What does natural mean to you?
How do you define natural?
With the personal care products industry booming over sales of "natural" products, it is a fair question. Why are people looking for natural? Is it to be more eco-friendly? Is it for safer ingredients? Is it to limit chemical exposure? I think all of these reasons come into play. But just what IS natural?
Over the past couple weeks, I talked to as many consumers as I could to find out what they consider to be the meaning of natural when it comes to their personal care products.
My first mission: Learn how consumers define natural
I hit the stores and online boutiques to take to learn how consumers view "natural."
Webster's defines natural as "existing in nature and not made or caused by people" -- but that is actually a bit different than what many of us think of when we talk about natural products.
I first asked the people I spoke with this question: "How do you define a natural product?" The answers were varied. Here are some of the comments you shared:
- "Natural means that the ingredients are grown in the ground or come from plants."
- "A natural product contains no artificial ingredients like colors or fragrance."
- "Natural skin care products are made from food ingredients and plants."
- "Natural means that a product is organic."
- "Natural is the opposite of synthetic."
- "Natural products are safer and do not have chemicals of any kind."
How does the FDA define natural?
It doesn't. There is no regulatory definition of natural established by the FDA as it relates to personal care products.
The same applies to organic. When it comes to your personal care products, please be aware of these claims. This is actually something I intend to write about in the near future here on the Seed blog -- "organic" skin care.
We use organic ingredients when we can at Seed, but some organic ingredients are harder to come by. Plus, the process of being USDA certified organic is can be cost prohibitive to many small companies.
Here is something I want to note about whether "organic" is actually better. This comes from the USDA Organic Skin Care website:
What do other companies consider natural?
I love taking a more in-depth look at labels. Being an advocate for truth in labeling and better ingredients for years, I have done this many times before and it is always refreshing: looking at claims made by skin care and beauty brands.
As there is really no definition of "natural" -- and no oversight -- a company can pretty much say whatever they'd like. For example, a drugstore line of "Naturals" has a giant bottle of body wash for $3 and has a big glossy image of verbena and almonds.
Surely, it must contain real lemon verbena and almonds, right?
In reality, it has synthetic fragrance and the second to last ingredient is lemon verbena, right between Methylisothiazolinone and Caramel Color on the label. The fragrance they add tricks you into thinking you are getting an abundance of the real deal.
Another product I encountered was a popular face scrub. It has Apricot in the product name, so surely it must have a large quantity of apricots, correct? The packaging makes it seem so wholesome and natural -- almost good enough to eat.
In reality, this is the ingredients list:
WATER (AQUA, EAU), JUGLANS REGIA (WALNUT) SHELL POWDER, GLYCERYL STEARATE, GLYCERIN, SODIUM LAURYL SULFOACETATE, ZEA MAYS (CORN) KERNEL MEAL, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, PEG-100 STEARATE, CETYL ACETATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), POLYSORBATE 60, CETEARETH-20, ACETYLATED LANOLIN ALCOHOL, TRIETHANOLAMINE, CARBOMER, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM), PPG-2 METHYL ETHER, PHENETHYL ALCOHOL, LIMONENE, LINALOOL, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, PRUNUS ARMENIACA (APRICOT) FRUIT EXTRACT
The VERY last ingredient in the "Apricot scrub" is apricot. This is maddening. Let's take a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Think of the ingredients you use. You use flour, butter, sugar (white, brown or both), vanilla, chocolate chips, eggs, and a bit of salt and baking soda. There is a VERY small amount of salt and baking soda. Would you call your chocolate chip cookies "baking soda cookies"? Of course not! That is why it is ridiculous for the "apricot" scrub to be called "apricot" scrub. I am guessing "PEG-100 Stearate Scrub" or "Triethanolamine Scrub" doesn't sound as wholesome even though those ingredients make up a larger portion of the scrub than apricots.
I then stumbled upon a bright pink shampoo with "Naturals" in the brand name. This "hypoallergenic" (read more on that buzzword here) shampoo with "natural extracts" contains the following ingredients:
Water, Amino Methyl Propanol , Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride, Cocamide MEA , Fragrance, PEG 5 Cocamide , Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose , Tetrasodium EDTA , DMDM Hydantoin , Citric Acid , Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitamin E Acetate , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Prunus Serrulata Flower Extract , Red 4CI 4700
What does natural mean to Seed?
I shared above how other companies attempt to get by on technicalities. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element. So are poison ivy and the botulism toxin. Yet, you most likely do not want to slather these ingredients on your skin. Common ingredients such as dimethicone and mineral oil are technically "natural" but these by-products can have side effects.
Seed doesn't twist the meaning of natural. To Seed, natural means that everything we make for you is plant-based, harnessing the goodness of proprietary blends of seed oils, and other straight-from-Mother Nature ingredients.
We hope that this helps you understand a bit more about natural products!
Yours in health & harmony,
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Also in Lately I've been paying more attention
Before you shop for facial skin care products, there is one crucial pre-shopping step that you must take: determining your skin type. Just because a product works well for a friend or your favorite celebrity is reported to use it, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Skin types, like skin care products, are not one size fits all. I’m going to share my favorite way to effectively determine your skin type.
Find out your skin type in 3 simple steps
- Pull your hair back away from your face. Using a gentle face wash, remove all traces of makeup. Rinse thoroughly and carefully pat dry with a soft cotton towel. Do not follow with any other products at this time.
- Wait for one hour. Using a clean tissue, gently cover your face and blot lightly.
- Remove the tissue and then observe your findings.
You sit staring at a computer screen all day at work. You text back and forth. You answer emails. You’d think that once the work day is over and the dinner dishes have been cleared that you’d be ready to sit and relax.
The reality, though, is that most people are still plugged into their phones in the evening. Texts continue. Work emails are read and answered long after the work day has ended. Then you just have to check your Facebook feed, order a new pair of shoes, pin recipes and DIY projects over on Pinterest, and share the latest photo on Instagram. And then there is the stressful reading of political posts that appear day after day. Honestly, it can be stressful!
It is almost as if we panic at the thought of missing out on something important if we put the phone down. What would happen if you stayed away from social media for an evening?
Would it be the end of the world? Absolutely not.
Have you ever noticed tiny white bumps that look like they are right under your skin? Perhaps you have. Milia can appear around the eyes, forehead, nose, and cheeks. They seem to linger and are resistant to most typical acne treatments. Just what is milia and how do you get rid of it? Let's find out!
What causes milia?
Milia can occur for several reasons. I know that I have heard so many women say, "but I wash my face thoroughly." The truth is that it is not because your skin isn't clean enough.
Our skin naturally sloughs off dead skin cells. Sometimes, though, the skin doesn't shed those cells and what happens is that sebum and keratin will get trapped underneath the epidermis. When this happens, they build up and get lodged in sweat glands and hair follicles rather than being shed. Before you know it, cysts form and you'll notice those little white bumps that do not seem to go away.
There are several skin care ingredients that may contribute to milia. I will share those with you in a moment.