (Skin Conditioning Agent), Sodium Chloride (Viscosity Modifier), Sucrose Laurate (Skin Conditioning Agent), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Salicylic Acid (Preservative/Hair Conditioner), Parfum (Fragrance), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil (Emollient), Buddleja Davidii Extract (Skin Conditioning Agent), Thymus Vulgaris Extract (Natural Additive), Malva Sylvestris Flower Extract (Natural Additive), Arginine (Skin Conditioning Agent), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

Denise Marois-Wolf says:

Unfortunately, if you have a tree nut allergy, every one of the natural products you list is off the table. They all contain some form of macadamia nut oil, which can cause serious allergic reactions. I wish there was a line that didn’t use nut oils. Even Suki’s Naturals has some nut oils in her products.

Lis says:

Check out MooGoo – they have products that are nut free :)

snowgirl says:

Hi Donna
The report on ACA about Pawpaw ointment wasn’t the Lucas brand, it was a much smaller newer company, Lucas’ pawpaw has been going forever. Here’s the link http://tagcommblog.com/tag/super-paw-paw-as-seen-on-aca/ Ingredients :
Fresh Carica papaya 838 mg/g
Panthenol 50 mg/g
Clove Bud Oil 8 mg/g

I must be wrong i was sure it had the red and black marketing label i will have to check that out. Sorry for my mistake.

I just checked that link, and its not the one i saw it advertise a product with the pawpaw, this one there was an older gentlemen and they said they had been making it for over 50years. I could be wrong but thats what i thought and i remember seeing the red and black label, i will have to investigate more. Unless anyone else can help me. Thanks

Nikki says:

I think the one you are looking for is:

http://www.mcarthurnaturalproducts.com/

Corinne says:

That’s correct Donna, I saw both of them (they ran two seperate stories). I can’t remember whether they were both ACA – I just remember seeing both of them. :-)

Hi jess,
Such a great post. I think it’s also worth mentioning shops that lure us in with the false seduction of buying naturally, like The Body Shop and LUSH.
You look absolutely gorgeous in your new photos ! xxx

Jess says:

Thanks beautiful! x

Em vela says:

I love this discussion . It’s so important to be aware and well informed. With this in mind I’d like to add The Body Shop has always claimed to be naturally based/ inspired. It has always claimed to be 100% committed to changing the way the cosmetics industry does its business. So it is a social activist it has never claimed to be a fully natural product. It’s commitment can be seen in their pioneering community trade and responsible ethical shopping.

Mara says:

Making your own beauty products is really easy if you know how and where to find the base products from.

If you’re in Melbourne, there’s a warehouse called Auroma – there they stock beautiful base products from shampoos/conditioners, to body wash, body moisturisers, base oils (like coconut, avacado, jojoba, almond, calendula, etc). Mix your favourite 100% essential oil to the base, and whalla! you have your product.

For my body wash, I use Auroma base body wash add 1/3 calendula oil and then 60 drops of 100% essential oil.

For my moisturiser I do the same – 2/3 base moisturiser (which has a whole lot of natural oils and plant derived products), 1/3 calendula oil and then my 100% essential oils. Each month, I have a different scent so I can play around with how I want to feel/smell.

And you can make your own lipbalm using beeswax, essential oils and base oils.

Good luck.

M

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Hi M,

You wouldn’t know if there is anything similar in Sydney, would you? Sounds awesome, I’d love to make my own!

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets)

katie says:

You can buy base ingredients and a huge range of essential oils / other natural botanicals at perfect potion. The girls there should be able to help you with blends and recipes. They also do workshops on how to make your own products and using oils for healing. There are a few stores in Sydney; one in Bondi, one in George St and one at the airport :)

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Thanks Katie, that’s awesome! I’m right near Bondi so that’s made my day ;-)

Mara says:

BTW doesn’t BodyShop claim to be al’naturale but are not? Or am I incorrect?

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

They’re not. The ingredients aren’t listed on the packs, so you need to ask the sales assistant what the ingredients are. They then have to retrieve a folder full of info and on a quick scanning of the ingredients, I could see some familiar offenders. I told the sales assistant that I was after a 100& natural product and she tried to sell me on the fact that it contained blah blah blah and I smiled politely and just said “No, that’s ok thanks.”

So no. They’re not natural and their products do contain harmful ingedients. I’m almost 100% certain all their body & shower washes & gels contain sodium laureth sulfate: they foam like crazy!!

Haley says:

The Body Shop were bought by L’Oreal! L’Oreal are the world’s largest campaigners FOR animal testing. Body Shop is just clever marketing-it’s terribly toxic stuff.

Jess says:

I should have included Body Shop in this list! They are so guilty of green washing.

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Hi Jess,

I’ve recently gone through all my cupboards, clearing out all the crap and I have to say, I was TOTALLY duped by Aveda too. I even told the woman in the shop that I was clearing out my house of harmful products, and she still let me buy the Aveda hair spray full of chemcials, the lip gloss with an ingredient list longer than my arm, all the while without piping up that the products contained harmful chemicals. I’m not kidding. Needless to say, I’m telling everyone that Aveda aren’t quite the green, botanical company that they’d have everyone believe they are.

I use the Skindeep database A LOT, but it’s hard when you’re on the go, because some products that sound harmful aren’t and vice versa. You’ll be pleased to know that I asked them about an iPhone app so I could use it whilst shopping and they confirmed its in the pipeline. Hopefully sooner rather than later! Yey!

I LOVE Inika too; but I find the Lavera lipsticks a little softer & creamier so use those too. But I really can’t go past the Inika eyeliner & illuminiser.

Makes me look like a million bucks (or is that the green smoothies, juices & salads??).

Lisa ;-)

I use a little pocket guide called “The Chemical Maze” but they also have an iPhone app available (several actually). It tells you what ingredients do what and rates how safe they are much like the Skin Deep database. You can find out more about it at http://www.chemicalmaze.com

Also just wanted to say a big thank you to Jess for writing this post. I’ll be sharing it around for everyone to read. It happens all the time when people ask for more natural products that others will recommend The Body Shop or Aveda and then they don’t believe me when I say that they’re no better than your cheap chemist brands. Very glad to see you mention Nature’s Organics (which is a very deceptive company that likes to spread lies about their competitors) and Jurlique (which likes to paint themselves out to be organic and biodynamic despite using lots of synthetics and the longest ingredients list i’ve ever seen!).

I used to work for Aveda back when Horst owned it. It was such a different company then. So much heart in it. I am not sure if I was not as aware of ingredients back then (could be true, it was YEARs ago) or if the brand has gone down hill since Estee Lauder bought it (along with Origins). Whichever, I no longer use it.

Lovers of the ‘old’ Aveda should try Intelligent Nutrients – founded by the Horst (who founded Aveda) who started Intelligent Nutrients after Aveda was bought out by Estee Lauder… Intelligent Nutrients has 100% food-based, safe, non-toxic and organic ingredients and BEAUTIFUL products! http://www.intelligentnutrients.com/

Jesse says:

I think Estee Lauder bought Jurlique too?

Such a shame the founders of these companies sold out for the big bucks.

I used to LOVE Jurlique.

Karen says:

I couldn’t agree with you more!! that’s why I started my business.. http://www.kitzlivingfoods.com.au/

Just real food with real taste.

I don’t understand why all the crap has to go into them. We make our stuff 100% natural, it last’s as long as it should, it taste great and does it’s job, nourishes us!

Gustoso says:

I got stung by the red pawpaw ointment. Who wants to put petrol on their lips? Gross.

I use Suvana’s instead:

http://gustoso.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/review-suvana-paw-paw-honey-balm/

Annie says:

Hi Jess,

This is just so true and I was caught out for a lot of years by the marketing ploys by so many of these brands…and others! I have found the Arbonne range to be pure, safe and beneficial and have been using the products from both the skin care and make up lines for over 3 years now and I love them!

The other list that I thought I would add to this discussion is attached below, and it is one that I have found through Arbonne that lists all of the skin care and make up lines that claim to be organic, vegan, no animal testing etc. but are not!

http://www.nrdc.org/living/labels/personalcare.asp

As a side note, thank you so much for your ongoing inspiration…I have been on a journey of sorts myself for the last year or so and I am truly amazed, on a regular basis, how much there is to learn and be thankful for in my life. A x

Hi Annie,

I hate to break it to you, but Arbonne is not organic either. And they do use chemical ingredients that have been tested on animals even if they don’t test the finished product on animals. If you’re happy with the products, keep using them, but if you think they are organic, they aren’t. They use quite a lot of synthetic ingredients. I know because I used to work with them. If you have any questions about their ingredients, I’d be happy to help you spot the ingredients of concern.

Many blessings,
Lacey :)

Hi Jess,

Thanks for this list and helping to raise awareness of this topic. Now that many cosmetic companies are trying (even competing) to create lesser standards for organic personal care products, even the term ‘certified organic’ on these types of products needs to be questioned and checked out further. Many don’t know this (I didn’t until about two years ago), but it is possible to find products that are certified organic to food grade standards in the skin and body care realm. That’s generally the best option for health and sustainability.

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Interested in Safety says:

Hi there!
I see on an earlier comment that you used to work for Arbonne? I have a friend who is encouraging me to join Arbonne and when I voiced concern over the safety of their products (especially the baby care range) I was told that they are all natural and safe. What do you know about their line and do you know what ingredients I should look out for?

Hi Jess,

What an eye opener. It is truly disappointing for the consumer to discover the products they thought were organic choices were in fact not at all. As a producer of a certified organic balm we take pride in taking a product to the market that nurtures and protects our customers while respecting the Earth.

Thank you for your very interesting blog, we look forward to future instalments!

Kind regards,

The team at ‘Suvana’

Jess says:

Suvana Beauty » Thank you! And Thank you for Suvana. It’s so good to have a paw paw ointment available that is actually clean. We need to get the word out! :)

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

I love the Suvana paw paw ointment with honey. It’s lovely!

Tina says:

I used paw paw internally for cancer treatment, where can you find paw paw products for external use in Canada?

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Another offender: Burts Bees. They claim their lip shimmer is 100% natural but they contain titanium dioxide and colours.

IdaPie says:

Yes! I was curious about Burts bees actually – what about their other products?!!

Tara Hawken says:

Fantastic post Jess, i love your honest findings here, knowledge is power! Its so good to know the truth about the products we so easily fall for through marketing. Thanks so much for this info. x

Leonie says:

This is always such a hot topic and one that I’m very passionate about, so thanks Jess for bringing it to our attention again. It’s a worthy cause to take note of what we’re slathering on our body daily, and also on our family, that is absorbed into our bloodstream and beyond. After all, most of us do this from the cradle to the grave. Many have said that “we are what we eat”, but we are also “what we absorb”. I was so fortunate to come across concerns of potentially harmful ingredients nearly 2 decades ago, but unfortunately, not much has changed, especially to the regulatory or should I say the lack of regulatory guidlines concerning the personal care, household and cosmetic industries. Even a 100% organic product may not be the best solution either if it doesn’t have the science to go hand in hand to deliver each ingredient to where it has to go. You also have to look at the molecula size of each ingredient and the synergy of all components within that product and then hope like hell that they have safe containers for thier products. Now, I’m not a bio-chemist or a scientist and I guess that not too many of us are, so it makes really good sense to me to do your homework on whatever brand/s you choose and be diligent, your life depends on it. That’s why when I heard that Dr. Samuel Epstein MD, (a world re-known authority on the causes and prevention of cancer, winner of the “Alternative Nobel Prize” and chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition and arguably one of the world’s leading toxicologists. Author of “The Politics of Cancer” and “The breast cancer prevention program”, amongst other credits), awarded one (and only one) company, Neways International the “Seal of Approval” for producing products which are free of cancer-causing and harmful ingredients and contaminants – that was good enough for me. Do you think he may be someone to take notice of?? Neways has been in Australia for 25yrs with the same mission, long before it became fashionable to produce better quality products – and to most company’s , that meant getting rid of a handful of ingredients only. Its a company that ban over 3000 potentially harmful ingredients which is quite unique in itself, when you consider the EU bans about 1100, USA about 10 and Australia about 8. Pretty poor stats at best and damn dangerous at worst. I’m with you Anna!!

