A couple of weeks ago my skin was irritated from over-exfoliating and I ran to the store to grab some aloe vera gel! Of course I wanted 100% aloe vera gel so as I quickly scanned all of the various aloe options I saw the following and ended up making the purchase. Look Closely at the label and see if anything stands out to you.
Notice anything weird about the photo? Look again. I was looking for 100% Aloe Vera Gel and at first glance you would thing that 100% aloe vera is exactly what I purchased – Only it was not. Notice that the label leads users to believe that they are purchasing 100% Aloe Vera Gel when in fact the only thing that the company has guaranteed is that you are purchasing 100% Gel. Lets be honest, no one really cares if it’s 100% gel. Actually, just by looking at the product you can tell that it’s a gel but the company cleverly included “100%” on the label because they know that we are easily misled by what’s on the packaging. I decided to dedicate this weeks blog to opening the eyes of the everyday consumer to some of the tricks that companies use to win us over. These are just a few that I see often – I’ll probably end up writing a part 2 follow up to this as I continue to notice more clever wording on product labels.
“Natural” and “Organic”
Companies want you to believe that their product is “safer” or “more green” than other products. Most often this is done by using the word “Natural”. Most companies would agree that if an ingredient comes from a natural source that it’s natural, however, what they fail to mention is that although it is naturally sourced, it has been chemically modified and manufactured in order to work the way it does! Also, for the large amount of people who look to organic products for protection from chemicals, keep in mind that while there is a USDA organic certification program, it’s not required that a company follow it to use the “organic” claim on their product! Most large companies are held to a higher standard by their consumers so you will find that they are more true to their label when it comes to the organic claim. I would do thorough research on companies that you come across online because they may not be as honest as we would like. Also make sure that you research companies that have these titles in their company name (ex: Edwards Organics, Edwards Naturals). The name of your company has nothing to do with the product you produce. Edwards Organics could very well have tons of harmful chemicals in it (If I ever went that route I would definitely stay true to my label – but that’s me!) Speaking of chemicals…
Free Of Chemicals
EVERYTHING IS A CHEMICAL. Don’t be fooled into believing that a product is safer for you because it is “chemical free”. Water is considered a chemical. What packages should say is “Free of HARMFUL Chemicals” because although this too is misleading, it at least respects the consumers enough to be honest.
This term is what a lot of people look for because they believe that the product will not cause any reactions or breakouts. The FDA concluded that this term has no real meaning so anyone is free to make the claim. There is nothing that we can definitively say 100% of people’s skin will not respond negatively to. If this were the case we would see much more of said ingredient throughout cosmetics worldwide.
It is illegal to make a claim that a cosmetic product fixes any particular problem. If this were the case, these products would be considered prescription drugs. Companies can, however, make claims that products “help” with something. Help is a very general word. What is considered help to you may not be considered help to me. So the company can very well claim that a product helps with something even though the product offers little to no improvement or may not have been tested.
I think it’s important that you understand that most companies do this as a form of marketing and as means to set themselves apart from competition. While this is misleading, everything that the companies are doing is 100% legal. I am not encouraging you to lose trust in companies that you may love. I am only equipping you with the tools to make educated decisions as it relates to your skin and what is best for you. I love how clever marketers are, and I think what they do is fair game…I also think that consumers knowing how to navigate those shelves intelligently is also fair game.