Blatant Lies and Misleading Marketing in "Natural" Products

Natural does not really mean natural.

On a skin care or makeup product, it means nothing.

Blatant Lies and Misleading Marketing in "Natural" Products

It's a relatively recent, positive trend for consumers to desire a more natural product, which I definitely approve of. What's frustrating is that in the United States, there are literally no FDA laws regulating the use of the term "natural" in skin care and cosmetics. Any company can add "natural" to their labels, add some images of fruit and herbs, and posture as if they didn't use synthetic chemicals just as often- or more often!

Ignore the Flower Images

One of the most irritating brands to do this is St. Ives®, and Apricot Scrub remains to be one of the worst products to use on your face, causing microscopic tears in the skin, creating entrances for bacteria. This product is labeled "natural" and covered with fruit pictures but contains more synthetic ingredients than nature-derived ingredients. I've already broken down this product ingredient by ingredient.

Neutrogena® also jumped on the natural bandwagon with their "Naturals" line. Their Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub, for example, has natural in the name but both natural and synthetic ingredients. Synthetic ingredients are listed in bold.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub: Water, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Xanthan Gum, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance

Aveeno also does this sort of misleading marketing. Their products are always labelled "natural" and their packaging is very plant and flower friendly, but how many ingredients are actually naturally derived? Very, very few. Synthetic ingredients are listed in bold.

Aveeno "Active Naturals" Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15:  Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone, Arachidyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Panthenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Steareth-2, Fragrance, Steareth-21, Polyacrylamide, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Arachidyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Laureth-7, Benzalkonium Chloride, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, BHT, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Silica

Notice that 7 of 35 ingredients are actually natural, and three of them are the last ingredients. That means the vast majority of this product is synthetic.

Synthetic does not always mean harmful, but I will always prefer plant and flower derived ingredients over synthetic ingredients. If you're a consumer that also desires to stay away from synthetic chemicals, seeing "natural" on packaging will entice you to buy the product, whether the product itself is really natural.

Misleading marketing is very common in drugstore skin care, including soaps like Dove Sensitive Skin Bar, which is labelled hypoallergenic, and safe for sensitive skin, but contains very drying traditional soap ingredients, which are not good for sensitive skin.

Read the Label

Always pay attention to ingredient labels, and do research on products before you buy them! Packaging is generally done by marketing experts, not skin care professionals, and getting the consumer to buy the product is more important to these companies than actually caring for the skin.