Haley says:

It makes me so mad! I actually decided to open my own organic beauty website because of greenwashing like this! I got so sick of brands saying they were organic only to find out after I bought it that they just had one or two organic ingredients! Now I check every single ingredient in every single product found on my website http://www.peachyclean.com.au You shouldn’t have to be a scientist to know what products to buy! Thanks for the great post! xxx

Fig+Sage says:

Great list, Jess!! Thanks for sharing the truth with your readers :)

Honey says:

Hi guys,
I discovered an amazing product made by a gorgeous family called Larise… They initially made it for their kids which got really I’ll and then was allergic to everything. Because it worked so well they decided to sell to others. My skin feels amazing, it’s not what they put in their products, but what they leave out. U should see the 30 something year old sons skin, amazing. Check it out LARIESE!! Prices are fab too!
Cheers n Gratitude :-)

Kyla says:

I am a beauty conscious person. I just don’t use brand with out knowing the ingredients, and how it made. But then thanks for the sharing this awareness with us.

Cherie says:

Thanks for this list. I’ve been working towards chemical-free living for some time now (I still have slip ups, thus the reason it has taken so long). I’m making more and more of my own personal care and cleaning products. I just started using argan oil, which is the basis for the Moroccan Oil, that I’ve purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs. Do you know if the pure oil is safe?

Tim says:

Hi Jessica,

You may already be aware of this website http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ but if not, you may want to check your products out before using them. Not all products are what they seem to be.

love and light,
Tim

This is not surprising to me, but it still infuriates me that we still need to talk about this because so many women don’t know. I really wish we could get to a point of being able to trust labels and understand ingredients, maybe then we could make informed decisions for our health.

Amanda says:

Hi Jess!

I loved that you called these brands out. We as consumers have a right to know what exactly is in our products so WE can choose whether or not to use them. For those of us that are on a budget, what would you recommend then for us to use in our hair if we really have to use something? I have very curly and often frizzy hair and I’m curious what I should be using if the brands I was using are dangerous and unhealthy?

All the best!

Amanda Whitworth

Leah says:

Amanda I’ve got a tip! Pure coconut oil! You rub a small amount between your palms and run through your hair-it calms frizz (and smells pretty good too!) just don’t use too much but it works a treat. Another really good product for frizzy/curly hair is this one-certified organic http://www.peachyclean.com.au/collections/hair/products/savi-hair-conditioner xxx

Tina says:

I use Usana’s Sense products and buy a few products from a Company based out of Vancouver, B.C in Canada called Eminence.

Nicole says:

I love my Pangea Organics skincare line!!!

Thank you for your post. My business partner, Indie Lee, and I are so frustrated by all the blatant greenwashing going on. It always amazes me, that while meeting with spas, salons and boutiques managers about carrying our All Natural brand, many relay to me “the natural” (not really) brands they carry and promote. While talking to friends about the brands they use, they include brands like the ones in your post among their natural and safe choices. Customers and professionals need to ALWAYS read labels. If a brand lists only its active ingredients, we need to find out the entire ingredient list.

jacqui says:

thank you so much! we need more posts like this. I am always disappointed to see “natural” bloggers featuring products like aveda and promoting them as natural

sandra says:

Thanks for the great post Jess !!!!!
I have been using organic olive oil on my face for a light moisturizer for 20 years. it just absorbs and doesn’t look at all oily.
I love the idea of coconut oil for make up removal. I only bother with make up for occasion. which are few.

OK, have I got a question for you… since going Gerson, have not found a shampoo that makes my hair look GOOD !!!
No sodium laurel sulfate etc. pure. but, doesn’t cut it in the beauty dept. have you got any suggestions ?????
xox
sandra

Analia says:

Once again caught out by a couple of items. Good post Jess. Shame, shame, shame on all those products!! The other problem I find is that when you finally work out the products to stick to well meaning friends friends and family turn up at Xmas and birthday time bearing toxic body and skin care products! Some will even proudly announce that they bought you one that claimed it was ‘natural’. The battle on continues, cheers :)

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

I have a local women’s shelter that will be the recipient of such unwanted but well-meaning gifts… :-)

Rebecca says:

If a brand claims to be organic ask about their certification!

The word ‘organic’ can too easily be used as a descriptive or within the brand name itself.

If it’s certified by a recognised certifying body such as the ACO, buy with confidence, otherwise it’s just too uncertain.

IdaPie says:

This is great! Doesnt surprise me at all really – just went off lucas a little while back, being dependent on it since first time i visited australia :P
I want more!!! Love lists like this :]

I started using a new lipbalm called Hurraw! which is supposedly raw&organic, but I should rather stop being dependent on it…

Maybe just try to look for simpler options – fewer ingredients that has ‘understandable’ ingredients. Like, how easy isnt it just to use coconut oil for moisturizer :]

Kick ass, Jess!

IdaPie says:

ADD-ON: I used Annmarie’s skin care for a while which contains all natural ingredients – and I really liked it! But, downfall is that shipping to Norway is silly expensive! :]

(http://store.renegadehealth.com/Bath-Beauty/Annmarie-Herbal-Facial-Oil-for-Oily-and-Acne-Prone-Skin-15-ml-p268.html)

Bron says:

Thank you for this post and all the comments, I am in the process of changing my beauty products and was wondering if anyone have a recommendation replacement for Bio Oil? Having recently had surgery I would love to take care of my scars.

Many thanks

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Hi Bron,

Jess may have some suggestions, however I am using organic rosehip oil on my face daily. It contains anti-oxidants and is apparently very good for healing (and anti-aging!).

Good luck

Lisa :-)

Fig+Sage says:

Keys Redicare Healing Spray is great for fast healing and scars: https://www.keys-soap.com/ostore/product.php?productid=222&cat=66&page=1

Jade says:

Hi Bron you may like to try the stretched to limit oil from aroma baby, contains a heap of natural or organic oils and that’s it and it worked on my scars and stretchmarks too. I just use it as a general moisturiser body oil now but have other friends who swear by it. Lovely on the face and eye area, find it especially good to use at night as it’s a little oily.

Bron, NYR Organic has a wonderful product for scars/healing called Wild Rose Beauty Balm. It is a multi-use product which has a number of essential oils in it… the primary one being wild rosehip. It is certified organic and we have a 45 day money back guarantee. I believe you would love it! Wendy

Christie says:

Wendy, that product is only 87% organic – it still contains chemicals including benzoates.

Jessica says:

Christie, I’m not sure where you saw that information. Wild Rose Beauty Balm is 99% Organic. Here is a copy of the ingredients I pulled right from the website. It doesn’t list Benzoates.

Ingredients
Rosa canina (Rosehip) seed oil*
Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil*
Cera alba (Beeswax)*
Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter)*
Cannabis sativa (Hemp) seed oil*
Borago officinalis (Borage) seed oil*
Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) flower oil*
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil*
Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil
Cymbopogon martini (Palmarosa) herb oil*
Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) leaf oil*
Ascorbyl palmitate
Tocopherol
Citral, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool. Natural constituent of essential oil listed.

*Organically produced ingredient.
Made with 99% organic ingredients.

Dani says:

Hi Jess
I love what you are doing and saying, we seem to be like minded. I am an aromatherapist and have been making and selling safe products for years. Its heartbreaking when people are making an effort to be conscious of what they are putting on their skin and then are being conned. I believe we all need to read labels. Brand or no brand, read the label. If you dont know what an ingredient is look it up on the internet. Be proactive – its empowering. There was a question further up about healing scars – rosehip is great but you can boost it even further with everlasting/immortelle (the name can change) and carrot essential oils. If you have oily skin prone to break outs rosehip can be a problem so instead you’ll have to use a base oil like hazelnut and then add your immortelle and some carrot and even vitamin e.
Love your work Jess!
Dani

dani says:

Hi Jess, I love that you posted this. I’m an aromatherapist and have been making and selling safe skincare products for years. Its devastating when someone makes a conscious choice to improve their health and life and is deceived. Good on you! Everybody needs to read labels – brand or no brand read the ingredients and learn what things are.

Regarding an above post about healing scars Rosehip is great but you can boost it by adding everlasting/immortelle (the name can change) and carrot essential oils. If your skin is oily and prone to breakouts Rosehip is not suitable. Use a base of hazelnut oil and add immortelle/everlasting, carrot and even Vitamin E. I have successfully treated clients with both.
Love your work Jess!
Dani

dani says:

sorry i somehow posted twice!

Great post! So many retailers stock brands and describe them to customers as natural when a quick scan of the ingredient list shows they are loaded with the very ingredients that should see them banned from the shop! And when we had our our salon we’d have reps showing us their “natural” ranges and not understand why we’d decline when we’d see perfume, SLS, parabens, pertochemicals etc. Frequently these were the very brands that would be quite precious about being natural and ethical!

On PawPaw, unfortunately the Simmons company was a casualty of the Jan 2011 floods and is no longer available, so we now sell Suvana. It has the benefit of other organic goodies that are great for the skin. We love that it’s Choose Cruelty Free accredited and an Australian brand like Musq Cosmetics and most of the other brands we sell.

We offer a purse size ingredient checklist you can print off and take when shopping. While it doesn’t have all the nasties it has the most frequently used and we see you making mre informed choices when shopping. Access via any newsletter link in the right hand panel of the News page on the Musq website, then scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to see the checklist.

Natural Babe says:

I think the body shop & Lush really should be placed on here so many people think they’re natural (and are led to believe it), I was one of these people until I visited a store recently looking in to purchasing some products as I love natural/organic products only to shock horror find Parabens, Sulfates and Mineral Oil in their products as for lush enough said they claim to be natural and they are full of sulfates, parabens, etc. Really get’s on my go when people say “Oh this brand is all natural”

Alisha says:

I know!! I get frustrated by that too. Most people just believe what it says on the front and don’t actually check the ingredients out.

Verity Roser says:

Hi –

Have you done much research on Weleda products? I have used them for over 15 years and love them. I have very sensitive skin and find I can only use pure products but would love to hear your thoughts. I have also had success with Moo Goo products recently.

As far as TOOTHBRUSHES go there are full bamboo toothbrushes availabe at http://www.environmentaltoothbrush.com.au – they are terrific and come in kids sizes too. Through in your compost when you are finished as the whole product is fully biodegradable. Better for you and our lovely planet :)

Am so glad I have just found your site – thanks.

