It seems like these terms are popping up everywhere these days. Beverages have their “all natural” products, shampoos are claiming to be “organic” and household products are claiming to be “green.” As our society has become gradually more health conscience within the past twenty years, marketing strategies has become quick to trend by finding loop holes in order to advertise products as being healthier than they really are. How do we become conscience consumers and weed through these marketing ploys in order to find the real deal when it comes to healthy products? The first thing we need to be aware of is what these common terms actually mean. When we know what we are looking for, finding products that don’t live up to these faulty promises will be easier to spot.
Cruelty-free – Widely used by cosmetic companies to let consumers know that they do not directly use animal testing in the making of their products. While this does not always include the ingredients that are bought to be used in the products, it’s usually a good sign that the manufacturer has a positive preference towards the rights of animals as companies is not currently required to state whether or not their products are cruelty-free.
Editor’s Note – check out PETA’s iphone app to find cruelty free products on the go:
Green – Technically, to “be green” means to not have any sort of negative impact on the environment at any stage of production. This includes what it’s made of, how it got there and where it lays to rest. Cosmetic companies such as Nothing Nasty use reusable and recyclable containers and even offer a refilling service of products at a 20% discount.
Natural – While the word “natural” looks so fresh and alluring on a package of salty chips, what exactly makes it so “natural?” A good frame of reference is that the farther food is from its original source the less natural it has become. The processing, doctoring up with chemicals, dyes, fragrances, preservatives and synthetic ingredients is what gradually makes a product less natural. This can be applied to cosmetics. A more natural cosmetic product will have things listed in the ingredients such as “cocoa butter” or “beeswax” such as Burt’s Bees, rather than long chemicals you can’t pronounce.
Organic – The term “organic” is commonly intertwined with the term “natural” but the big difference is that anything labeled “organic” is closely watched by the USDA and indicates the regulation of additives and processes to a product. Organic Wear Make Up by cruelty-free brand Physician’s Formula promises that their cosmetics are 100% free of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and even have a cute compact made of paper that is “93% less plastic than a traditional compact.”
Although it may seem daunting with all the products available, making one small product change at a time can add up to living a life that is healthy as well as conscientious about animal welfare and the environment in which we live. Start by trying out one new organic and cruelty-free product at a time. Maybe start with a more natural chapstick, then try an organic shampoo or skin cleanser. Always make sure to check the ingredients on the label. Try out different brands to see what you like and check out caringconsumer.com or leapingbunny.org to make sure a beauty company is cruelty-free!