Category Archives: Natural products

Why is it so difficult to find products that are 100% natural?

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Shea Butter

I’m sure there are people reading this question and thinking the exact opposite, it isn’t difficult to find such products, what is she talking about? However, look at it from the point of view of someone who lives in an area that only has the major stores such as Wal-Mart. They may not be internet savvy and know what websites to go on to find such products, or they may simply believe that retailers wouldn’t sell anything in the shops that could be harmful.

I’ve lived in the UK and I am now living in the U.S.A and it’s the same.  Unless you are aware of where to go to find natural products you are pretty much stuck with the major stores and their lack of variety. When I go into my local supermarket (whether here or in the UK) it is virtually impossible to find shampoos, body lotions, shower gels, deodorants etc that  have 100% natural ingredients. Since going natural with my hair, I have also become more aware of the ingredients of many popular brands, and the effects of such ingredients.  Why is it impossible to go to my local store and find products that don’t contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, mineral oil, petroleum and other harmful ingredients and preservatives?

I stopped using relaxer, and was glad, because I became aware of the harmful chemicals used in them. Only to find that the same chemicals are used in my moisturizer! Why should a moisturizer contain sodium hydroxide? Why aren’t natural products available in major stores? I’m sure if I lived in a bigger city I would have more options, and I know that the larger stores of Wal-Mart now have  a ‘naturals’ section. That’s great, but what about people who do not live in major cities, why don’t all Wal-Mart’s have a ‘naturals’ section?

It upsets me, because the majority of people don’t know about the effects of certain chemicals and manmade preservatives.  They simply assume that if it for sale, it must be safe to use.  The fact is the majority of popular beauty brands produce products with chemicals that can cause skin or scalp irritation, allergies and in some cases, an increased risk of cancer. If I decide I don’t want to use a deodorant with aluminium in it I should be able to go to my local store and have the choice to buy a natural deodorant. I shouldn’t have to go to a special store or search on the internet, to order one from a company that is based overseas.

When I was in the UK I loved Holland and Barrett. I was upset to find that they don’t exist in the U.S. However I wasn’t a fan of their natural deodorant (it  left me smelling musty by the end of the day), but I didn’t have a choice. As far as I was aware it was their brand or a popular brand that was guaranteed to have aluminium in it. Thankfully in the U.S they have the Toms brand and I think their deodorants are great and they smell good. If I was still in the UK, I probably wouldn’t be aware of this brand, but if I was, I would have to order it online and pay shipping fees to have it delivered. What a pain, having to order online and wait for the items to be delivere.  Only to be told that the delivery came when you were out and you now have to go to the post office to collect it, I digress .  The point I’m trying to make is that, I wish I could just pick up the products I need when I do my grocery shopping, just like everyone else.

There are people suffering from dry scalps or dry skin and they think it’s simply something wrong with them and something they are prone to.  The reality is, many of us are suffering from these annoyances due to the products we use on a daily basis. My husband (who has European hair) noticed the difference when he started using the shampoos I use, instead of the generic one he picked up from the store.  He would regularly suffer from dry scalp and would constantly be scratching his head. It use to drive me mad. Then I realised that it’s not only women with afro textured hair who have ‘gone natural’ that should avoid shampoos with sulphates.  Anyone could benefit from doing so, whether you have afro textured hair or European hair. He switched to the shampoo I was using, that had no sodium lauryl sulphate and his scalp improved. When I went further and not only avoided sulphates but also chose to avoid shampoos with silicones, he noticed the problem improved even more and it is no longer an issue.

So the ingredients that are in products do make a difference.   I can understand people who don’t know any better,  using products that aren’t  natural.  However, I don’t understand when people who have been made aware of the dangers, still choose to use products with ‘junk’ in them.  Maybe it’s because of the inconvenience of having to find all natural products, or maybe they believe products that are 100% natural are more expensive. It is, when you have to order them from oversees and pay for shipping, or buy them from a specialist store that probably has to charge more, to cover their costs.

I don’t think 100% natural products are particularly more expensive, it depends on the brand and where you get them from, but a few dollars or pounds extra is worth it, in my opinion.  Besides, you can always make your own hair products and body lotion by simply mixing a few oils and butters together. However it’s a shame that natural products are considered specialists products.  They should be the norm and consumers deserve to have choice, variety and convenience when they shop. They should not be penalised through cost and time, simply for wanting the best for their health.  I guess if something is worthwhile it requires a little bit more effort. The companies that make natural products are doing a great job, I just wish they were just as accessible as general brands.

Sources

http://thegoodhuman.com/2007/06/21/what-are-parabens-and-why-should-you-avoid-them/

http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=291

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-Deo

Ingredients in a moisturizer I purchased from Wal-Mart. I bought it because it had Shea butter in it. Well I realised, that wasn’t all it had in it!

It says on the bottle: infused with pure African Shea Butter and uncover radiantly soft skin. Skin Enriching Cream with a high concentration of pure African Shea Butter, a natural source of antioxidants & vitamins. This sounds great but look what it contains……….

Ingredients
Water, Butyrospermium parkii (Shea Butter), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Petrolatrum, Ceteareth – 20, Hydroxyethyl urea, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter.

Ethylhexyl Isonanoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Hydrogenated Polydecane, Cetylesters, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone , Fragrance, Isohexadecane, C13 & 14 Isoparaffin.

Sodium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Carbomer, Mineral Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone, Methlparaben, Propylparaben.

Look up the safety of most ingredients or products at: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Do you find it difficult to find natural products? How can this problem be improved?

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