Verity

bec clarke says:

wow, very disappointed in the Paw paw.
Thanks so much,

jessica says:

hi Jessica,
thank you for your post :) I too used to think most of the products you mentioned were ‘natural’ and good for your body.. As an acupuncturist and wellness practitoner.. I’m very aware of what I put into my body, particularly what I put on my skin. I’ve found a really good Australian company, with real ingredients..jojoba, lavender, rose geranium, pomegranate.. their products are divine, and really do help to balance the skin. and they are online, so are very accessible. the company is Perse, http://www.perse.com.au The women who run the company Irene and Anastasia are really lovely, and I’m soo happy to support them.
Keep up your good work :)
namaste
Jessica x

Kimberly says:

Hi Jess – wonderful post and like so many others I was stunned to find some products I thought great on the list. Can you tell me what you think of Moo Goo? Cheers, Kimberly

Di Heath says:

Hi,

I am a consultant for Norwex. We have a fantastic personal care range free from all the nasty chemicals like silicon, preservatives such as formaldehyde and parabens or synthetic perfumes or solvents like propylene glycol. A lot of our range also carries the Ecocert label.

We also have microfibre body cloths that are a fantastic alternative for cleasners (yes they remove makeup with just water!), soaps and acne treatments, which is great news for people with senstive skin, allergies, eczema etc.

I have a facebook page at http://www.fb.com.ezyclean or for all the products you can visit https://diheath.norwexbiz.com.au

Thanks,
Di :-)

GJ says:

HI Jessica, i have been using Jurlique for 4 years thinking i was using a natural product mad in the Adelaide hills near where i live as a kid. I really like the product too, as it the only one my skin hasn’t reacted too.

I have tried this product and had no issues with it it the skin care from Norwex.
I buy my jurlique from natropath i’ll let them know about this too as they sell it,

Ioanna says:

Great tips, I would be a bit wary of products claiming free of preservative, especially skin products. It means that they will expose ou to some dangerous bacteria as they won’t have a shelf life. A great product I use and a company that lists and explains all their ingredients is Moo Goo. Site has some informative reading too

Ioanna, so true, yet, it is possible. I used to think synthetic preservatives were necessary, but learned about two years ago, when I stumbled upon Miessence, that a shelf-stable product can be achieved without synthetic preservatives. I remember researching for 3 whole weeks to verify their claims, including contacting the USDA and ACO, and doing a Twitter search for “Miessence and mold” to see if anyone was complaining – because I was so doubtful of that claim. Was pleasantly shocked by what I found and decided to become a customer, then a Rep so I could get my stuff for free. (And in spirit of full disclosure, I have gone on to work with them further, supporting and serving customers and other reps, for a work-from-home income, for which I’m very grateful… but I am first and foremost their very happy customer.)

Kathy says:

Thanks for this article. Wondering what you think of products made by a company called Korres – based in Greece. I have found their products to be divine, and they claim to use to natural extracts from various places in Greece.

May says:

It seems we live in a society that increasingly wants its cake and to eat it too!
Folks if you want a truly all natural product and are so concerned about being green washed go to your local market and buy a bar of handmade soap and just wash your hair, face and body with it and use nothing else. Don’t forget to use a vinegar wash though because the PH is way too high! Forget the beauty side of it ladies if you just want purely natural because it doesn’t really exist. No such thing as chemical free products folks…newsflash everything in the universe is a chemical, yes even water! I love natural, botanical, green products that contain a lot of natural ingredients but I also know for a product to have any kind of decent viable cosmetic efficacy it may need to be a synthesis of both natural and synthetic ingredients-that is the way it goes..and not all synthetic ingredients are harmful. I’m also amazed at the way people get up in arms about SLS in shampoo. Do we actually want the shampoo to do its job or what! By the way, I’ve been trying to find specific studies that show evidence that SLS in cosmetic products have specifically been the cause of cancer in people-if anyone knows of any please post them. So many maybe’s…

Kate says:

Wow May! You couldn’t be further from the truth-ur lack of information is quite astounding for such a passionate post. There are sooo many natural ingredients that are proven beyond doubt to have amazing cosmetic and beauty effects on skin without any synthetics. Even the chemical brands boast ‘with natural ingredients’ because benefits are simply undisputed. For example-calendula is great at healing, lime is great for balancing sebum production (oily skin) rose hip oil is super hydrating and amazing for balancing skin tone I could literally go on forever. Of the 100’s of beauty products that I have tried it is the natural products that are far more effective every single time. Synthetic ingredients are simply cheaper options for companies to manufacture products and to help give the product ridiculously long shelf lives.. There are thousands of studies on the harm caused by SLS-the chemical is simply a foaming agent so it literally has nothing to do with the shampoo ‘doing its job’. Try looking at the skin deep database (ewg.org/skindeep) for information. Astounding may.

May says:

Hi Kate

I appreciate the feedback. Please note that in my post I did state that I love natural ingredients(you may have missed reading that part), it’s just that I get frustrated with the absolute rubbish that exists out there completely denigrating all of these supposed “dangerous” and “cancer” causing synthetic ingredients that exist, effectively poo pooing many many years of established and continual scientific safety testing and validating of these so called “nasty” ingredients and their actual use and efficacy. The reality is, most cosmetic ingredients are naturally derived in one way or another, and in fact when talking about using natural products, there are numerous essential oils out that are absolutely toxic and harmful to for example, pregnant women, people with specific conditions etc. Take Rosemary oil/extracts as another and it’s potential dangers to individuals who suffer with epilepsy.
I have included a link to an article for people to read if they are interested written by Dr. Anthony C Dweck, a very well respected chemist and chartered scientist and a man with many many years experience within the toiletries and cosmetics industry. He puts a very sobering and scientific light of some of the realities and rubbish they exists in relation to some cosmetics ingredients and the marketing myths with vested interests that are propagated out there…here is the link for the paper entitled: LIST OF INGREDIENTS AVOIDED FOR NO GOOD REASON(AS A MARKETING TOOL).

http://www.dweckdata.com/Services/Ingredients.htm

So yes, I think the complexity in matters regarding this is “astounding” Kate.

May

Thank you so much for the article. I try to use healthy products this was a real eye opener.

Wow what a eyeopener and thank you for all that information about these products.
Yes I learn more everyday about these companies that claim there products are organic or natural.

We need to educate ourselves and be aware what is truly out there and by having some one like you sourcing the info out and sharing the feedback to us is wonderful.

Thank you Jessica,
Regards
Carmen Revelo

I can stress enough the importance or reading labels–and to be educated on what the ingredients are. Thanks for listing these products maybe people will start to be a little more mindful of what they put on themselves!

The ONLY products I will use are those by NYR Organic… the US division of Neal’s Yard Remedies (a 30 year old company from London). All of our products are CERTIFIED ORGANIC by the soil association. We have attained Champion Status by Environmental Working Group. I used to use Arbonne, which, sadly, is NOT organic and has been reformulated so many times lately that it is hard to even know what is in it anymore. We have skin care, body products, cosmetics, supplements, home fragrance and aromatherapy… ALL certified organic! There is a difference… and yes, the products DO work!

Thanks so much for this article. I will be referencing it with my customers!

Wendy

I hate greenwashing myself and will post this to the Greenwashing Hall of Shame pages on Facebook & Pinterest.

Just to let you know a little about what I do and where my head is, I’m the Eco-Beauty Editor for Greenwala.com and one of the things I’m an expert at is identifying toxic ingredients, especially those that many people…and companies…say are safe. I know about as much about them as you can without having a chemistry degree. I have zero tolerance for companies claiming ingredients are safe when they actually aren’t, so I think philosophically, you and I are on the same page.

There are a couple ingredients you have listed as unsafe that need to be corrected. You have a couple of natural constituents of essential oils listed as not being natural and being harmful. Yes, in Europe they do have to be listed in the ingredients list because even though they are natural they can be irritating to some, but they are far from being harmful and are totally natural.

Also Decyl glucoside isn’t natural, but it’s created via green chemistry so it’s generally safe. In fact, it’s one of the safest detergents you can use. Some rare people do have allergies to it, but overall is considered very safe. Almost anything can be irritating to some people, but that doesn’t make it an unsafe ingredient. While I prefer to use products that are all natural and organic, this is one ingredient I’m ok with because it’s created via green chemistry.

theresa says:

Kiss my Face list of ingredients is rather disapointing as well.

t says:

Have you heard much about arbonne products

Hi t,

Arbonne is definitely a semi-natural line, with many synthetic ingredients, some of which have some questionable research on safety etc. I used to use them but left in favor of a truly organic brand.

When a brand claims even to be certified organic, one must ask for more details. Certified to organic food grade standards are the highest possible safety and purity standards available.

Blessings,
Lacey :)

t
I was a Regional VP with Arbonne (with the company for 5 years) – with the changes in corporate came many changes in the product formulations. Look at the ingredients carefully. While they are not the worst on the market, they are not what they claim to be, either. I resigned last year and found a company with all certified organic products. They are from England, less than half the cost of Arbonne, truly certified organic and effective. My skin is very, very happy!
Wendy

Arbonne is awful! Their stuff is LOADED with toxic synthetic chemicals.

Also, Arbonne has refused to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics with EWG… that says alot in and of itself.

Kira Stones says:

And hear I was thinking that Neways was ok. So could someone tell me what exact ingredient (I”m new to the fancy names) is wrong? and why?

Hi Kira,

If you want to message me a specific ingredient list, I’d be happy to look it over for you and let you know what ‘red flag’ and ‘yellow flag’ ingredients I see. People send me ingredient lists for a second opinion all the time.

Lacey :)

Greg says:

Its quite obvious that there are people on this site that have something against Neways…If you do your research and not just listen to opinions from people you will discover that Neways have pioneered using sfe products for your skin and body for 25 years. Neways have never claimed to be all natural but they use SAFE ingredients and they work very effectively. Please Read the comment by Leonie April 2nd and search Dr Epstein on web and you will find out the truth…

Kira says:

Hi Lacey,
Shampoo –
Water (aqua), sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, decyl glucoside, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, citrus tangerina (tangerine) peel oil, ocimum basilicum (basil) oil, prunus serotina (wild cherry) bark extract, humulus lupulus (hops) extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, equisetum arvense extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, quillaja saponaria bark extract, butylene glycol, curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bis-demethoxycurcumin, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone.

Toothpaste
Sorbitol, water (aqua), hydrated silica, sodium coco-sulfate, xylitol, peppermint oil, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, calcium glycerophosphate, cellulose gum, sodium chlorite (stabilised chlorine dioxide), hydrolysed casein, sucralose, chlorophyllin-copper complex.

Thank you :)

Hi Kira,

These specific lists look better than most out there. I do see quite a few synthetic ingredients, which in my mind are ‘yellow flags’ just because so many synthetics have generally not been fully evaluated for safety, but almost nothing that I’d consider an outright ‘red flag’ – just the preservatives (methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone).

Unless I’m mistaken, Neways doesn’t claim to be natural, so there is not an issue here of greenwashing (unethical marketing practices, claiming something is natural when it’s not really). I believe they are pretty clear about being a blend of ‘science’ (synthetics) and nature.

