Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do you buy it because it says "Organic?"

So, maybe you've watched Food Inc., or you've listened to a friend rant about eating organic and buying local, but what does all this really mean? Anyone can walk in to a regular grocery store, a wholesale shopping center or even a make-up counter at the mall and see the word "Organic" or "Natural" marketed all over packages, but is it really good for you just because it says it's natural?

Recently a good friend introduced me to Skin Deep, a website hosted by the Environmental Working Group that grades the ingredients in most over the counter cosmetics and gives an overall score for the safety of these cosmetics. Being that I am an avid Whole Foods shopper I was interested to see how cosmetic products such as sunscreen, shampoo, body wash, and lip gloss, measure up on the Skin Deep website. I was in need of body wash and as I stood in the isle of Whole Foods (for almost 30 minutes), I surfed the website for products that were in the green, or low hazard. Surprisingly, most of Whole Foods body washes were in the yellow, or moderate hazard, but why? I would expect to walk in to a health food store and trust that all my purchases were clean of any additives or preservatives. What on earth was causing these natural and organic products to be yellow? The answer, fragrance. Almost any product with fragrance automatically had a score of 3 or above, which meant yellow or moderate hazard.

So what is fragrance, and why is it score red individually in these products? It was scary what I found out! There is a loophole in the FDA's regulations that let's manufacturers of products like shampoo and body wash include almost any hidden ingredient or chemical in their product under the name "fragrance" without having to list it individually. The best way to avoid these companies that mask hidden chemicals in their products under the name "fragrance," search Skin Deep.

My next cosmetic need turned out to be saline solution for my contacts. I decided to research before wasting 30 minutes in the isles of Whole Foods, and started my search on the Skin Deep website. Skin Deep only has 5 reviews for saline solution currently and ironically the only solution in the green... CVS (generic) Saline Solution especially for sensitive eyes. Who would have thought that a generic formula could grade highest. Just goes to show, knowing your facts before hand really helps you make smart, financially wise, decisions.

What I learned... don't be naive and think every product that says it's organic is healthy for you. Don't buy something (or spend more money than you need to) just because it says it's natural. If you want to live healthier, research your products.

Check out Skin Deep before spending your paycheck on just any organics!


  1. Thanks for this info. I will definitely bookmark Skin Deep for future reference! And really, who would have thought a generic saline solution would get the highest grade, huh? That just goes to show you don't always get what you pay for! LOL

  2. Hi there, Thanks for the great info! As a self-proclaimed product junkie, who also happens to love natural products, I will definitely go check it out!!

    I work with Scent-Sations and sell natural, gourmet candles. Proprietary vegetable wax, 100% cotton wicks, no lead, zinc or other harmful ingredients. And the fragrances??? AMAZING!! Over 90 true-to-life scents that you can enjoy without the black soot you see on most highly fragranced candles.
    would love for you to check out my page...which is about a lot more than just candles, by the way!!

    If I try Skin Deep, I'll be sure to let you know...You'll see me creeping around your blog either way! =)


  3. Lesa, I am following you now. I sent your link to all my mommy bloggers/WAHM's. Can't wait to read more!