Most of us are familiar with the notion of reading labels when we grocery shop but paying extra attention to what we put in our on our bodies is just as important as what we put in them.The thing is reading the label is only the first step and with all the marketing jargon out there it’s tough to know what’s what and if we should invest in certain products or not. We hit the books hard to find out what it all means, what to look out for, and most importantly where to splurge vs. save.

beauty-terms-to-know

Organic

This term gets tossed around so much in the beauty as well as the food industry but what does it really mean and is it even that important? First of all, just because it says it’s organic doesn’t mean that it is. Generally the word organic means that the product was made or grown without using synthetic additives like pesticides. The important thing to remember here is often times the word organic is used as a form of “green washing” to generate more interest in certain products. Any company is allowed to say something is organic because there are no guidelines put in place to prevent them from doing so. When you read your labels be sure to look out for a USDA Organic logo or an Eco Cert logo. If a product has either of those it means that the product was made of at least 95% certified organic agricultural ingredients and it was made in a certified organic manufacturing facility.

Should You Splurge?

There have been many debates on the benefits of using or consuming organic foods or products. We say, if you already eat organic then it’s probably a good idea to keep the theme running when it comes to your beauty regime. However, there are no concrete studies that show that organic is healthier or better for you. If you are interested in learning more about organic beauty or changing to an organic lifestyle, we definitely recommend doing your research and asking the right questions before making any drastic decisions.

“… a product can be legally labelled as “natural” and contain up to 30 percent synthetic ingredients.” – Adina Grigore, Skin Cleanse

Natural

If you were surprised with what we shared on the term organic this might really shock you. Adina Grigore, noted author of Skin Cleanse, says, “… a product can be legally labelled as “natural” and contain up to 30 percent synthetic ingredients.” The word natural was around long before organic became a thing and though it seems like it has good intentions, it’s one of the biggest green washers of all. How can you spot if it’s natural or not? Usually, a product will have a list of ingredients. If the first 5-10 ingredients are words you can barely pronounce (let alone remember) it’s safe to assume that there is nothing natural about it.

Should You Splurge?

We vote NO. 100% natural = 100% bogus.

Paraben Free

In a nutshell, parabens are preservatives, ie. they prevent bacteria from growing in your favourite products. Though there is no hard scientific proof it has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues, particularly in women. Many countries are trying to enforce limits on the use of parabens but the FDA says it’s all good as long as they are used in small amounts.

Should You Splurge?

We say yes. The DIY beauty trend is piping hot at the moment making it much easier to find products that are paraben-free and if you’re having a hard time finding products you can always make your own in the safety of your kitchen. If you are finding it hard to cut back at first just take baby steps while you figure out the best thing for you. Real Simple suggests investing in a paraben-free moisturizer first, since it covers the most area – your skin. Fun fact: it only takes 20 seconds for your skin to absorb the products you put on your skin everyday.

“The DIY beauty trend is piping hot at the moment making it much easier to find products that are paraben-free and if you’re having a hard time finding products you can always make your own in the safety of your kitchen.”

Sulfate-Free

This is what makes your soaps and shampoos all sudsy. It’s what gives you that “clean” feeling post shower. So what’s the problem? It is a great degreaser commonly used in manufacturing and construction industries as well as the detergents that you use to clean your dishes and clothing. Harsh. You’re body naturally generates oils that are essential in the health and growth of both your hair and skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laurel sulfate essentially strips your hair and skin of these vital oils leaving them dry, brittle, and itchy and can lead to a multitude of problems.

Should You Splurge?

Since SLS gives you that squeaky-clean feeling it can be hard to give up. The best thing to do is to limit your use of it. If you think about it, isn’t it kind of weird to use the same stuff on your body as you do for your dishes? Look for sulfate-free shampoos and body washes. Just try it for a week. Trust us – once you see how much it will change your hair/skin you will never go back. We l-o-v-e Dr. Bronners.

Hypoallergenic

This one’s for all you sensitive ladies out there. If you have sensitive skin, chances are you have tried EVERYTHING to get your skin to behave. Even products that claim to be hypoallergenic – which turns out isn’t really a thing. “The FDA tried to clamp down on the use of the word hypoallergenic as far back as 1975, saying that companies could not make the claim if they couldn’t provide scientific evidence proving that the product caused fewer adverse reactions than their alternatives. Clinique and Almay sued. Eventually they won. Now, forty years later, any product can be labelled with the word hypoallergenic. It holds no meaning whatsoever.”

Should You Splurge?

No. Hard no.