Everyone has their own comfort level with synthetic ingredients. Personally, I prefer to take the precautionary principle and use truly organic products, but only you can determine where you fall on the continuum of synthetic-natural-organic and what you’re looking for in a product. In the case of these products, I’d use them up with no worry and then, if I wanted something more natural/organic, find a better alternative next time around.

The other thing to remember is that, until/unless you find a brand you can explicitly trust because their standards align with yours, you always have to read each individual product label. Just because these ones look better, doesn’t mean the company won’t have parabens or phenoxyethanol or amines or PEGs or what-have-you in another product.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,
Lacey :)

methylchloroisothiazolinone & methylisothiazolinone are pretty awful.

methylchloroisothiazolinone – Strong skin irritant and allergen. Has a Skin Deep rating of 6! It’s a known immune system toxicant & skin toxicant. It’s restricted in cosmetics in Canada and Japan.

methylisothiazolinone – Synthetic preservative. Extremely toxic to fish, some evidence it’s allergenic and cytotoxic (dangerous to cells), may be neurotoxic. It’s a known immune system toxicant, likely skin toxicant, chemically similar to Agent Orange. It’s use is restricted in cosmetics in Europe, Canada and Japan, but not in the US.

Thanks, Danika. Yes, as I mentioned, those would be the only “red flag” ingredients I see on that list. I do think it’s important though for people not to live in fear of these things. Fear and stress can cause cancer just as much as toxic chemical ingredients. And whether for budget reasons or “no waste” reasons, many people prefer to use up what they have and choose differently on their next purchase rather than pitch half used bottles and buy new. Because of the body’s awesome ability to detoxify, I like to encourage folks to finish up what they have, and be informed and aware for “next time” but not scared, stressed, or worried in the meantime. :)

Cathy says:

Thanks for the great article Jess. Thanks for getting this out there. Did you know that your article is being used by Brauer Natual Medicine on their facebook page to promote their own products? They adertise them as “natural” and use lines like “say no to nasties” but lots of their products have got ingredients that you’ve identified as harmful. For example, their baby products have things like propylparaben and methylparaben in them- you’ve listed these ingredients as harmful. They’ve put sodium cocoyl sarcosinate and phenoxyethanol in their baby shampoo. They also have phenoxyethanol in their skin lotion. As for their paw paw products, these have got hydrogenated castor oil and potassium sorbate in them. They call these products natural but looking at the lists of ingredients in their website shows lots of them are not natural. Grrrr!!

Jess says:

Cathy » Thanks for bringing this up Cathy! This is just the kind of greenwashing that annoys me. I saw your comment on the link – go you!! :)

Cathy, that’s nuts. Glad to see more people (you) are calling phenoxyethanol into question. It seems to be the most popular toxic synthetic being used to replace parabens. Have you seen the full MSDS on it? http://www.kvorganics.com/replacing-parabens. Sigh.

I agree. I see it in so many fake “natural’ brands and so many of them claim it’s safe and it’s not. It’s not the worst chemical a company could use, but it’s still one I prefer to avoid and recommend that children and adults of child-bearing age stay away from.

Cathy says:

Thanks Lacey. It makes me really angry to see companies calling their products natural when they’re plainly not. I always try to buy natural and organic when I can. I bought a Brauer baby product for my son last year, believing the natural marketing all over it but was very disappointed to find parabens in it. In a baby product! If enough of us consumers talk about these things hopefully something will happen.

Hi Cathy. Yeah, part of the problem, of course, is that ultimately we haven’t been given anything else but nature to work with in this world. So, even the most toxic synthetic chemicals are in someone’s mind, and in some respects in fact, ‘natural.’ The challenge is for each individual to come to a clear understanding of how he/she defines ‘natural’ and then to understand the industry definitions and terms well enough to find the brands that line up with one’s individual values. Easier said than done sometimes – usually involves asking lots of questions. But it can be done, of course. :o)

Cathy says:

Great points Lacey. Where I’m coming from is safety. I have two young children and I’m very concious of their vulnerability and the huge responsibility my partner and I have to make sure that anything I cook for them, any skin products, shampoos or medicines we give them are safe so that they have long, healthy and happy lives. If a company says says that their products are “natural”, we as consumers understand that to mean safe. If that same company then produces baby products and claims that they’re “natural”, I’m going to check that. If it’s true and I need them I’ll buy them, but not before I’ve checked. If companies put things like phenoxyethanol, parabens and other poisonous chemicals in products and then try to convince me they’re natural, I have a right to get angry anmd we as consumers have a right to be about it, The companies won’t. People like Jess will, and as parents and consumers we need to stand up for that. It’s not safe, it’s not right and it’s not honest.

Haley says:

Oh chemicals in kids stuff scares the bejeebas outta me! Parabens have been linked to blindness in children…blindness! Among so many other things like asthma and learning difficulties! Did you know that the Johnson and Johnson ‘no more tears’ range isn’t actually any gentler-it just contains a numbing agent so your child won’t be able to feel the burning! How evil is that?? Part of the reason I started my online natural skin website http://www.peachyclean.com.au I’ve sourced lots of great kids and mum-to be products, plus everything has a full disclosure list of ingredients so you can decide for yourself if there’s anything you’re not happy with. I’m pretty thorough with ingredients though-so it’s all good!

Jade says:

We stopped using the Alchemy shampoo because it has hydroxysultaine, cocoamphodiacetate …. and so on. What are these? Aren’t these some of the ingredients we’re supposed to avoid?

Haley says:

Check out the certified organic range by Savi for hair care, they only have one shampoo and one conditioner but they’re certified.

So true, Cathy. So true. When companies intentionally try to deceive customers into thinking a product is natural when it is very much synthetic and toxic, there is a huge ethics question. I think some customers and companies honestly just don’t know that truly organic product options even exist. I didn’t until I stumbled upon a great brand two years ago. After verifying all their claims, it was a no brainier switch for me. I’m with you – the fewer synthetic chemicals the better. And none is best. Look for food grade organic certification. :)

Hey everyone,

This particular blog thread has been going for some time now and it might be nice for us to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Jess, perhaps you could consider a post that focuses on making your own beauty products? I know you’ve mentioned deodorant before, but there are so many AWESOME foods that can be used as beauty products and the best thing is that we know exactly what’s in them and we can stop whinging about companies trying to swindle us.

My favourite do-it-yourself product that I discovered recently has to be HAIR SPRAY. Yes, hair spray, that’s usually full of a chemical cocktail and soooo hard to find in a natural brand. Just boil up some water and lemons (or oranges) and then when it’s reduced by half, strain through a clean chux or similar, and add some alcohol to preserve it and pour into a spray bottle (or keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks if you don’t want to add alcohol). I put my hair in a pony tail most days and need a little spray of something to keep the strays at bay, so I use this every day. And I LOVE my home made hair spray because I know there’s no crap in it. And my hair smells like lemons!

There are plenty of recipes on the net but here is one: http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-hairspray/

I’d love to hear if anyone else has some funky recipes for face masks, moisturisers or body scrubs just made from the fruit bowl or fridge….. I know there are some cacao ones out there… Mmmm. Chocolate….

Lisa ;-)

Lisa! Great recipe/tip! Thanks!

So true. There are lots of great DIY options out there for those who have the time and desire to do it. I think I would DIY more if I didn’t have my focus right now on learning to garden and some other areas of sustainable change. Since I’ve found a brand I do trust, I’m happy to buy from them to free up time to pursue these other areas though. And after referring 3 other people to the company, I was able to get my products free also, so now, ‘buying’ (earning free products) from them is actually even more cost effective than it would be to buy my own DIY ingredients in some cases. (Full disclosure, I have chosen to go on to also earn income as a WAHM working with them.)

Have you seen Crunchy Betty? She has some great DIY recipes with foods!

http://crunchybetty.com/

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets) says:

Thanks so much for the Crunchy Betty tip: not only does she have some AWESOME tips (how cool is the tips about the 23 drops of essential oil for disguising #2’s???) but she is HILARIOUS!! Loving her blog so much, thanks again for opening up my world a little more ;-) xxx

Lisa! You’re SO right! She IS hilarious. Love her. Great resource for those who want to DIY. Cheers. :)

Haley says:

Ooh DIY hairspray! So going to try this! Fabulous Lisa! xxx
PS I love Avocado and Honey masks for hair and face-always fab…and yummy ;) xxx

Amanda says:

Does anyone know anything about a brand called Shea Moisture? I use the baby products. The ingredients listed on the products seem to be ok but I was wondering if anyone had any additional info as I never feel comfortable trusting the labels.

I like them as they state that they are free from parabens and harmful chemicals. They also smell amazing as opposed to the other “natural” baby products I’ve tried.

I would love your thoughts on this line and even recommendations on other lines/ideas for toddlers. I’ve had many of my mommy friends tell me they still prefer to clean their toddlers with just water, but my little one has a ton of hair and is feeding herself and I don’t feel like water alone does the job anymore.

Thank you!

Their ingredients aren’t too bad. Mostly natural. However, when it comes to babies, I think it’s safest to use certified organic only. Even all natural brands can have pesticide residue and a baby’s developing system is very sensitive. I’d avoid any and all chemical exposures that I can control with babies. And that includes products that you use if you are breastfeeding.

As for the ingredients, I don’t like that they are using frankincense as it is severely endangered. To my knowledge, there is no source right now for sustainable frankincense.

Also, they use Japanese Honeysuckle Extract, which, according to this article: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2010/5/8/the-final-word-on-japanese-honeysuckle-extract.html

“contains a highly concentrated amount of a naturally-occurring compound called parahydroxy benzoic acid. Parahydroxy benzoic acid is nearly identical to parabens on a chemical level, and has been shown to display estrogenic activity in the body, just like parabens do. This estrogenic activity isn’t quite as strong as synthetic parabens, however, it is still active.” Anything with estrogenic activity is best avoided, especially for babies who are counting on their hormones not being interfered with or mimiced for proper development.

Amanda says:

Thank you so much! Do you have a brand for toddlers that you trust or other cleansing ideas that would work for hair and body?

Amanda, take a look at our baby line at NYR Organic. We have a full line of baby products. Everything we make is certified organic by the Soil Association in Europe. My website is http://www.us.nyrorganic.com/shop/wendy. Let me know if you have any questions. You will see every ingredient listed on our website. Wendy

Hi Wendy, do you have a link for what the Soil Association standards are exactly? I thought they allowed some preservatives and synthetics such as phenoxethanol etc.??

The Soil Association isn’t that strong of a certification. They let in quite a few synthetic ingredients and many of them are ingredients of concern. True organic certifiation as most people understand it is organic to food standards. The USDA and Australian Certified Organic standards are the highest standards and are nearly identical.

Yes, any certified organic brand should work. It doesn’t have to be a baby line. Formulators of organic brands not only are going to be free of pesticides, GMOs, and synthetic ingredients, I have found that the formulators are very mindful of ensuring every ingredient is gentle and effective. The brands that I trust the most are Miessence (full disclosure, I do sell Miessence. You can click the link above to get to my website), Bubble and Bee Organics and Earth Mama Angel Baby (this is certified to cosmetic standards, not food standards but is still very good).

Are you in Australia? I know Miessence will ship there as it’s created on the Gold Coast. I’m not sure about the other 2, but it’s worth looking at.

