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Can You Spot A Natural Product By Reading The Ingredients?

Posted Sep 21 2009 10:55pm

Kelly’s comment… To the dumbass that said no product can ever be made that is TOTALLY natural, take a look at Giovanni’s ingredients. natural-selection

The Left Brain responds:

I paraphrased Kelly’s comment from our post on Is Aveda Really More Natural because I think it makes a good point about how to read an ingredient statement. Or rather, how NOT to read one.

Not all natural

Kelly is suggesting that Giovanni’s hair care products are 100% natural and tells us to look to their ingredients as proof.  And to the untrained eye, the ingredients do look quite natural:

Tea tree shampoo ingredients
Aqua (Purified Water), Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) Oil, Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) Oil, Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Officinalis) Oil, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract, Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Oil, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch Leaf (Butela Alba) Oil, Chamomilla (Anthemis Nobilus Flower), Clary (Salvia Sclarea), Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussilago Fargara), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Oil, Mallow (Malya Sylvestris), Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Oil, Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), C12 14 Olefin Sulfonate (Coconut Derived), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Tocopherol (*Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived)

Conditioner ingredient s
Aqua (Purified Water), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Oil, Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Oil, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch Leaf (Butela Alba) Oil, Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis Flower) Oil, Clary (Salvia Sclarea), Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussilago Fargara), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Oil, Mallow (Malya Sylvestris), Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Oil, Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Stearalkonium Chloride, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Sodium Hydromethylglycinate, Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived)

Styling natural mousse ingredients
Aqua (Purified Water), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Oil, Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Oil, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch Leaf (Butela Alba) Oil, Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis Flower) Oil, Clary (Salvia Sclarea), Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussilago Fargara), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Oil, Mallow (Malya Sylvestris), Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Oil, Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), PVP/VA Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxymethlyglycinate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived)

But the trained eye spots two issues that make me question the real naturalness of the product line: first, the natural oils are probably listed out of order because such high levels would likely yield an unstable product. (It takes about 5% or so of fatty alcohols to form a nice thick conditioners. If the ingredients in this product were listed in strict order, the natural oils would have to be greater than 5% which means the total oil content would have to be around 70% which is almost impossible for this system.)

Second, after all the natural goodies there are distinctly “chemical” sounding names like PVP/VA copolymer and Stearalkonium Chloride. So stating that this line is “totally” natural based on reviewing the ingredient list is questionable at best.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Be skeptical about what you read from cosmetic manufacturers. In some cases even basic information like the ingredient statement may be misrepresented. And be VERY cautious when it comes to using ill-defined terms like “natural.”

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