Natural IS Best.... Isn't It?


I once subscribed to the word natural.  It consumed me; everything I bought had to be labelled “natural”.   I entrusted the word to be synonymous with the word safe.  When I got into making my own products to avoid chemicals (which, by the way, did you know water is a chemical?  It’s comprised of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, which means that it is a chemical compound… interesting, don’t you think?) I started doing an abundance of research on the ingredients used.  At the beginning it was overwhelming, who did I believe?  Who was right?  How could I tell?  Was natural really safe?


The Uphill Road to Accurate Information

As much as I wanted to resist the words of people who knew a lot more than me and had been making and selling products for years, getting their products challenge tested and the like, eventually I had to look into the truth of their words.  They were speaking from actual facts… from experience, from failed product and a lot of dollars spent.  Basically, they were offering free advice; something hard to come by in this day and age. 


The people I am referring to are not extremists; in fact, they rarely impose their opinion, unless asked specifically for it.  They know their products and their ingredients.  They were able to cite actual studies written about the ingredients I wondered about and list both the pros and cons of said material.  This formed my basis for future research. 


Today, my method of research is simple, yet complex.  If I Google an ingredient I throw out any website that does not list both the pros and cons of the ingredient.  The reason for this is that obviously the information given is biased.  I then toss out repeated articles… you know the articles that have been plagiarized repeatedly because someone thought it was good but nobody ever verified it’s content.  From there I usually end up on page 3 or 4 of Google.  I then can start digging.  I validate the safety facts and toxicity of the ingredient to that of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and also look up the studies they cite and read them for myself.  You would not believe how many times I have actually read the study, the article referenced and discovered that the article was backwards and had completely wrong information in it.  I’ve also found completely outdated studies that have been replaced with new information.  Once I find what appears to be legitimate information, I then go check the Point of Interest! Blog to further validate my findings (Susan is a genius) and learn more about what the product actually does and how to use it in our formulas. 


What does this information tell me?

The information I have received over the years from utilizing my method above has led me to change my idea of safe ingredients.  I am no longer on the natural bandwagon.  I have learned that natural does not mean safe.  Moderation, for the most part does encompass the safety criteria I personally believe in.  I now subscribe to an idea of “the lesser of the evils”.  Natural can be evil… it can possess lead, mercury and arsenic. It can possess fertilizers and other toxins.  It can be a toxin on its own if used in too large of a dose (borax is an example, as well as Spinach… eat spinach all the time and see if you get kidney stones).  I have also learned that man-made is not all evil.  Some things, such as micas, I want the man-made kind as they are much safer and I would never purchase any that were claimed to be natural. 


Those items that I know are problematic; I refuse to carry as they do not fall within my beliefs of protecting consumers; SLS being one of them.  Other items (such as paraben preservatives), I have done research into and in moderation, they are acceptable.  They have their place in the Bath & Body industry; although I wouldn’t recommend them for everything (I state this in the listings always).  I now supply all of the known safety data for most items under the “technical tab” so you too, can see what I see.  Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and I can only hope a person does their research, ignoring all the shouting, to base their decision on what would be credible information.


I think, for most people, the word natural should be substituted for non-toxic.  That is really what most people I speak to are after; safe, non-toxic ingredients to formulate wonderful nourishing creations.  I know I am.

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