Hey Danika! Thanks for the info on frankincense. I didn’t know it was endangered. :(

You’re very welcome. There are a few others as well that are endangered but still used frequently. I wrote about them a while back. Here you go: http://www.greenwala.com/community/blogs/all/20911-Endangered-Essential-Oils-Regularly-Used?f=true&q=endangered

Peachy says:

Weleda and Vanessa Megan do great ranges for baby products. The Vanessa Megan Baby Bum Bum Balm nappy rash cream is awesome on hands and heels too-super healing plus all the baby lotions and shampoos are great to use on adults too. Heaps of safe baby options here Amanda! xxx http://www.peachyclean.com.au/collections/mum-baby

Kirra says:

Hi again,
I found this a very interesting read,
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/business/johnson-johnson-to-remove-formaldehyde-from-products.xml

But when I looked at the baby johnsons products formaldehyde wasn’t an ingredient? Is Hidden under another name?

Ingredients for baby shampoo are

Water
Decyl Glucoside
Cocoglycerides
Sodium Coco-Sulfate
Coco-Glucoside
Glyceryl Oleate
Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate
Glycerin
Xanthan Gum
Sodium Benzoate
Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose
Fragrance
Citric Acid
Sodium Hydroxide

Could you please also talk me through the other ingredients?
P.S I don’t use Johnsons, never ever ever EVER will!

Hi Kirra,

As for that ingredient list… I see a few synthetic foaming agents (surfactants), of which I believe coco glucoside is the safest. It’s a non toxic green chemistry foaming agent synthesized from corn and coco. Can give you a link to a video where it’s discussed if you’d like. Not sure about the others, but my “rule of thumb” with synthetics is, guilty until proven innocent. I’m not a chemist, but I know how to read a label to figure out if something is truly natural or organic. :). The sodium benzoate is a food grade preservative, but is not allowed in organic foods and has some studies of concern, I believe (I just avoid preservatives in general). And of course, the word “fragrance” is a big red flag in my mind. It’s an industry loophole word which could be hundreds of chemicals rolled into one nice little word “fragrance.” Unless a bottle specifically says “fragrance from essential oils” I avoid anything that has “the f word.” :)

Hope that helps?

Lacey :)

You won’t find formaldehyde in the ingredients because it isn’t an added ingredient, it’s a contaminant that’s created during the manufacturing process. Therefore, companies aren’t required to list it on the label. Sadly, this means you need to know which ingredients are formaldehyde donors to know how to avoid it.

Kirra says:

And if I had of read the article properly the first time I would have seen answered my own question.

‘In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition that includes the Environmental Working Group, analyzed the contents of dozens of products for children and found that many items contained two substances of particular concern: formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane. Consumers won’t find either listed on the back of their shampoos or lotions because neither is technically an ingredient.

Formaldehyde, which last year was identified by government scientists as a carcinogen, is released over time by common preservatives like quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin, which do appear on labels. And 1,4 dioxane, which has been linked to cancer in animal studies, is created during a process commonly used to make other ingredients gentler on the skin

Hi Kirra,

The process the article references that creates 1,4 dioxane as a toxic byproduct is called ethoxylation. Avoiding anything with “eth” or “meth” or PEG will help you steer clear of it.

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Lacey, you can find that information on the Soil Association’s website (www.soilassociation.org). However, just because they allow an ingredient (with permission) does not mean we use it. If you check our ingredient lists, you will find that the ONLY plastic in our products is the bottles – LOL – and they are post-consumer recycled plastic! (We are a green company with a carbon neutral footprint). Again, ALL of our ingredients are on the website and on our bottles – nothing to hide. And we have achieved Champion Status with EWG. Check it out! Wendy

Hi All,

Have you seen the new book by Kristi Marsh yet, called “Little Changes”? It’s quite in line with the vibe of this discussion thread. I’m raffling off a book club set of six autographed copies at the end of this month (deadline to enter is 8/28), if anyone is interested. :)

http://www.kvorganics.com/little-changes

Blessings,
Lacey :)

Julie says:

This posting needs a little bit of clarification. A few corrections about the safety of some of the ingredients that have been listed as “crap”: (just a few picked for time reasons)
* Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride – an ugly name for a simple Guar Gum that is derived from plant sources. It is used to thicken products and create the ‘feel’ that consumers like. It adds some conditioning benefits also.
* Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate – Coconut derived. The gentlest of sulphate surfactants. This ingredient is can cause low levels of irritation when used in high dosages. (But so can salt, sugar, and many natural oils)
* Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate – a surfactant. Sulphate free. Naturally derived. If you want foam then this type of ingredient must be used.Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is known to be very gentle to the skin, even at very high concentrations it remains non-irritating to even sensitive skin types.
* Cocamidopropyl Betaine – a surfactant. Sulphate free. Naturally derived. If you want foam then this type of ingredient must be used.
* Cetearyl Alcohol – naturally derived conditioning wax that gives you the slip and conditioned feel to your hair and skin.

So before you think that a ‘chemical’ name is bad for you, you need to do your own research to understand what the facts are.

Also, if you want foam in your shampoo – it will contain a surfactant. Every surfactant has a registered level of irritation – they need to, to be able to clean

Silicones – they are in found in the beauty industry but also the food industry. We cook with it, give our babies silicone dummies, and it is found in some foods. It is one ingredient that creates instant consumer satisfaction as it creates the soft, silky texture that people desire – nowadays, it is also light weight, water soluble and does not impact your hair colour, etc.

may says:

Hi Lacey

I noticed on the mi essence website that no preservatives are listed in your product ingredients. How then do you keep out all the nasties in your water based products such as shampoo and conditioner? I see you list Rosemary extract but that is only an anti-oxidant and has absolutely no effect whatsoever on fungi, yeast and bacteria that water based products are a breeding ground for unless preserved properly. What is the shelf life on your shampoo?

Hi May,

I actually happened to have the product formulator sitting in my living room just an hour ago, before she headed to bed – she’s here on a speaking tour – and she said that the preservative ingredients are all listed on the labels, and that ‘a hint’ is… ‘it’s a fruit.’ :) … Orange.

I can’t personally speak to the technical aspects of HOW she has achieved food-grade (for most of the products – see video below for explanation of different certifications used by Miessence *), organic certification, with zero synthetic preservatives, but I can vouch for the products from personal experience over the years.

In fact, when I first heard of Miessence, I contacted the USDA and ACO to verify their claims – they checked out. Then searched the internet for “Miessence and mold” to see if there were complaints of the products going funky. Nothing. Decided to tried the products myself. Became a very happy customer. Referred a few friends, got my products for free, went on to work with them for a WAHM income because I believe in what they are doing in the world, their products, their mission, their voice and commitment to education with zero sales pressure or marketing hype, etc. Just really highly respect them (Narelle and the other founders). And it’s been over two years now, and I’ve had no problems with products going funky.

Shelf life is also extended by the fact that they make the products fresh every month and ship direct to customers worldwide. Very different than most companies that require extremely long shelf life. Even still, the bottle of shampoo I just got this month says expiration date Nov 2014 unopened, and use within 6 months once opened.

Having thought for years that “synthetic preservatives are just a necessary part of these types of products,” I now know that it is possible to achieve effective products with a great shelf life and no synthetic preservatives.

Great stuff!

Blessings,
Lacey :)

* For more details on their ingredients and certification standards, check out at least the first two videos here – http://www.kvorganics.com/online-store

Gina M. says:

Great site! I’m doing research on organic skin care products. Has anybody used Envy Organics or know anything more about their ingredients?

Hi Gina,

Until or unless you find a formulator who can personally and fully trust, it will always come down to checking individual product labels even within a given brand. I just glanced at a handful of Envy’s products, and they look pretty good, though definitely a case of ‘using a couple organic ingredients’ as opposed the product itself being able to be considered (or certified) organic. I see a few synthetic preservatives but none of the most concerning ones. But I also only glanced at 4 or 5 of their products, not their whole catalog. If there is a certain product you’re considering and want a second opinion on the label, feel free to post it here or send my way.

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Gina M. says:

Lacey,

Thank you for your reply!
I am going to see if I can get more specific product ingredients. I appreciate your willingness to take a look at it for me.

Gina :)

Anytime, Gina. Feel free to post here or message me through my blog or whatever is easiest for you. Happy to look over any ingredient list anytime. However I can help! Cheers! :)

PS – Gina… If you’re interested, I’ll be raffling off $50 of organic products on my blog at the end of September…

Kirra says:

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this website? Are the results accurate?
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Hi Kirra,

Here’s the deal with Skin Deep as I understand it. It’s a great idea in theory, but in practice, it has some flaws that people need to keep in mind.

1- Companies, brands, products, and formulas change often enough that it can be difficult for a non-profit to keep up with this info. Some companies volunteer their info to EWG, others don’t. It’s important to cross check the ingredient list on EWG with the current ingredient list of the product your considering from the company’s website.

2- Check the data gap. Many ingredients are listed as ‘0’ but have a data gap of ‘none.’ Their recent update of the site makes this more apparent then it used to be in their formatting, but it’s still an issue. A product might receive an overall low score, but it could just be because there is no data on it. “Mind the gap!” Check the data gap, not just the score.

3- It doesn’t take into account proportions in formulations. For example, it lists the potential risks associated with vitamins, even though our bodies obviously need vitamins. (But, of course, synthetic vs whole food nutrients is a whole ‘nother discussion! I’m not a fan of synthetic vitamins at all.) And even though I prefer to avoid synthetics even if they are in ‘accepted’ proportions, this is still an issue to keep in mind when using the data on Skin Deep.

Personally, I think it’s great for getting an idea of product safety, IF one keeps in mind the points above and thinks critically about what one reads there.

I think it’s even more useful for checking out a specific ingredient to see what studies have or have not been done on the ingredient in question.

Hope that helps?

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Lana says:

Hi girls,

I heard a few people ask about alternatives. I work for Endota Spa and theres a few across Australia now (spas) and their products/ingredients are Australian and all over 70% CERTIFIED ORGANIC (difference between really organic and just classed ‘natural’) and the rest of the ingredients are still from an organic source but is is apparently quite hard to “certify” something 100% Organic once all the ingredients are put in a box/container and on shelf and expect it not to go off once we open the lid. But anyhow-they use aloevera juice instead of water (most cosmetics use water as the main component even if youre paying heeps of money) which is good for us and our skin, they also smell amazing like real food, and as for preservatives they use food grade ones rather than the nasty ones, as well as coconut instead of foaming agents like sodium lauryl etc.

Just a suggestion cos ive used them and know the ingredients :)
p.s- shame about aveda hey!

Lana says:

Hi girls,

I heard a few people ask about alternatives. I work for Endota Spa and theres a few across Australia now (spas) and their products/ingredients are Australian and all over 70% CERTIFIED ORGANIC (difference between really organic and just classed ‘natural’) and the rest of the ingredients are still from an organic source but is is apparently quite hard to “certify” something 100% Organic once all the ingredients are put in a box/container and on shelf and expect it not to go off once we open the lid. But anyhow-they use aloevera juice instead of water (most cosmetics use water as the main component even if youre paying heeps of money) which is good for us and our skin, they also smell amazing like real food, and as for preservatives they use food grade ones rather than the nasty ones, as well as coconut instead of foaming agents like sodium lauryl etc.

