When consumers choose to purchase beauty products with a cosmetic label marking them as either “natural” or “organic,” you are
likely believe that they are choosing healthy, earth-friendly products. However, knowing how to properly decipher labels reveals that cosmetic products labeled as “natural” or “organic” are not always as beneficial as they seem to be.
Regulations concerning natural beauty products do not exist yet in the United States. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture would like to establish regulations in regards to cosmetics, the definitions of “natural” and “organic” are very lax when it comes to beauty products.
One trick that companies use when deeming a cosmetic product “organic” or “natural” is including these words on a cosmetic label along with a percentage. For example, a shampoo may be labeled as seventy percent organic. However, water is considered an organic ingredient. This means that the company is misleading the consumer by claiming the product is organic when it really is just water-based. There may still be a long list of harsh chemicals on the label, but the fact that many cosmetics are water-based allows dishonest companies to get away with mislabeling their products without fearing legal action.
Since it is nearly impossible to tell whether a company is being honest about their “natural” or “organic” cosmetic labels, it’s up to the consumer to become familiar with reading labels and understanding various ingredients. Because there are so many different ingredients present in cosmetic products, the best way to understand the ingredient is by looking each up individually.
There are some basic ingredients consumers should avoid when purchasing any cosmetic product.
These chemicals are listed under a variety of names on cosmetic labels. Studies have linked the use of cosmetics containing parabens to breast cancer. Listed below are some common parabens found in cosmetics.
Many synthetic dyes have carcinogenic qualities, meaning that they contribute to the development of cancer. Because of the lax regulations on cosmetic labels, products labeled as “organic” or “natural” may still contain synthetic dyes. Dyes can usually be identified by the inclusion of a color name in the ingredient.
There are many more ingredients to be avoided when purchasing cosmetic products. Consumers can only protect themselves by reading labels and doing the proper research necessary to avoid harmful chemicals.
At this point in time, the only way to guarantee the safety of a cosmetic product is by doing extensive research or by purchasing products that are manufactured in a country with strict labeling regulations. Currently, Canada and countries that are part of the European Union have much stricter standards regarding organic and natural cosmetics as compared to the almost non-existent regulations present in the United States.
Unfortunately, many companies manufacturing cosmetic products in the United States are dishonest about the ingredients in their products. “Organic” or “natural” beauty products are not necessarily completely made from safe ingredients, and consumers must be aware of common dishonest labeling practices to protect themselves.
Guest writer Jessica is a specialist in cosmetic label development. When she is not writing for LightningLabels.com, you can find her cooking up a storm in her kitchen.