I HAVE A CONFESSION to make: I hardly ever buy cosmetic products anymore. Every time I go out looking for something new (and each time I think: this time I’m going to buy something and not just browse), I end up dividing the products I look at into two categories. The first category consists of products with only a few ingredients, all of which I recognize and probably already have at home, and I find it totally unnecessary to pay heaps of money for something that I could just as well make myself. The other category are products with a long ingredient list, and a lot of ingredients that I don’t recognize, and I don’t want to buy it because I don’t know what these ingredients are going to do on my skin. They might be beneficial for the skin (or at least not harmful), but since I don’t know, I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry and just go home and make something similar instead.
THERE ARE SO MANY cosmetic companies out there, all making all kinds of claims of being organic and natural. As you can see, my starting point is to be skeptical of all of them, until proven otherwise. But since I never actually end up buying and trying anything, I never am proven wrong. This is one of the reasons to why I decided to start a new post series. In this vast series of blog posts that I’ve decided to call Company Checkup, I’m going to go through a whole bunch of cosmetic companies who, in one way or another, claim to be “natural”, have a look at them and some of the ingredients they use, and try to make my own verdict of whether they are a go or a no. This includes everything from using words such as “earth” or “nature” in their brand names to being certified organic products. My aim here is to see if the brand actually lives up to their promises of being “natural”, which by no means is an assesment of the product in itself – only of their claims and of how well they live up to it.
BUT DEFINING A “NATURAL” product all in all is pretty difficult. If something is called “organic”, it by law really has to contain certified organic ingredients. But the word “natural” in itself doesn’t really mean much – there are no clear guidelines to what a product needs to include to be called “natural”. And natural is not always better. Crunchy Betty discussed this matter a few weeks back with a few rather interesting points about ingredients such as white vinegar and grapefruit seed extract. So this is not a black and white issue, and the conclusions I draw will be completely my own personal opinion, based on my knowledge of cosmetic ingredients and the meaning of naturally derived ingredients.
SO, LET’S GET STARTED on the post series, shall we? This is how it’s going to go down: In each post, I will go through one company, have a look at a few of the products and the ingredients, and let you know what I think. If possible, I will also try the products, but this is not the main point here.
I have sent emails out to all of the companies, asking them to write a few words about what makes them natural, and a few other questions. Some of the companies didn’t have the INCI (ingredient list) on their webpage, and in these cases I asked them to send me a few INCI lists. In the cases where I got replies, I will quote those emails – in the other cases, I will take as much info as I can from the websites.
I SENT OUT e-mails on April 21, and one month later I sent out a reminder to those who hadn’t answered. As you will see, only half of all the companies I email got back with a reply. To be honest, I’m rather surprised by how few actually got back to me – it’s not like I asked any difficult or controversial questions. This is the complete list.
These brans replied after a reminder one month later:
La vie celeste
There was no reply at all from the following:
The Body shop
Origins (there wasn’t any way of contacting them through email, so I reached out to their facebook page, where I was told they would contact me through email, but never did)
Good for you girls
Raw essentials (got one email, after reminder email that they would reply, but never did)
SO THESE ARE the companies that I will be working my way through. As you can tell, this is going to be a loooong series, but it won’t necessarily stop at just these brands. So if you have any brands or products that you have always wondered about, please let me know about it, for instance by posting a comment here or in the facebook group.
NEXT WEEK I’m going to start by defining the word natural, and go through a few of the organic certifications that a product can get. So check back soon!