Just a suggestion cos ive used them and like the ingredients :)
p.s- shame about aveda hey!

Shari says:

Hi, I have been into all natural and organic living for a while now. I have just stumbled upon this website today and would like to say how happy I am to find like minded people/community. I now buy most of my skincare and cosmetics plus home care from health food/organic stores and some online. However, I find that these brick and mortar stores are always tiny, jam-packed with products and at times not very shoppable! I am so frustrated that I am now thinking of setting up my own store specializing in only natural/organic skincare and cosmetics products including fragrances for both women and men that has ambiance and with a difference. The shop I have in mind would be inviting with lots of space, mirrors, chairs and testers for customers to try products comfortably without constantly being in the way of other shoppers and bumping into someone else! There are quite a few all natural/organics fragrances out in the online world but you need to physically smell it before buying but no stores carry it. I want to get my feelers out and get feedback from like minded people like everyone in this forum as to your opinion whether we do need brick and mortar retail shops like this in Australia? Do you feel the same frustration and would like to see something along the line I have described above being set up? Please let me know.

Juanita says:

Does anyone know of an organic sunscreen?

Hi Juanita. Sun*screens* are basically always chemical in nature – meaning they use synthetic chemical sunscreen ingredients. Your best bet is to find a physical blocker – a mineral-based sun*block.* A non-nanoparticle zinc oxide sunblock will be your safest option – zinc oxide provides the broadest protection.

Technically, since zinc oxide is a mineral and not an agricultural ingredient, a sunblock product will not meet organic standards (I go by the food standards when it comes to the term ‘organic’) for a multi-ingredient product to be called organic. It may have organic ingredients, and I would definitely look for one that has organic ingredients, but if the mineral content is above 5%, then technically the product itself is not organic because minerals aren’t agricultural ingredients. Does that make sense?

I love and use the Reflect Outdoor Balm from Miessence. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am now a rep for them also because I loved being able to trade a little referral work for free products. And I have gone on to work for them further to earn income as a work at home mom, but even just as a customer myself, I love and recommend Miessence.

But that’s just me. It is pretty easy to make your own sunblock if you want to do it. Check out this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzsqkTthl64

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Juanita –

NYR Organic has 2 certified organic sunscreens. The first is Wild Rose Daily Moisture SPF 30 (for face) and the other is Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 for body. You can check out my website for more information.

Wendy

Melanie says:

Has anyone heard of, used or no much about the newways products. I’ve been using them but I’m not 100% convinced they are all they say they are, I’ve tried to find information about them but all I’ve been able to find is information they have released. Ant thoughts or information would be appreciated.

Hi Melanie. I’ve looked at their ingredients in the past and can easily look over any specific ingredient lists of products you might be considering currently, if you’d like another eye on them.

I *think* (not sure) that their marketing claim is ‘science and nature’ – not ‘all natural’ or ‘organic’ etc., which would line up with their lists since they use quite a few synthetic ingredients (not necessarily toxic, though some that I’m not terribly comfortable with myself).

What is ‘all they say they are’ in your view? What claims have you heard (for example, do they claim to be ‘science and nature’ or ‘non-toxic’ or ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ or…)?

And what are you looking for in products (what’s important to you amid these types of claims)?

Let me know, and if you’d like, I’d be happy to help you determine a) if their claims match up with their ingredient labels, and b) if they line up with what you personally want in (or out of) your products.

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Anna says:

Hi Lacey, have you heard of World Organic? They are a New Zealand company that claims to be all natural. I have a few of their face products which are lovely. http://www.worldorganic.com.au. I’d love to know what you think?

Hi Anna,

They are certainly better than most conventional products out there, and they are ‘certified organic,’ BUT just be aware that whenever you see the term ‘certified organic’ used, you *must* ask, “Certified by whom and to what standards?”

The issue here is that there are somewhere around a dozen or so different ‘standards’ all vying and competing to become THE organic standard for cosmetics. Many of them have been created by manufacturers within the personal care industry.

While ‘certified organic’ … ‘to cosmetic standards’ is still going to be better than the conventional toxic product brands, and in some ways they do help the overall trend toward organic agriculture worldwide by increasing awareness and demand, you have to do some digging. To me, that’s all well and good IF they are very upfront and intentional to educate their customer base on the certification standards they use and what that means. Where I take issue is when some companies intentionally use that buzz phrase ‘certified organic’ knowing fully well that most customers’ minds will think of the *food grade* organic standards when they hear this – and then they neglect to clarify that the standards are not the same. Indeed, many of the cosmetic standards allow toxics that would never be allowed in the food standards.

These particular products you mention are certified by Eco Cert, which is generally considered to be the weakest, least stringent of all the ‘organic’ standards. Requiring only 10% of a product’s total content to be organic.

Notice the Eco Cert spin at the bottom of this page…

http://www.worldorganic.com.au/product-details.aspx?prodid=86

“We are proud that the entire range of R___ V___ products is certified organic by Ecocert. This guarantees that a minimum of 95% of our plant ingredients are organic in each product and that our products and ingredients are internationally endorsed for their purity and quality.”

If you were just skimming that, you might think, “Oh good! 95% minimum organic content, just like the organic standards I’m used to looking for in food.”

But it does not say that, does it? It’s not 95% of the total product volume. It’s 95% of the plant ingredients.

Then you see in the ingredient list… Benzyl Alcohol Dehydroacetic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Xanthan Gum (my note – xanthan gum – it’s more ‘synthetic’ like a cake mixed from various organic ingredients would be considered ‘man-made’ – could be ok but it really should be non-gmo!), Decyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol… Cocamidopropyl Betaine…

Definitely synthetics in there – most of which would not be allowed in the organic food standards, and some of which have some well documented and significant concerns. If you want more details on any of those ingredients, let me know.

There are a growing number of products out there nowadays that are certified organic to the highest possible standards – organic food standards. If that’s what you want for your health and the health of the planet, look for the ACO seal.

Ultimately, you have to decide what you’re comfortable with and what you’re looking for in ingredients, functionality, value (including things like price per ounce, how long it lasts, business practices etc), and marketing ethics. And when you are fully informed and aware of the various nuances in terminology (such as ‘certified organic’) used in the industry, you’ll be able to find products that line up with what you want.

Hope that helps?

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Holly says:

Does anyone know if Sukin, the Australian skincare brand is legit in their claims to be organic and ‘natural’ and so on?

Hi Holly. Looking over their ingredient lists, their products could not be considered organic. For organic claims, look for international food grade certification to be sure, such as the ACO seal. But, I don’t see organic claims on their site either, so there may not be a case of false marketing here.

They do claim ‘natural’ very clearly, but the word natural is tricky and it is unregulated so it can be used in a variety of ways legally. Whether it lines up with what you want depends on how you define ‘natural’ personally. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple, and different people have different ideas of what that word should mean. Most people I meet define natural as ‘existing in or formed by nature, not artificial.’ However, the cosmetics industry worldwide defines it as ‘any chemical that can be derived from nature’ – which would ultimately be everything since nature is all we have to work with on the planet. :)

Sukin clearly uses some synthetic chemical ingredients, but I don’t see any of the real badies – the ones that would trigger ‘red flag’ concern in my mind. Only one of their synthetic preservatives concerns me especially; look up the MSDS for phenoxyethanol – I’m not a fan and prefer to avoid this ingredient personally (you can read my thoughts on this particular ingredient on my blog http://www.kvorganics.com/replacing-parabens if you’d like).

The rest of their synthetics that I saw at a quick glance fall into either the ‘well studied and more or less proven safe and non toxic’ category (not everything that is synthetic is necessarily toxic, and not everything that is truly natural is non toxic), or the ‘probably safe, but there haven’t been sufficient studies done yet to know for sure’ category.

So, then you just have to determine if their use of the word ‘natural’ lines up with your philosophical views on the word and go from there. :)

Hope that helps?

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Holly says:

Thanks so much Lacey, and thanks for your link, I’m looking forward to checking out your blog.

Anytime, Holly. Happy to help. :)

Haley says:

Hi Holly!
If you look at the 4th ingredient in the Sukin Bodywash PEG150 is listed. PEG’s are toxic and I would definitely avoid these synthetic nasties ;) For a similar price point I would look at both the Weleda http://www.peachyclean.com.au/collections/weleda and Australian Bushflower Essences (nothing over $30-pretty fab ;) http://www.peachyclean.com.au/collections/australian-bushflower-essence ranges-both of these ranges are actually certified and of much better quality. With Sukin you kinda get what you pay for ;)

Holly says:

Thanks Haley! It can sometimes be a warning signal when a product is so inexpensive. Thanks for the recommendations.

Oooo, Haley! Good eyes! I missed that one. Obviously only quickly glanced at a handful of products and not their whole line in the few minutes I had yesterday. Yes, I’d definitely avoid PEGs. Just goes to show, until/unless one knows and trusts a formulator personally (and even then), label reading has to be done on each individual product within a given brand. Thanks! :)

Juanita says:

What about Natures Quest. I know it’s not certified organic but I was wondering if the ingredients list is ok. Thanks for the information about Sukin, my sister uses it and gave me some recently for me and the kids. Guess I’ll be throwing it out.

Hi Jaunita,

Well, I see sodium hydroxymethylglycinate in their baby care among other synthetics… Generally, I prefer to avoid anything with ‘eth’ or ‘meth’ or ‘peg’ in the name.

Here is a good write up on that particular ingredient.
http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2012/6/28/sodium-hydroxymethylglycinate.html

I did not look at anything beyond their baby care. If a company has baby care, it’s the first place I look. If there are potential toxins even there, I don’t bother looking much farther usually; though in fairness, it does always come down to individual product ingredient lists.

As is the case with the multitude of ‘natural’ brands – they are better than the conventional options, but there are a growing number of better, truly natural alternatives out there.

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Holly says:

Hi guys, I’ve another question that you might be able to help with please.

Lauryl laurate. It is in a petrochemical-free paw paw lip balm (http://www.healthycare.com.au/product-paw-paw-lip-balm). Is it just another way of saying sulfates, or is this ingredient okay?

Thanks,
Holly

Hi Holly, I’m not a chemist, but I believe it’s a vegetable *derived* (aka synthetic) emulsifier. EWG lists it as a ‘0’ but there is no data listed either. (And of course, the EWG database is not perfect – has its flaws for sure.) So, it’s likely in the category with most synthetic ingredients in personal care products – it may be fine, it may not, no one knows for sure. If you are among those who prefer the ‘precautionary principle’ approach to synthetics, there are certainly other, truly natural/organic options out there. Cheers. :)

Holly says:

Thanks once again Lacey :)

Elisha McDonald says:

Thanks for this information! I have always tried to seek out natural products but only recently have I started checking the actual ingredients with an awareness of what to look out for… am SO disappointed by Aveda which i used to justify spending more on because its so ‘NATURAL’ and good for me. Recently my husband bought me a huge (and crazy expensive) gift pack of products from AESOP. Which are so called plant based and natural, they look and smell divine until I read the back for the ingredients. I don’t have the list of ingredients with me to provide but they had quite a few of those nasties including SLS … I feel its just so wrong for companies to make these false claims and charge such high prices. I have no issue paying more for products that are true to their word and full of high quality ingredients. I wish more people could be made aware of these toxic companies and likewise more aware & able to support those companies who are truly providing ‘GREEN’ products… thanks for helping to do this!

