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Information On Ingredients For Natural Products

Don't you ever wonder what those tiny words on the back of all the products you buy are?

No, they're not some foreign language (well, some actually are in Latin), but they are the required facts that must be listed on every product we buy; ingredients listed in order of amounts used. (i.e. if the first ingredient is water, and the last ingredient is Vitamin E; then you can assume water is the most prevalent ingredient contained in it as well as Vitamin E being the least). If you're as confused about those things listed (which most can hardly pronounce let along decipher meaning from) then I've got good (or not so good) news for you. I've found a host of sites on the internet with ingredients, their names, meanings and what they can do (or not do) compiled into just a few very informative sites. And since the FDA doesn't require cosmetic companies to test their own products for safety, we are much better off being informed of what we're using on our skin as well as putting into our bodies, since most of them aren't doing it....we need to watch out for ourselves.

Some actually take the time to read each ingredient carefully and decipher each one (pros and cons) and decide if that's the right one to buy. Others look for specialty ingredients listed on the front of the labels, and still others look at the pretty pictures on the labels and decide if that's the perfect choice. For those that use the pretty pictures as guides, I have some bad news for you; just because it's a 'trusted brand' or because 'it says it has aloe vera in it', doesn't necessarily mean that it's not toxic or contains un-harmful chemicals. Even some that claim to have all natural 'organic' ingredients really don't.

If you're looking for an easy way to cipher through all the piles of garbage for information out there these days, look no further. I've compiled a list of the top five resources for consumers who are looking to find out what exactly is in those products you're using and what to look for when purchasing 'natural' products.

Cosmetics Database by Skin Deep is a free online resource; Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Group. Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 42, 000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn't require companies to test their own products for safety. Search for a product, ingredient, or company. Many of these companies have signed a compact to use only natural ingredients.

Here's one good example of a company who most probably think are watching out for their customers, just a snippet from the cosmetics database (Skin Deep) about a popular new product from Estee Lauder; Origins Sensory Therapy Peace of Mind (sounds great doesn't it?!!) ; they list all of the ingredients used by this brand and some have been known to cause Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Allergies/immunotoxicity. They also have Violations, restrictions & warnings. Other concerns for ingredients used by this brand:

Neurotoxicity, Endocrine disruption, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Miscellaneous, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Ecotoxicology, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Enhanced skin absorption, Contamination concerns, Occupational hazards, Biochemical or cellular level goes on...Hmmmmmmmm. After reading that, I doubt I'll ever use any product by Estee again. Sure, they make their "natural" products sound absolutely perfect, but I'm not so sure about many of the chemicals used in their making.

The Active Ingredients listed are; Essential oil of basil, essential oil of peppermint, essential oil of eucalyptus. But....take note of the ACTUAL ingredients: according to Origins customer care:

Estee's Origins Sensory Therapy Peace of Mind Ingredients: water; rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf water, rosa damascena (rose) flower water, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf oil*, ocimum basilicum (basil) oil*, eucalyptus dives (piperitol) oil*, citral, linalool, eugenol, limonene, bis-peg-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, methyl gluceth-20 , glyceryl polymethacrylate , peg-7 glyceryl cocoate, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, oleth-3 , glycereth-26, sorbitan stearate, oleth-5, oleth-10 phosphate , butylene glycol , ethylhexyl hydroxystearate, polysorbate 60, peg-150 distearate, cetyl alcohol , xanthan gum , tea-carbomer , phenoxyethanol , methylparaben , propylparaben, butylparaben * essential oil

Do you know what those ingredients are that I've italicized? If not, look them'll be shocked at some, and disappointed in others. But I daresay, you'll never use any of Estee Lauder's products again. And it's not just their company. There's hundreds of others that will shock and perterb you.

*What's in the Stuff We Buy? An excellent free online resource. This book is divided into two parts. The first part talks about commonly used products; things that you would use everyday (or week, etc.), and discusses what each ingredient in them does, and why it is there, or what can be used for instead.

The second part is a more in-depth discussion of each compound; which can act as a reference, usually accompanied by a structural formula, a picture of the chemical that allows it to be compared to others easily if you like chemistry or want to learn some very interesting things about chemicals that are in products we use all the time. You'll be suprised at all the harmful ingredients and also suprised about some natural alternatives. You can look up an ingredient you find on a label, and find out more about it. It may point you to other pages, or other compounds, and you may enjoy reading the book in this random fashion, rather than front-to-back.

*What's in this stuff? The Hidden Toxins in Everyday stuff Food, Beverages, Cosmetics, Toiletries, Cleaners, Garden Pesticides, Petfood, etc. By Patricia Thomas; Free online preview of book. The essential reference to what's really in the products we buy.

Every day Americans eat processed food and use toiletries, cosmetics, household cleaners, gardening supplies and often pet care products of some kind. It's time to ask "What's really in This Stuff"? The answers are shocking. This fascinating book reveals how many of the products used every day contain poorly tested chemicals that are implicated in health problems, and offers simple, nontoxic alternatives. It explains: - Why we are exposed to more chemicals than ever before - The health risks of exposure to industrial chemicals in consumer products - Which chemicals are most harmful - Why babies in the womb and young children are especially vulnerable to toxins - How to interpret confusing labels - Tips for using conventional products more wisely. Excellent resource from Google books.

Here's another good informational book for cosmetics:

*A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals by Ruth Winter A wonderful book with great advice for today's woman trying to wade through the massive empire of cosmetics and beauty. Containing more than six thousand entries, a helpful resource of information on the ingredients in cosmetics reports on the origins, function, and possible health effects of specific preservatives, acids, buffers, humectants, colorings, flavorings, and processing agents. Original.'Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me' by Paula Begoun ; The go-to cosmetics cop; policing all beauty companies. Paula gives us all her time-tested and opinionated, self-tested but highly useful compendium of ingredients and the products that use them, without holding back on the big name cosmetic companies; comparing use, effectiveness, ingredients, value, etc. A must have for any woman confused in the world of beauty. She also offers (but doesn't push her line of cosmetics). A great book and she also offers an online resource constantly updated with new products; Want expert cosmetics reviews? Subscribe to!Bonus Section! a cheap short, informative read; Hidden Chemicals, an Amazon Short by Ruth G. Winter purchase online at

And a fantastic informational site; Here's an early-beta version of ; a conscious-consumption website that bills itself as "the world's largest and most reliable source of information" for shoppers who care as much about values as they do about value. The fledgling site already delivers a wealth of data on more than 60, 000 personal-care and household-chemical products with more sources and updated features being added all the time.

I hope you find much useful information here to give you a better awareness about what really is lurking in those products you are using everyday. Here's to your health!


Sources (,, M1Want expert cosmetics reviews? Subscribe to!

Guide to Less Toxic Products

Household Products Database Cosmeticsdatabase (Skin Deep)

By Candice Collins - Being a theophile, freelance writer, regular contributor to many sites and blogs, a creative spirit, artist, aromatherapy enthusiast, lover of angels, music, writing, art and photography, as well as being th...  

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