Beauty Buzzwords: What Do They Actually Mean?

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We all want to keep as healthy and eco-friendly as possible, and with all the not-so-innocent products we’re exposed to, this can be extremely difficult. A lot of us see terms on the packaging of health and beauty products, such as “organic”, “natural”, “non-toxic”, and tend towards these thinking that they’re inherently better choices. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what such terms actually mean. Here’s a closer look at these common buzzwords…
Natural
Legally speaking, the term “natural” means absolutely nothing when it’s printed on a health or beauty product’s packaging. It’s a totally unregulated term, and can sometimes be nothing but a cheap marketing ploy! In a lot of cases though, it will mean that the formula has at least some natural ingredients. However, a product that carries the “natural” stamp can sometimes be 30% synthetic ingredients. The next time you see a product marked “natural”, check what’s in it. You may see a lot of things created in a lab, like nitrocellulose and ethyl acetate. If you’re lucky, you may find a few natural ingredients buried right at the bottom. When you’re checking the ingredients, it’s generally a good sign if you find a lot of Latin names, such as sodium cocoate (saponified coconut oil).
Organic
While many other friendly-sounding terms are nothing but marketing hype, “organic” is one that you can usually trust. The use of this term is actually highly regulated, and legally, means that the product or a specific ingredient has been certified by the USDA. However, reading the word “organic” isn’t always a sign that it’s totally safe. If it’s sold in the States, there should be a logo accompanying its claims of being organic. If you can’t find one of these, then the brand may find itself in hot water with the government very soon! If you’re ever unsure about something you pick up in a store, it’s worth going online and learning more about hair products and cosmetics in your own time. However, if you do see the logo, you’ll be able to rest assured that all the organic products have been grown and processed under strict standards, with no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and no genetically modified organisms.
Non-Toxic
This is a fairly recent term we’re seeing spring up on different kinds of packaging. Just like the term “natural”, this isn’t regulated at all, and as a rule of thumb you should take it as pure marketing. When a company claims that their products are non-toxic, it simply means that they haven’t used any ingredients that have been linked to toxic responses in humans, such as cancer, hormone disruption, and neuro-disruption. Though most big brands won’t risk being caught out, there are still certain toxic ingredients you should be looking out for. Formaldehyde, coal tar, petroleum, and lead acetate have all been found in commonplace products like nail polish, moisturizers, and shampoo. Though many products can be taken for their word, always read the label, and find out what you’re exposing your body to!

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