A Natural Products Buyer’s Guide

Confusing and misleading information is rampant in the cosmetics and personal care industry. Capitalizing on lax requirements, standards and regulations surrounding cosmetics and personal care products, many companies engage in a practice known as “greenwashing” to make their products more appealing to consumers. Terms like “safe,” “organic,” “green,” “botanical,” “pure,” “free” and “natural” are undefined in the cosmetics industry and serve as no guarantee that the items you purchase don’t contain toxins and/or harsh chemicals.

Did you know that…

  • Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox
  • Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive
  • Neutrogena is owned by Johnson & Johnson
  • Aveda is owned by Estee Lauder
  • Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oreal

The list goes on and on.

Companies often expend a great deal of time, money and effort to create displays and packaging in veiled attempts to convince the average consumer their products are natural and safe. Remember that ingredients are generally listed in order by quantity. Avoid products that have high quality ingredients listed last. If the desirable ingredients are listed last, there is often very little of them in the product.

You should always:

  • Look beyond the attractive display and packaging and read the label (including fine print on the back label)
  • Know who actually owns the companies you support
  • Remember your high school chemistry class and question ingredients that you don’t recognize
  • Familiarize yourself with both beneficial and harmful ingredients