Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How green is it really?

The term natural is defined as “existing in or derived from nature, not made, caused by, or processed by humankind.” The most commonly used natural products in cosmetic care include: vegetable oils, salt, sugar, honey, beeswax and other similar ingredients. But, most of these ingredients have to be processed or harvested in some form before they are safe enough to be used in cosmetic or beauty care products. Scandle uses shea butter, jojoba and vitamin E, which are completely natural.

A large amount of 100% natural products are actually naturally derived products. This term means that a process was used to extract the ingredients. But, not all companies use a safe or eco-friendly way to do that. Many do use synthetic chemicals, so be sure to do your research on the extraction process of a “natural” product. Scandle, for instance, uses soy butter derived in an environmentally-friendly way. Scandle uses non-GMO soy in all of our products. The estimated genetically modified soy crop production in the U.S. is about 89 percent.

Organic items, by labeling, do not include any chemical fertilizers or other artificial chemicals and are relating to or derived from living organisms. Organic products can be confusing because some products can legally be labeled organic when they actually only contain a trace amount of organic oils. It is also important to do research on organic labeling, a number of products that use the term “organic” only have a few ingredients that fit the definition. Scandle, for example, utilizes organic French lavender essential oils, but we do not mislead our customers by labeling the product as “organic.”

Just because a product is “certified” in any of the preceding categories does not necessarily give validity to the claim. Consumers need to be careful when any product is certified organic, natural, etc. There are now so many certification organizations that it is hard to determine what percentage of the product is true to the definition. All organizations have different criteria that must be met.

Has anyone found a great eco-friendly product, only to find out maybe it wasn’t so earth-friendly after all? We would love to hear any tips or advice educating us on these new products.

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