Natural Bath & Body Products: Do You Know What’s in Your Bathroom?
Decode the Ingredients in Your Bath & Body Products
In the beauty industry,anything goes. Wild claims of youthful restoration are common. “Natural,” “organic,” and “green” are words that have almost completely lost their meaning when it comes to bath & body products, and the bad news is there’s (almost) nothing the government can do about it.
If we’re on our own in this wild frontier—and we are—it makes sense to come to the beauty aisle prepared to do battle against outrageous marketing, retouched photos, and product descriptions created to confuse and inspire you to buy bath & body products based only on what the manufacturer wants you to believe.
What is “Natural?”
Natural bath & body products can refer to anything packaged with a flower on the label to a formula made entirely with plant-based ingredients. As consumers we have to be responsible for doing our own research into this perplexing marketplace.
You may have already discovered—the hard way—that green, natural, eco-friendly, and organic mean different things to different manufacturers. The only way to find out what those seductive labels really mean is by reading the ingredients yourself. You don’t need to be a chemist, in fact it’s probably better if you’re not, because the simple truth is that bath & beauty products that really are natural will feature an easy to read list of ingredients. If you can’t decipher what went into it, you probably don’t want to put it on your skin.
Decipher the ingredient list
Ingredient lists are compiled based on the amount of each ingredient in the product, and are written from highest to lowest percentage. With that knowledge you are better armed than the majority of consumers when it comes to debunking the natural claims on your bath products.
Similar to choosing healthy foods, cleaning products, and clothing, buying natural bath & beauty products is a simple matter of choosing the product or brand that contains ingredients you can pronounce, high on the ingredient list. Don’t rely on what the front label or the box or the ads tell you. Soothing claims of “lavender infused,” and promises of “shea butter,” “essential oils,” and “green tea,” take on a different meaning when you turn to the ingredient list to investigate their claims for yourself and see that lavender is listed at the very bottom of the ingredients, while the first 20 ingredients are all unpronounceable chemicals.
Here’s a little secret…
Many beauty care manufacturers only add a small amount of “natural” ingredients to their products so that they can be marketed as such. They are only required to add half a percentage of any ingredient to legally be able to highlight it in their marketing claims. Savvy marketers know that it would be pretty tough to sell lotion, soap, or bubble bath to consumers if they were honest about the toxic chemicals they’re made of. But, they also know that manufacturing natural products is more expensive, and so they’ve developed this somewhat deceptive practice.
Certified organic bath & body products
In an effort to crack down on the beauty industries abuse of the word “organic,” the USDA created a certification system that you can recognize by its organic product seal on the label. If you see that you can be confident that your product is 95% certified organic. Any product containing 70% to 94% organic ingredients will feature a seal with the phrase, made with organic ingredients.”
Certified natural products
The Natural Products Association created a certification system for the vague “natural” beauty product category. Like the USDA before it, only products containing 95% natural ingredients can display a seal of certification.
Do a background check on bath & body products
Research the Environmental Working Group’s rankings of tens of thousands of personal care products to find out how your favorite bath, body, and cosmetic brands rank on safety.
Today, it’s easier than ever for eco-conscious consumers to live a completely natural lifestyle. From the way we clean our homes to the products we keep in our bathrooms and on our skin, all it takes from us is our willingness to stay educated about the brands we purchase and the impact they have on our health and our planet.
What natural bath & body products do you recommend? Share your favorites with us here or chat with us on Facebook today.