I’ve seen a lot of talk about “natural” skin care and not putting “chemicals” on our skin, but since I know that there is no organic certification for body products like there is for food, I wondered if it’s worth the price.
First of all, a chemical is just “a material with a specific chemical composition.” Salt, sugar, and water are some common chemicals under this definition (look here for more detailed information). So just saying it’s bad to put chemicals on our skin is not a reason to pay more. If it’s lab-created substances being referred to, all the “natural” ingredients have to be processed in some way and can be recreate in a lab. Most all of our vitamins are made this way. Does this make them automatically bad for you?
Does “natural” mean we should pay more? Here’s an interesting article, Natural and Organic Cosmetic Ingredients: Friend or Foe? by Paula Begoun that answers this question. She also includes a list of plant ingredients that are known irritants that you should avoid or use wisely (arnica for example: I use it for specific things like bruises, but wouldn’t want it included in a cosmetic).
I think most of us realize by now that the term natural has become a marketing gimmick. The moral here is the same as food: read the labels. Admittedly, it’s harder with moisturizers, cosmetics and shampoos because they are unrecognizable to us. Paula Begoun’s website, CostmeticCop.com is the only place I’ve found to have a comprehensive list of ingredients, which are good/safe and which ones to avoid plus reviews of all the brands- from the lowliest drugstore brand to the organic ones all the way up to the super expensive brands.
Everyone has to make their own decisions about what they put in or on their bodies, so I’m just advocating education and not rote responses. Let’s not let the media or marketing fuel our buying habits, especially in the area of body products that are not regulated in any way.
What do you think? What kind of things do you use on your body? Is this an area where you are frugal, or not?
This post is linked to Frugal Fridays at LifeasMom.com
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Paula Begoun in any way, I just think she’s got a lot of information that has helped educate me a lot in this area.