Hi Elisha (hope you got the email I sent you, in response to yours).

So true. I take little issue with the companies that say “science and nature” or use other such lingo. I don’t like their ingredients, but at least they are more honest in their claims.

It’s the ones that claim natural or organic that don’t have labels to back it up that really bug me. Unfortunately, most are just using buzz words to try to get market share. Even the many brands now coming out with certified organic products, unfortunately, are often just adding these right along side their toxic conventional or fake natural products. That says to me they aren’t truly committed to the principles. They just want market share.

I think that’s what so impressed me about Miessence when I found them. I dug for 3 weeks, contacting the ACO, the USDA, Greenfleet – verifying their claims. I poured over their marketing. They were upfront, honest and not hypey about anything, they had the labels and third party certifications to back up their claims of “certified organic to the highest possible standards,” and their marketing is totally education and service based. I really admire that, which is why I’m their very happy customer and now also an equally happy Rep. I love being able to help people evaluate any brand, happily giving thumbs up wherever due, and for those who are interested, to offer products that truly live up to the standards so many of us are looking for nowadays. ;o)

sophia says:

I am totally in luv with this blog. I knew Aveeno, Nivea and Aveda products were suspect and I’d honestly never heard of the others but it’s good to be informed. It’s best to stick with the simple things in life, like Alafia’s Shea Butter Soap and EVOO or Coco O for moisture. And imagine how our significant others would feel about the showers and vanities not being overrun numerous “beauty” aides.

Pixie says:

Fab post!
Never imagined Bio-oil or the Morrocan Oil contained nasties.
Very very informative.

Skye says:

I used to use Bio oil and it gave me eczema. NO WONDER! My Nan was also reacting in the same way .. I use Paw Paw .. scrap that. USED TO , its going in the bin right after I hit post . Thank you for the article Jess.

Katy B says:

Wow – so many comments to get you thinking. i’ve only just discovered this entry. Try 100% pure and organic (Ecocertified) Argan Oil based skincare products from http://www.TheArganSpa.com. The best thing about the Argan Spa’s oil is you can use on your hair skin and nails – fabulous stuff!

Sandy Cardy says:

Hello
Can anyone tell me if the skin care line called John Masters Organics is something you are familiar with and what do you think of the ingredients? It is made in US – in New York I think.
thank you
Sandy

Hi Sandy,

At quick glance, they look pretty clean. Not “THE” cleanest or purist I’ve ever seen, but he definitely comes across genuine and committed to these principles – as opposed to so many companies that just have their ‘organic’ products alongside their toxic conventional lines purely because they want market share instead of being committed at the core.

I like that you can easily tell which of his products are certified organic to food standards (look for the seal) and which are ‘made with organic ingredients’ (the product itself not being considered certifiable for various reasons). I see some food grade preservatives that aren’t allowed in organic foods, but they are certainly better than the more common preservatives in cosmetic products (phenoxyethanol, parabens, etc). Again, at a quick glance, particularly in say, the shampoo, I see a number of synthetic ingredients that are not known ‘super badies,’ but not necessarily proven innocent yet either – might be fine, might not. Just makes me wonder if he is using those ingredients for functionality, or for a less expensive product, or…? (I’ve seen much cleaner shampoo ingredient lists, that work quite well, and are not that much more expensive considering how many fewer synthetics they use).

But, overall, his products are certainly way better than conventional products and ‘natural’ products, and better than many other ‘organic’ products – just not as clean as other ‘certified organic to food standards’ type lines.

Side note – even when you hear ‘certified organic’ in this industry, you really have to ask ‘certified by whom and to what standards exactly?’ All the certification standards are NOT the same. While all are helpful in some respects to the overall organic movement, you just want to make sure you know and understand what you’re getting and that it aligns with what you want (ie, do you want a cosmetic standard, or products that meet food grade standards, etc?).

So again, overall, if someone really wanted to use these particular products, I don’t see any big red flag reasons why they shouldn’t.

Hope that helps,
Lacey :)

Ramona Redwood says:

Hello, I found this page when I was trying to find info on polybutelene piping, if it was safe to drink water from (a topic for another day). I find this very interesting and have spent a lot of time reading labels on everything, thus causing traffic jams at the supermarket. What would be interesting is if you gave an explanation with the ingredients. I have not come to many strong conclusions. For every site says its bad, another says its good!!! My policy is to not buy it if I can not pronounce it. But some times the wording sounds so good. And I love bees wax, they are now the only wax I will use in candles.
Happy to find you
Ramona

Ramona, that’s my general policy, too. If I can’t pronounce it, or don’t have verifiable information that it’s non-toxic (to me or the planet), then I’d prefer to just skip it. The old precautionary principle. And there are plenty of truly organic options out there nowadays – though of course, you have to really dig into the label and/or look for reputable certifiers to see past all the greenwashed marketing on the vastly larger number of false natural and organic products. Even when you hear “certified organic,” you really have to ask, “By whom and to what standards?”

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Lise Racine says:

The Herbal Gardener offers ‘reallly natural hand-made skin care with Demeter certified calendula. They are ecologically sound, made on the farm, artisan created with finesse and passion.. Have a look and see the ingredients for yourself.

It was part of an episode of Gardening Australia in August 2012 (episode 21).

I started making these products for my four daughters because I wanted to offer them alternative to all the commercial products on the market. It has since develop into a business where I offer the products at reasonable prices.

Kristen says:

Hi,

Can anyone tell me if Neways is safe. Are they really a company that you can trust? Just a few things I have read on the net have me wondering if they are really safe, non toxic and trustworthy?

Kristen

Hi Kristen,

They have some ingredients that I’d prefer not to use personally, but I’m someone who personally leans toward as organic as possible. This does not necessarily make them “untrustworthy.”

To my knowledge, Neways has never claimed their products to be “all natural” or “organic.” I believe their marketing is pretty clear as “safe, non-toxic” and “science and nature” (ie, synthetics and natural ingredients).

The confusion here is that most consumers these days, or at least a growing number of us, equate “safe and non-toxic” with “natural and organic.” This of course is not necessarily the case – there are a relative handful (out of 12,000+ synthetics) of synthetic chemicals that are safe, non-toxic, renewably sourced, green chemistry, etc. And there are plenty of things in nature that are toxic – lead, poison ivy, arsenic…

The confusion comes on whether or not synthetic chemicals are safe, and which ones are or are not in what proportions etc. There are some that are “red flag” ingredients out there, which Neways likely does not use (I’d have to check their ingredient details again, it’s been a while – fee free to send me a list or two if there are certain products you’re considering). But there are many more that are “yellow flags” out there, in which cases, sufficient research just hasn’t been done and they (Neways, or any other semi-natural company) may use.

(This lack of research is what leads me to personally apply the precautionary principle with regard to synthetics, trust Mother Nature, and go as organic as possible).

Bottom line is, you have to determine your level of comfort with the “yellow flag” (long-term safety ultimately unknown) synthetics and then decide if you want “natural and organic” (which is a whole ‘nother discussion of what those terms mean and the many confusing ways they are used in the market place today!), or if you want “safe and non-toxic” natural or synthetic. And then, find companies that line up with what you want – and make sure you ask lots of questions and double check the labels to verify their claims.

Hope that helps?

Lacey :)

PS – If you’d like, I have a free, detailed report on these issues on my blog… http://www.kvorganics.com/personal-care-consulting/free-report/

Hey there! I’ve been following your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Colorado. Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

Sarah says:

Jess,

I recently became a consultant for NYR Organics. I am wondering what your opinion is on their products. They claim to be organic, gmo free, no nano, paraben free, no animal testing, and certified fair trade. They have a decent review on EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, but you never know. Me, being new to the realization of the garbage I have been lathering on my face, I am hoping to get some advice on this line that seems alright.

Thanks, Sarah

Hi Sarah,

NYR is certainly better than most conventional brands on the market. They are not the most organic option out there (ie, they are not certified to food grade standards as other lines are; check their organic percentages and synthetic ingredients vs food grade 95% min and no synthetics etc), and last I looked, there were a couple ingredients in their formulas that I prefer to avoid, BUT… When you research on their website carefully, they seem to be pretty thorough and upfront about their ingredient policies and why they use what they use etc. Which is good.

As long as you fully understand what the product standards are and how to communicate it clearly to your contacts, you’ll be fine. The problem comes in when independent reps for any ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ product line make it seem more natural or more organic than it really is. If you love the products and are careful to educate your contacts on what they are really getting, no worries.

Wish you the best in your new venture!

Cheers,
Lacey :)

Alisha says:

Just curious… what makes you say lauryl glucoside is toxic? I have read absolutely no research regarding this.

Carrie says:

Thank you for this information. You might want to remove the following ingredients from the list or perhaps change your opinion on many of the “natural” brands you advocate:

-Lactic Acid (Jurlique) is found naturally in milk as well as in our bodies, also present in Gaia products.
– Tocopheryl Acetate (Nivea) is the chemical name for Vitamin E and it’s good antioxidant. Find it in lots of products you rave about.
– Cetearyl Alcohol ( Nivea, Natures Organics) – an emulsifier used by many brands you love including Gaia, Wotnot, Mukti and La Mav.
– Cocamidopropyl Betaine/Cocobetaine (Jurlique, Aveeno) – Surfactant that is also present in Gaia Baby, Mukti and La Mav ranges.
– Phenoxyethanol (Aveeno) – Preservative that is also present in the Gaia Baby range.
– Glycol Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Glyceryl Stearate and Stearic Acid (Aveda, Aveeno, Natures Organics) – thickeners and “pearliser” also present in the Gaia, Wotnot, Mukti and La Mav ranges.
– Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool (Bio Oil) – these are natural components of plant essential oils and will be present either listed or unlisted in many of the “natural” products you advocate.
– Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (Jurlique) – a surfactant also used by La Mav.

Either these ingredients are not actually “harmful” at all or your Holy Grail brands like Mukti, La Mav and Gaia are not that wonderful after all.

Gaia Baby Moisturiser:
Purified Water, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCEROL STEARATE, Organic Soybean Oil* Grape Seed Oil, Organic Shea Butter*, Cocoa Butter, Organic Rosehip Oil, Organic Wheat Germ Oil*, Tocopheryl (Natural Vitamin E), Organic Calendula Extract*, Organic Chamomile Extract*, Organic Avocado Oil* Organic Evening Primrose Oil*, LACTIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Amino Acid), And The Pure Essential Oils Of Organic Lavender*, Organic Sweet Orange* Organic Chamomile*, LIMONENE AND LINALOOL – Components Of Pure Essential Oils.

Gaia Baby Shampoo:
Purified Water, DECYL GLUCOSIDE (SUGAR), DISODIUM COCOAMPHODIACETATE (COCONUT), COCOAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE (COCONUT), Guar Gum, Vegetable Glycerine, Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), LACTIC ACID, Organic Chamomile Extract*, Organic Avocado Oil*, Organic Evening Primrose Oil*, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Amino Acid), PHENOXYETHANOL (AMINO ACID ), And The Pure Essential Oils Of Organic Lavender*, Organic Sweet Orange* And Organic Chamomile*, LIMONENE AND LINALOOL – Components Of Essential Oils

WOTNOT baby lotion:
purified water, glycerin, CETEARYL ALCOHOL (vegetable emulsifier), STEARIC ACID (vegetable emulsifier), olive oil, cocoa butter*, shea butter*, jojoba oil*, flaxseed oil*, rosehip oil*, essential oil of rose, chamomile oil, sweet orange oil*, certified gmo free vitamin e, panthenol, xanthan gum, sodium citrate, grapefruit seed extract, natural fragrance.

