Truth in Advertising: mis-leading use of the term "Natural" in branding is being widely abused

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Unfortunately, marketing perception does not usually match ingredient reality for skincare products. Sprinkling a few natural ingredients into a "chemical stew" does not make the stew "natural." In response to join the "green revolution" many of the large companies now put the word "Natural" and other attractive buzzwords on the front of their labels, referring in truth to single ingredients, however, not to the entire product formula as they want you to perceive. It is good to have independent, 3rd party reviews of product formulations & we applaud the efforts of organizations such as the Environmental Working Group to uncover the hypocrisies and inclusion of potentially toxic ingredients in formulas by manufacturers in my previous post.

Our customers purchase from us based upon quality, integrity, proven benefits and the fact that our products' value rises as you read our ingredients, opposite to industry norm. Of course, the real "proof" comes from using such superior formulations and experiencing firsthand the benefits they provide. Since 1992, our company has grown by word-of-mouth from such experiences as we do not advertise.

Most consumers buy based on familiarity(exposure to marketing machines), price and front label claims. As an example, I've shared the ingredient list below for an SPF product from a so called "naturals" line by one of the largest consumer product manufacturers in the world. They spend millions of dollars on television and magazine ads attempting to create a natural, wholesome image for this brand's line of be the judge.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (2.4%), Oxybenzone (5%)
Inactive Ingredients: BHT, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Cholecalciferol, Diethylhexyl 2,6 Naphthalate, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja Seed Extract (soybean), Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylparaben, PEG 100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 60, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Silica, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Squalane, Synthetic Beeswax, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trimethylsiloxyamodimethicone, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Water, Xanthan Gum
This is just one example, but typical of most mass marketed lines. It is dishonest & shameful, in my opinion, to aggressively imply through marketing & front package labeling that a product with ingredients listed above be actively promoted as "natural." We're grateful for the educated "label readers" who comprise our customer base and promise to continue to deliver the finest formulations of natural ingredients we can for the benefit of your skin & health!


Anonymous said...

i love the absolutely natural products. although i was disappointed in your spf lip balm which contains oxybenzone. it didn't say on the absolutely natural website that it contained the dangerous chemical oxybenzone. i didnt find out till after i purchased it. i would like to see absolutely natural change the formula on that lip balm to contain no oxybenzone.

Todra Payne said...

I love this post! I try to tell my readers the same thing. I don't care how green the label is or how much they shout about being natural, READ THE LABEL.

Post a Comment