When did ‘natural’ become so unnatural?

Did you know that here in the EU, there are no regulations governing use of the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ in cosmetic labelling/branding? You can (if you have very little in the way of moral conscience) produce a cosmetic ‘health/beauty’ product that contains only a tiny amount of organic matter – and sell it to the consumer as ‘organic’.

Boots (the parent’s favourite no??) did this just recently – in 2012 the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) investigated Boots ‘little me organics oh so gentle body wash’. They concluded that the label was misleading, as organic ingredients made up only 5% of this product. And there are other culprits. Nivea ‘Pure and Natural’ handcream, is found to contain an ingredient (Methylisothiazolinone if you must know….) which is suspected to be carcinogenic. Organix ‘coconut shampoo’ apparently contains no organic ingredients whatsoever. According to Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, “Ingredients ofetn found in antifreeze, floor cleaner, oven cleaner and car oil, and ingredients banned in children’s food and toys  are making their way into non-certified beauty products labelled as organic or natural due to a lack of industry regulation”

Oh. My. Lord.

I have a massive issue with this. Massive.

Seems that if you are big enough, brash enough, and (of course) high-profile enough, you can make any (very loosely termed) ‘beauty product’ out of any load of toxic old crap. And call it ‘natural’. Am i right?

I dont want to frighten you or anything – but here is a list of non-organic ingredients that the Soil Association has found in products labelled as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’:

  • Non-natural Propylene Glycol (PG): active component in antifreeze, which might cause brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.
  • Methylisothiazolinone: found in laundry detergents, liquid dish detergents, cream cleansers, all-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, floor cleaners, countertop sprays, stain removers, linen washes, room sprays, air fresheners, carpet shampoos, and wipes.
  • Parabens: made from a petrochemical and has been linked with breast cancer, such as methylparaben.
  • DMDM Hydantoin: this is a preservative that releases formaldehyde.
  • Phthalates: used as an additive to PVC (polyvinyl chloride products to make them flexible, and to personal care products to make fragrances last longer. These have been banned from use in children’s toys, and can also be found in paint and packaging.
  • PEGs – (polyethylene glycols): are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Found in oven cleaners. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases.

Now then, each and every single product that i painstakingly make by hand in my draughty (but very pretty) little studio is 100% (read it – 100%) NATURAL. I would love to get certified by The Soil Association – but since the fee for this is over £500, i’m afraid that will have to wait. Please read your labels folks, and be aware of what you are cleaning/moisturising yourself and (more importantly) your kids with. When on earth did ‘natural’ become so unnnatural?



One thought on “When did ‘natural’ become so unnatural?

  1. Pingback: Toxic Beauty: Why are we being treated as lab rats? | Vaida Balbieriute

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