When it comes to searching out truly natural and/or organic personal care products and beauty supplies, don’t just trust the labels and names. In other words, to ensure you are really getting a 100% natural personal care product, you need to read the ingredients. Understandably, when you find a particular skin or hair product company that you are pleased with and have verified to be committed to organic and all natural products, your “ingredient investigation” will not require you to be as in-depth as you will need to be when first scouting the pure from the impure products.
What's good to know is that companies who manufacture organic and 100% natural skin and body care products usually specialize in just that. An organic certification requires absolutely everything to be organic - from the fields to the manufacturing plant. Therefore, companies like Aubrey Organics - one of the most successful and reputable manufacturers of organic skin and body care products in the world - sell entire lines of organic products. Another good example of a successful and naturally minded company is Tom's of Maine.
While personal care products from companies like these can be trusted, what about all the other companies out there manufacturing and selling pseudo-natural products - oftentimes marketing them as if they are really natural? Most consumers, after recognizing several natural ingredients listed in a product will assume it is safe to buy. However, it only takes just one synthetic ingredient to cause allergic reactions and/or long term health ailments. If you know what to look for, you are a step ahead of the pseudo-natural manufacturers. Aubrey Organics has published a booklet listing the top ten cosmetic (skin care and hair care) products to avoid. Look for them next time you are mulling over which body care product to buy. They are:
Methyl, Propyl, Butyl & Ethyl Paraben - Used to extend shelf life and inhibit microbial growth. Studies show them to be estrogenic and absorbable through the skin. Known to cause rashes and allergic reactions.
Diethanolamine (DEA) & Triethanolamine (TEA) - Amines that after making contact with Nitrates turn into cancer causing nitrosamines. Used as emulsifiers (water and oil binding agents) and foaming agents, DEA and TEA can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and skin/scalp dryness.
Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea - Preservatives shown in studies to be the primary cause of contact dermatitis. Germall II and Germall 115 are trade names of these chemicals - both of which release toxic formaldehyde.
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate - A harsh detergent widely used because it is very cheap. Used as a cleaning and foaming agent in shampoos, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate causes several allergic reactions, scalp scurf, eye irritation and skin rashes.
Petrolatum - Otherwise known as petroleum jelly, this has no nutritional value whatsoever and is strictly used as an emollient to soften and smooth the skin. Ironically, Petrolatum creates the conditions it seeks to alleviate, because it interferes with the body's own natural moisturizing processes.
Propylene Glycol - Although this should be vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, it is often a synthetic derivative, called PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol). Both of these chemicals cause eczema, hives and other allergic reactions.
PVP/VA Copolymer - A petroleum derived chemical often used in hair products known to be toxic when inhaled in the lungs.
Stearalkonium Chloride - Often used in hair conditioners and creams, the quaternary ammonium compound Stearalkonium Chloride was originally developed by the fabric industry to soften clothes. It is used in personal care products because it cost cheaper than proteins and herbals.
Synthetic Colors - Many synthetic color dyes can be carcinogenic. Labeled as FD&C or D&C with a number, these should be strictly avoided, especially if present in foods.
Synthetic Fragrances - These may have in excess of two-hundred ingredients in them - non of which are shared on product labels. Synthetic fragrances are known to cause headaches, coughing, dizziness, vomiting and skin irritation to name a few. Avoid using any product containing synthetic fragrances.