I started moving away from big-name commercial beauty products in 2012, but it was still a surprise to me to read that not ALL “organic products” were truly “organic.”
In No More Dirty Looks, there’s a section which mentions that companies are not required to conduct safety tests of ingredients in their products. Neither are they “regulated about what they put on product labels” (Mint & Berry).
This means that a company could (misleadingly) call their product line “XXX Organic” by placing a very small amount of organic herbs in a base of petrochemicals, toxins, and harsh preservatives. As this paragraph states:
“The word ‘organic’ should not be used unless the product ingredients as well as the manufacturing process are certified as organic by a USDA recognized certifying agency.”
~ Chagrin Valley (a great, truly-organic company)
Most commercial soaps / body washes / shampoos use harsh foam boosters such as sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). These substances are used in personal-care products because they are very cheap.
SLS is used in household and car cleaning products. The product ingredient “fragrance” contains compounds that are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic, indicating the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients.
Are HAZARDOUS, synthetic chemicals really substances we should be putting on our skin?
I don’t know what every single scientific study has to say about SLS, but I have sensitive skin that is quite, quite reactive.
The only proof I need is that SLS-based shampoos and soaps irritate my skin — they give me acne, eczema, and cause more of my hair to drop off — whereas products from organic companies like Desert Essence, Chagrin Valley, and Sappo Hill don’t give me half as much trouble.
It is important to me to support businesses that are ethical, socially and environmentally-conscious.
Why should we support companies who aren’t interested in the health and safety of the customers/consumers who keep them in business? Is it too much to ask for a soap that DOESN’T irritate the skin, and shampoo that DOESN’T make hair fall out?
To make the point clear: I’m going to spend my money elsewhere on companies I am happy to support. I’d rather pay a bit more for a quality, gentle but effective product that works well than end up with the stress of skin irritation/etc. — and having to spend more to try and “treat” those symptoms instead of eliminating the products that were aggravating those issues in the first place.
To me, healthy/happy hair and skin speaks a lot more than sleek advertising or clever copywriting.
Some (un-Photoshopped) pictures to demonstrate:
// July 2011 — This is a picture of me looking a bit “defeated” in 2011. It’s not the worst case of acne I’ve ever seen, but seriously, trying to get the skin to clear up was a really big headache at the time. ProActiv and some expensive products dried out my skin and made it worse. The problem improved once I started to tackle the real issues.
// January 2014 — My hair is thick/wavy and used to frizz up VERY easily. It’s become more manageable now (not super dry, clean, no fly-away strands). I like being “quite” low-maintenance with my hair and don’t like to dye it, flat-iron it, or put any chemicals/product into it. Best of all, the Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner make less of my hair fall out (I am currently using the “tea tree shampoo” and “coconut oil conditioner” from DE).
// January 2014 — Nowadays I don’t put any synthetic chemicals on my face. I use organic olive oil as a cleanser, oatmeal and raw honey as an occasional scrub, and use plain water some days. I get the occasional pimple during PMS — or if I go overboard with chocolates/cookies — but it’s a lot better than having a face completely covered with red marks.
This really makes me think about all the Time + Energy + Hope + Money + STRESS I wasted on face/skin products which promised miraculous results (and never worked). Seriously, WTF?!
I am very grateful to everyone who’s spoken up on the subject of organic vs. commercial products, which is why I decided to write a blog post on this topic too :)
Have you had good experiences with natural/organic products? Post a comment or email me to share the news!
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* Websites with More Information:
(1) Skin Deep: Cosmetics Database (the world’s largest personal care product safety guide, by EWG)
(2) Empowered Sustenance (Lauren shows you how to “eat well and heal”)
(3) The Love Vitamin (Tracy shows you the way to clear skin, a healthy body, and a happy soul)
* Check out some of these lovely organic companies:
(1) Desert Essence (I use their deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and lip balm)
(4) Vermont Soap (I’ve not used their products yet…but I would)
(5) BRAGG (100 years+ in business)