The Problem with "Natural" Products – Being a Conscious Consumer

The Problem with "Natural" Products – Being a Conscious Consumer

The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:

How many personal-care products do you use on a given day? Three, five, ten…more?

Do you know what’s actually in the products you’re smoothing on your skin, putting in your hair, or spraying around yourself and then inhaling?

The average person uses ten personal care products every day, and most don’t even realize the cocktail of chemical ingredients they are exposing themselves to on a daily basis. There is a growing number of people, though, who are becoming more informed and concerned about the products they use.

Are You Informed?

Organizations like the Evironmental Working Group and Healthy Child, Healthy World are helping to spread the word about the effects that toxins have on our environment, our bodies, and our children.

As consumers become more aware of the issues with personal care products and the lack of testing done on ingredients regularly used in conventional products, the companies that make these products are catching on too.

Have you noticed that words and phrases like “natural”, “pure”, “naturally derived”,  and “organic” are becoming more and more popular on all different types of cosmetics and personal care products? Did you also know that there are NO regulations over labeling on personal care products? So basically, a company can slap any word or phrase they like on their products to make them more marketable and more attractive to the consumer.

Are You a Conscious Consumer?

It is very important to be a conscious consumer as we choose and use personal care products on ourselves, and also on our children, whose little bodies are more affected by the toxic ingredients found in so many conventional products. Whether you set a green goal for the new year, or are just ready to change your personal care products, here are some tips for making sure that the products you use are safe for you and your family.

Don’t be fooled by claims and labels.

Even though a product claims to be natural, pure, or organic; it might not be. “Greenwashing” is when a company makes their products seem more safe, natural, and green, simply to market them to consumers who are trying to “go green”.

Make your own beauty products at home.

The best way to know exactly what’s in your products is to make homemade beauty products.  I use homemade deodorant, the oil cleansing method for washing my face, and have made homemade lip balm and healing salve. I love their short and safe ingredient list.

Familiarize yourself with toxic ingredients.

You need to know what to look for when you’re reading the product label. When you know which ingredients to avoid, you will be able to make good buying decisions.  The cosmetic database has a helpful printable guide with a list of toxic ingredients and products, and remember to avoid these toxic ingredients in your personal care products.

Read the Ingredients.

Before you purchase a personal care product, be sure you read through the list of ingredients on the back — just like you should do with food.  One rule of thumb I have heard is, if you don’t know how to pronounce any of the ingredients, you shouldn’t buy it, but I think that can be misleading because there are some perfectly safe ingredients that have long or chemical sounding names.

By intentionally seeking out and buying personal care products that are truly safe and natural, you are voting with your dollars; telling companies that it IS important to use safe ingredients, and not just market their products by slapping a misleading label on them to make them more appealing.

Do you read the labels on your personal care products? How do you “vote with your dollars” for beauty products and other products?

Emily McClements strives to live with compassion and caring for creation in a way that will impact the world. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.
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