Mukti gentle foaming cleanser:
Certified Organic Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice; SODIUM COCOYL GLYCINATE; COCOBETAINE; Certified Organic Aqueous Extracts of Bladderwrack (Fucus Vesiculosus), Calendula (Calendula Officinalis), Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf, Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense), Nettle (Urtica Dioica), Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis), Sage (Salvia Officinalis) & Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium); Xanthan Gum; Certified Organic Essential Oils of Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia), Petitgrain (Citrus Amara), Geranium (Geranium Maculatum), Sweet Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) & Peppermint (Mentha Piperita); Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid & Sorbic Acid; Salt (Sodium Chloride).

Mukti botanique conditioner:
Certified Organic Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice; Certified Organic Aqueous Extracts of Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita), Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) & Lime flower (Tilia Cordata); Certified Organic Glycerin (Vegetarian); BEHENTRIMONIUM METHOSULFATE; CETEARYL ALCOHOL; Hydrolysed Soy Protein (non GMO); Argan (Argania Spinosa) Kernal Oil; GLYCERYL STEARATE; Certified Organic Honey (Mel); Certified Organic Essential Oils of Lavender Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia) & Mandarin (Citrus Nobilis); Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) blend preservative.

La Mav Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser:
*Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice; DECYL GLUCOSIDE; COCOBETAINE (Coconut Derived); *Glycerin (Vegetable); Sodium Levulinate; Sodium Anisate; Bisabolol; *Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Extract; Xanthan Gum; Glyceryl Caprylate; Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract; *Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) extract; Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract; Ascophyllum Nodosum; SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE; *Carica papaya fruit extract; *Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract; LACTIC ACID; *Eleutherocous Senticosus (Ginseng-Siberian) Extract; Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A); D-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5); *Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Oil; Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Extract; *Althea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract and Essential Oils of *Citrus Sinensis (Orange Sweet), *Cymbopogon Martinii (Palmarosa); and *Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit).

La Mav Bio VA5 Daily Wrinkle Smoothing Creme:
*Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice; *Rosa Damascena (Rose) Distillate; *Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil; GLYCERYL STEARATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate; Vigna Aconitifolia Seed Extract; Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate; *Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia) Oil; Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Dextrin; Glyceryl Caprylate; *Glycerin (Vegetable); Chlorella Vulgaris Extract; Pisum Sativum Extract; Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract; Cassia Alata Leaf Extract; *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil; *Daucus Carota (Carrot) Seed Oil; *Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Seed Oil; *Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Pulp Oil; Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E – plant derived); *Avena Sativa Kernel (Oat) Extract; Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract; *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter); Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Extract; *Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract; Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract; *Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil; Essential Oils of *Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli), *Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium), *Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) and *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender).

Malia S says:

Hello from Virginia!
I just found your website and I’ve instantly fallen in love. You have such great information and bring up some really good points I’ve never even thought of before! I’ve only just recently started going organic, starting with the No-Poo method for washing my hair (it started falling out and I’m only 19!), and slowly changing other aspects of my life.

My question for you is this: what are your opinions on Burt’s Bees? I’m not sure if you have it in Australia, but it’s very popular over here in the US and is constantly toted as being all-natural. Are they all they claim to be? I’ve done some research, and for the most part they seem to live up to their claims. However, I’m new to all this and have no idea if what I’m looking at is true or not.

Great job on changing your life! I hope I can do the same.

I use Neways, TrueTouch and Hydracial Anti-aging system simply because I can trust these brands :)

Kris says:

I just came across this piece–very informative! It’s funny, because I just published a review of a Burt’s Bees product that had what I considered a pretty okay ingredients list . . . right up to those last four, at which point it all fell apart. Here’s the review, I’m curious what you think of the product: http://www.epinions.com/review/burt-s-bees-coconut-foot-creme-pack-of-3/content_628119670404

Lily Mei says:

I’ve been conned by Lucas Paw Paw Ointment. It’s marketed to make you believe it is just fermented paw paw. Will *never* buy this product again and will use some more self responsibility in identifying the ingredients in future. Thanks Jess.

Tina says:

Hi Jess,
I was just recently introduced to Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment and have be trying to find out more about it. I noticed that you mentioned that it is Petroleum based. I was wondering what makes Petroleum harmful and what makes the other ingredients in the ointment harmful as well?

Courtney says:

hi all! Have read through pretty much this whole post and replies – very informative and inspiring! Just wondering if anyone knows about the Kora Organics range? (the skincare range by Miranda Kerr, who always spruiks a 100% organic lifestyle…. but does her line live up to the claim?) Anyway i have tried before and loved the cleanser and moisturiser, but it might be organic but doesn’t mean there aren’t other chemicals added. any info would be great, thanks!
Courtney

Taylor says:

I am so cranky about the Lucas Paw Paw ointment. I bought it for the first time the other day, looking for a natural product that I could use as a lip balm and to soothe my dry fingernail cuticles etc. Only to go onto their website afterwards to find out that it’s basically Vaseline. I feel stupid now because I really thought it was just fermented fruit :(. I almost feel like taking it back for a refund, but it’s really not worth it for a $5 tube. It’s more the principal of the matter. They pretty much market it as being a completely natural and safe product, when it’s not!

M. says:

:O Paw paw?? Actually I do remember once thinking why the label says PApaw rather than PAW paw. Maybe not spelling paw paw properly lets them off the hook legally since they are not making claims?
Thanks so much for this post, very informative.

Vanessa says:

Another brand that I’ve found to be not as organic as they claim is Sukin Organics. The harmful ingredients in their original moisturiser are:
Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20,Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Vanillin, and Linalool.

narelle says:

Hi,
I enjoyed your website- a couple more brands on my list not to buy. There are so many battles to fight these days and I decided to pick one cause that is really important to me- palm oil. Anyway, I have been emailing back and forth with Lucas Papaw who swears that their product doesn’t contain glycerine/ glycerol/ glycerin (this is where the plam oil comes into play). Just wondering where you got their list of ingredients from? So confusing, I really get the feeling they are lying black and blue because in their emails they say they don’t use palm oil but their website does not say this.
Thanks for your time.

Jerica says:

Until recently, I too assumed that products labeled “organic” or “natural” meant exactly that. I was used to reading food labels but not beauty labels. I am thrilled to have found an actual certified organic skin/body care line that has been certified organic and IS all natural: NYR Organic (Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic) – based in the UK. The difference between the US and the UK is that the US does not have any type of certification process to verify the authenticity of anything labeled “organic” here in the US, unfortunately.

It’s can sometimes feel very frustrating looking for a brand that takes as much care over it’s ingredients as the marketing may suggest. We set up (www.the6thsense.co) precisely for this reason and we know there are others out there who care about the ingredients as much as they suggest.

Keep scrutinising those ingredients, and demanding the very best- there are options though it can be disheartening sometimes!

Mary says:

I agree with the Neways products personal care! They are amazing! My skin has never been better and I’m not as young as I used to be :-P Just like the others have said “Natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “safe”. I’m not a scientist so how could I tell whether all those other brands are “safe”? But I have more trust in a company like Neways that has reputable Scientific Advisory Board and scientists that work hard to create “safe” ingredients day in a day out. I know some people who use bi-carb in their own facial scrubs cause it’s “natural” but they have no idea how much they are truly damaging their skin! :-/

Shan says:

Hi there – can you please clarify what you mean by “harmful” ingredients? Yes the majority of these ingredients are synthetic, thereby negating the “natural” claims of the manufacturer but a lot of them are not harmful. Not natural does not harmful make (even though I much prefer 100% natural ingredients).

Also some of the ingredients you have named ARE natural and for example, are just the chemical constituents of essential oils.

I like the concept of what this article says and don’t mean to be critical but the execution is not so good and not very scientific.

Shan

Essence says:

Unfortunately this tends to happen when larger organisations jump on the bandwagon for easy profits margins with the lastest trends and buzz words such as organic and natural. They know majority of people just look for the main key words such as organic and natural and do not read the key ingredients!

Mahdi says:

Hi Jess,
I agree with everything you said here. It’s the same here in US. I started a small business importing organic Argan oil from Morocco to the States. And because I am from Morocco and precisely from the region where argan trees grow, I can identify the real and fake argan being sold in the market. Since my family grows and harvest Argan, my wife encouraged me to start this business and to inform the public. Informing the public is very hard simply because the big companies selling argan products are spending tons of money in marketing their stuff as natural and organic.
I am a strong believer that whatever goes on your skin does into your body which has been scientifically proven.
A lot of customers bought pure argan oil (nothing added) from us (SheerArgan) and mixed it with their own choice of natural ingredients because they want to make sure they are putting the right things on their skin and/or hair.
Thanks for this awareness campaign .
Mahdi

Sarah Neilson says:

Fabulous. Such a helpful article. Have “favourited” your site for future reference X

Meg says:

Your list is exhaaaaaaaaausting! I make many of my own shampoos and conditioners…being all natural- and some of the items you have listed as bad, I’m not sure you are so familiar with. Plant extracts and such ARE natural. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad? You give a list yet, don’t talk about why ‘you’ think they are bad ingredients. Yes, some clearly not great. But stearic as a natural oil extraction (in which I do) is not bad. Please inform your readers why you think these ingredients are bad if you so dare to compile a list such as this.

DD says:

You might need to add some of the ‘natural’ brands to this list too as some of the claims seem to be as fraudulent as those of the mainstreamers. For example, the 100% Pure cosmetics products being promoted as natural, organic and vegan are actually NOT certified as either organic or vegan and DO contain preservatives and chemically derived ‘natural’ ingredients! Not so natural after all…
http://thebeautybrains.com/2008/08/09/how-pure-are-100-pure-cosmetics/
http://www.paulaschoice.com/beautypedia-skin-care-reviews/by-brand/100-pure?sort=product&direction=asc&pageNumber=1&pageSize=25&brand=100-pure

Megan says:

Hi! I am in desperate need of answers. Are the follow ingredients good or bad?

1. Decyl glucoside
2. Lauryl glucoside
3. Coco betaine

Please help! Thank you!

Thee says:

Neways have never stated their products are all chemical free. But what they done is they have removed the worst ones and many more making them leading the way to make it a safer place for people to purchase safer products. I am now almost a fibromyalgia free from using their products. Could not recommend them enough :-) :-) :-)

Nia says:

jurlique isn’t 100% natural but it most definitely is a natural company.
here are the ratings for each ingredient on environmental working group(ewg)slow.

Decyl Polyglucoside=0, Cocamidopropyl Betaine=4, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate=2, sodium cocoyl glutamate=0, lactic acid=4, guar hydroxypropyltrinonium chloride=0

Great website information well done. I believe we make the first Totally Natural Skin Care products in Australia. Thanks to people like yourself that are taking the time to provide the information about harmful chemicals in skin products we are helping people to wake-up to just how bad they really can be.

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