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Natural vs. Organic – Why Ingredients Matter

Natural vs. Organic – Why Ingredients Matter

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between the terms, “all-natural” and “organic”?  If so, don’t be ashamed!  You’re like the majority of consumers trying to grasp the fundamental concepts that entail each of these labels, as they’ve taken over most shelf space in your local grocery store, beauty supply shop and other retail outlets.  They are often used interchangeably despite the fact that they are completely different. Product packaging can be extremely deceptive, which may lead you down a path to purchase something that you may not have intended. 

For example, several well-known “natural” deodorants on the market use chemicals like, propylene glycol, as their first ingredient. This is a chemically manufactured compound which is a known lung, eye and skin irritant. Yet, the labels of these deodorants contain phrases like “natural odor protection”, “totally natural” and “non-irritating”. No wonder consumers get so confused! This is why it’s so important to really understand the label and what you are putting in and on your body! 

Unfortunately, an “all-natural” or “natural” label doesn’t come with a guarantee that all of the ingredients are non-toxic.  The term, “natural” is most often assumed to be minimally processed and free of artificial ingredients.  However, in the United States, “natural” is an unregulated term, meaning neither the FDA, nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labeled as being “natural”.  As a result, manufacturers can place the “all-natural” label on foods and products that may actually contain heavily processed or synthetic ingredients . 

Talk about misleading!  

On the other hand, a “certified organic” label guarantees no toxic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, genetically modified organism (GMOs) or synthetic ingredients were used in the farming or production of the end product!  Additionally, organic products are produced in a way that encourages soil and water conservation and a reduction in pollution, which is always an added plus for our environment!  Certified organic producers and processors are also subject to a very strict code of cleanliness as well as rigorous certification inspections by third-party agencies to ensure that the products meet all regulated standards, resulting in a government-backed assurance.  

Now let’s get to why all of this really matters anyway.  Our epidermis (skin) is our largest organ and it is highly absorbent!  Would you want to put something on your body that you may not put in your body today?  

Our general rule of thumb when shopping for products is, do your research! Don’t take advertising claims at face value, as product descriptions and packaging may be worded to deliberately mislead you into thinking you are getting something more pure than originally thought.  Your first step should always be to read the ingredient label, as it’s the most truthful part of the product (since it must abide by federal law).  As you review the label, if you have any concerns with what you see, research the safety of the ingredients and reputation of the company.  Your body will thank you later! 

Here are two great resources that can help you learn about the efficacy of the ingredients in a product:

As always, if anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to comment below.  We hope this helps clarify the differences!  



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