Everywhere we go these days, we are met with "all-natural" or "100% organic" and similar claims. So, what does it mean to officially label a product natural or organic? We would assume if it says 100% organic, it means exactly that, right? Wrong! There are actually no legal definitions of organic or natural in Ireland.

So, how do you figure out which products are truly organic or natural? There's no easy answer. You can only read the ingredients list and, even then, it may not be evident.

What should you be looking out for? You should know there are some regulations as far as ingredients' lists.

1.   They have to be listed in order of quantity - the higher the quantity of an ingredient, the higher it will be on the list. So, for example, if you see a product that says "organic aloe vera hand cream," then you would expect it is mostly derived from aloe vera. Check the ingredients list - if it's the first listed, then it's legitimate in its claims. If it's way down the list, then its misleading label has deceived you.

2.   Once ingredients are less than 1% of a product, they can be listed in any order. So, if you get a product that claims to be full of plant extracts but you don't see the first plant extract until way down the list, it's likely it only contains a tiny percentage of that ingredient! 

3.   Products will often use the words "parfum, perfume, aroma, fragrance" in their ingredients to denote the general smell that they use. However, those words can actually mean 200+ different things. So, the fragrance may actually include dangerous ingredients but the manufacturer doesn't have to tell you what those ingredients are. Why? Well, a long time ago, manufacturers wanted to keep their trade secrets that made their product smell a certain way, so they were allowed to do this. Unfortunately now, many manufacturers use this loophole to hide ingredients they don't want you to know about. Which ingredients? Read #4!

4.   Ingredients' lists are vital for you to know what potential toxins you may be using on your skin. The most common? Parabens, sulfates, and many more. Check out many of them here: Toxic Ingredients . Our list isn't exhaustive so head on over to EWG - all you have to do is enter the ingredient in the search box and it will give you a load of information on the level of safety of an ingredient based on good scientific facts. 

Why are manufacturers allowed to mislead with their labels? Remember that the cosmetics industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that has a lot of power. They do their utmost to lobby governments into allowing them to do certain things. The bottom line is, it saves them money which brings me onto......

Why do manufacturers want to put these toxins into our skin products? It's cheaper!!!! Using essential oils or better quality ingredients means more cost to them. It all comes down to money. This is also why most truly natural and organic products are more expensive. Especially smaller companies that haven't the bulk ordering advantage yet as they try to build their customer base. 

What does all this mean to you? Be careful! We are pretty lucky really that we live in a world where we can actually get better quality products that are better for you and your family. www.tantrum.ie has helped with that by bringing together a range of products that we have personally analysed to a high standard. 

Take the test. Get your favourite skincare product. Go to EWG . Start checking the ingredients. Go all the way to the end of the list. If you have a product that has no toxins in it, well done! You've passed. If not, you might want to start looking into how you can start using better skincare products for you and your family.

Knowledge is power. Just by reading this blog, you have taken the first step to understanding more about what we use on our skin. Now, you can use that knowledge to improve your health! Or not!!!

Written by Tantrum Ireland — May 07, 2014

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