Natural VS Safe Ingredients: What Matters When it Comes to Our Beauty Products?
By Michael Ambacher
We all want to look and feel our best – but finding the right products to support that isn’t always easy. We often worry about the ingredients in our products and whether they could cause harm.
With so many products on the market, it’s hard to know which ones are truly safe.
Just recently, many of us were alarmed to find out that our dry shampoos could pose a serious threat. The FDA announced a nationwide dry shampoo recall due to “elevated levels of benzene” in dozens of aerosol products, including items from trusted names like Dove, Suave, and Bed Head. That’s the same ingredient found in cigarette smoke and gasoline!
This chemical should not have been in the shampoos and legal action has been taken. However, there are still plenty of other harmful ingredients that are intentionally put into products on the market.
The worst part? Many of these products are still advertised as “natural” or “green.” Unfortunately, those words do not necessarily equate to safe – and we need to be more vigilant than ever about what products our families are using.
What Is the Difference Between Safe and Natural?
“Natural” ingredients are often seen as the healthiest choice when it comes to skincare products. However, it is important to note that some natural ingredients can be just as harmful to the skin as synthetic ones. For example, many so-called natural products contain high concentrations of botanical extracts that cause irritation, dermatitis, and photosensitization.
Always do your research on any ingredient before using it on your skin – even if it’s marked as “green” on the product packaging. Don’t just take a company’s word for that their ingredients are organic or safe, especially as brands jump on the greenwashing bandwagon.
What Is Greenwashing?
“Greenwashing” is the practice of making a product appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is, likely to target certain consumer groups. Brands know that most of us are looking for safe, eco-friendly products, and they’ve changed their advertising strategies since the 1980s accordingly.
According to GreenPrint’s 2021 Business of Sustainability Index, up to 64% of Gen X consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand, and that figure jumps to 75% among millennials. It’s no wonder brands want to appear “green,” whether they truly are or not.
Unfortunately, many products are not as wholesome as their manufacturers want you to believe. Some may even contain ingredients that are harmful to human health or the environment.
Watch out for fluffy language and brands that throw words like “eco-friendly” and “natural” around without backing them up. Look up the ingredients and determine for yourself if the product is actually safe or if it’s just another example of greenwashing.
Why You Should Shop Vegan Beauty Products
Instead of focusing on natural healthcare, you might want to start shopping vegan.
Vegan skincare is becoming increasingly popular as people are becoming more aware of the environmental and health benefits that come with it. Shopping for vegan products is a great way to ensure that you are making sustainable and ethical choices when it comes to your skincare routine.
Here are four reasons why you should shop vegan for your skincare, rather than just natural:
- Vegan products are more likely to contain natural ingredients that are actually safe and gentler on the skin.
- Vegan skincare items use far fewer synthetic chemicals and are free from harsh ingredients and toxins, making them a healthier choice for your skin and body overall.
- Most vegan skincare products are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins. Plant-based vegan skincare products will have a high level of natural vitamins and topical supplements that will aid your skin’s health, allowing them to combat any free radicals that are damaging your body.
- Vegan skincare products typically don’t have questionable ingredients. Additionally, their ingredient lists tend to be shorter, which allows you to fully understand what you’re putting on your body.
What Does It Mean When a Product is “Cruelty-Free”?
Many people wonder if vegan and cruelty-free are the same thing. Let us explain.
Cruelty-free products are those that have not been tested on animals. They are produced using ingredients that have been ethically sourced and do not involve animal testing at any stage of the production process. On the other hand, vegan products simply mean the product does not contain any ingredients derived from animals.
So, the two terms are not interchangeable – but it’s best to shop for products that are both vegan and cruelty-free.
Animal testing is not the only way to ensure that beauty products are safe for human use. In fact, it may soon be obsolete. There are several alternatives available that allow companies to develop and test products without subjecting animals to unnecessary harm.
One of the most popular alternatives is in-vitro testing, which uses cell cultures instead of live animals. This method allows scientists to study how a product interacts with cells in a lab setting, giving them valuable information about the safety and effectiveness of a product without relying on animal testing.
In addition, companies can also use computer models and simulations to predict how a product will interact with human skin. This approach can eliminate the need for animal testing altogether, allowing companies to create safe skincare products without harming any animals in the process.
How to Tell If a Product Is Really Cruelty-Free and Vegan
Unfortunately, there are no real standards for labeling products as “vegan” or “cruelty-free,” which means the terms can misleading when plastered on skincare and beauty products. The best way to determine if the labels are accurate is to look for a certification from a trusted organization.
Vegan Action, PETA, The Vegan Society, and the Vegetarian Society all conduct audits and accredit companies that are truly committed to cruelty-free and vegan practices.
The Bottom Line
Trustworthy skincare, cosmetic, and hair products are essential for daily wellness. We all want to find products that consist of safe, natural ingredients to help keep our skin healthy and free from damaging agents.
The use of safe skincare products is no longer a trend, but an absolute necessity for our bodies and our families. Pay attention to your products’ labels and read beyond their surface-level descriptions.
About the Author
Michael Ambacher is the General Manager and COO at Original Sprout. Original Sprout was founded in 2003 and has grown to be the leading and trusted collection of shampoos, conditioners, styling, and body care products that are safe for the entire family. Started with the vision of keeping families and those with sensitive skin safe from harmful and toxic ingredients. Each product is formulated with integrity by including nourishing & protective extracts from fruits, vegetables, and flowers, excluding irritants such as parabens or phthalates. Effective and clean family products that everyone can trust.