How to Become an Ingredient Detective

No one wants to have the wool pulled over their eyes but it’s probably happening everyday you walk into a store. Become a little more discerning to the marketing hype out there however, and you will have back the power to make more informed and educated decisions when buying and bringing beauty, personal care and cleaning products into your home.

(Read the section on greenwashing if you haven’t already to find out why it is not enough to trust that a product is “organic” or “natural” when a manufacturer tells you that it is.)

The first step in becoming an ingredients detective is knowing how to read an ingredient label. Luckily for you, it isn’t rocket science! Just divide the list roughly into thirds. The top third usually contains 90%-95% of the ingredients in your product, the middle third usually contains about 5%-8% of the ingredients, and the bottom third contains 1%-3% of the ingredients. You now have a pretty good idea about the concentration of ingredients you’re putting on your skin.

The next step is to read what ingredients are on the product. And don’t worry; you don’t need to be a scientist or chemist familiar with the long list of tongue twisting names to get this one right. You just need a rough idea of the common synthetic nasties most non-organic products contain and you need to also apply a little bit of logic. You see, this is where natural ingredients should stand out. If the product really is as natural as it claims to be then the ingredients should be easily recognisable and if they are not, then the warning bells should start to ring.

There are a few widely used nasty synthetic ingredients, and if a product does not contain these, you can presume (if the other ingredients look fairly recognisable) that the other ingredients are safe. The reasoning here is that it is not all that easy or cost effective to make products without these ingredients and so if a manufacturer has gone to the effort to exclude these then they can probably be trusted.

We have complied a list of those nasties, as well as those ingredients that you can rest easy about, in our handy Faithful-to-Nature Pocket Guide – simply add it to your shopping cart when you check out at Faithful To Nature and we’ll send it free with your order. It’s a really simple and convenient way to keep that list of (sometimes complicated!) ingredients with you in your wallet. We’ll add it here too so you can copy and print it out:

Faithful-to-Nature Pocket Guide 

Many of the cosmetic & cleaning products available today contain harmful synthetic ingredients. GET BACK THE POWER to know what you are absorbing into your body by avoiding these nasties:

Aluminium, Diazolidinyl Urea, Diethanolamine (DEA), EDTA, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Lead, Monoethanolamine (MEA), Nonylphenols, Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl & Ethyl), Petrolatum, Phenylenediamine, Propylene Glycol (PEG), Phthalates, PVP/VA Copolymer, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Synthetic Colours, Synthetic Fragrances (or parfum), Talc, Triethanolamine (TEA)

The list of harmful food additives & preservatives is very long! Try to stick to our safe list below, but PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST & make sure you avoid these ingredients which are especially contentious:

Acesulfame (E950), Amaranth (E123), Aspartame (E951), Benzoic Acid & Sodium Benzoate, BHA & BHT (Butylated Hydroxy-anisole & Hydroxytoluene), F D & C Yellow 6 (E110), FCF Orange Yellow S, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG or E621), Nitrates (E249, E250, E251, E252), Saccharin & its Na, K & Ca salts (E954), Stannous Chloride (tin or E512), Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphites (E220, E221, E226), Sunset Yellow, Tartrazine (E102)

Not all additives are harmful, this is THE SAFE LIST:

Alginate (E401, E402, E403), Calcium Carbonate (E170), Carotene (E160a), Casein, Chlorophyll (E140), Citric Acid (E330, E301, E302, E303), Curcumin (E100), Guar Gum (E412), Gum Acacia or Gum Arabic (E414), Hydrogen Carbonate, Lactic Acid (E270), Lecithin (E322), Mono & Diglycerides (E471), Niacin, Pectin (E445a), Polysorbate 60 (E435), Polysorbate 80 (E433), Propionic Acid & Propionates, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sorbic Acid & Sorbates, Vitamin A (E101, E160), Vitamin B2 (E101), Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid (E300, E301, E302, E304), Vitamin E – Tocopherol (E306, E307, E308, E309), Xanthan Gum (E415)

You can read more in-depth detail about some of the nasties in our synthetic ingredients to avoid post.

Told you it was simple!

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