Dirty Secrets: "Natural"
Happy Friday everyone!!
Woohoo, weekend time is almost upon us which means my Honey Do List is a mile long, but that's alright.
Today we wanted to talk about the label or word "Natural". Many companies use this word to help sell their products, give their customer an indication about how the products were made or formulated, or purely as a marketing gimmick. Unfortunately, more often than not the last reason is the most prevalent.
Even for us (both having a chemistry background) the word was often times misleading. We would purchase some large brand product that was labeled as their natural version. On occasion I would look at the ingredients and see some crazy chemicals like EDTA or phthalate and think "wow, their normal version must be really bad". Only after really comparing the same company's natural vs regular did I find that.... they have the same ingredients. The "natural" version just has a different order or some plant extract or oatmeal added. Man, if every time I saw a "natural" product with some form of oats as the only real, natural ingredient..... I could make oatmeal for breakfast. Butter in my oatmeal please, cause I'm that kinda guy.
The other fun thing we found was that there were entire brands built around the slogan "natural". Now, I'm not saying every chemical or synthetic product out there is bad or terrible. I'm just saying if you are going to call something natural, I wouldn't expect to see "sodium sulfate, benzyl alcohol, sodium benzoate, PPG-5-Ceteth-10Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA" in the ingredient list. But, it is there. Go ahead and play along. Search "Natural Shampoo" on Amazon and look at the ingredients on the first 3-4 listings. I'll give you couple minutes.............................. Scary right?
So why is this? How can companies label a product as natural when the only natural ingredient is oatmeal and its listed 9 items down the ingredient list? Fun fact, the order on the ingredient list is in wt%, so the first item listed has the most weight in the product vs the others. The word "natural" isn't regulated by any governing body or organization. Certain products will carry seals like the NSF Natural Made Product. Others may use safer ingredients and carry the EWG's Seal (learn more here). Some carry the NSF Organic Seal (learn more here). These seals (or the word "Organic") can only be used if a company and product meet certain standards. The word "Natural" has no such requirement. I could go sale sulfuric acid and label it "Natural" and be just fine, legally anyways.
In summary, "Natural" = nothing. Be smart and read the ingredient lists. Seals such as Made Safe, EWG, and NSF Organic certainly make this easier, but companies can carry that seal and still put some ingredients that might not be the best (talc, etc).
Oh, and 100% Natural = 100% nothing. Same thing, 100% is not regulated.
Disclaimer: As of June 20, 2019, our products do not carry any of the seals mentioned in this article. Due to the small nature and youth of our company, we aren't able to pursue those certifications. As Roses and Azalea develops and with enough funding, we will pursue USDA certified organic, EWG, and NSF Organic certifications for all applicable products.
All of our ingredients marked organic are indeed USDA certified organic. We are in the process of securing that certification. To learn more about what USDA Organic means click here. In short, its plant and animal based products which care and consideration used to growing/raising said plants/animals.