Are You Being Fooled At The Beauty Counter? What All Those Labels Really Mean

Are you Being Fooled at the Beauty Counter | Makeup DetoxAfter learning about the toxins in your beauty products, did you run out and buy the first ‘All-Natural Body Scrub’ you could get your hands on? Oh dear. Well you may have wasted your money.

Companies are cleverly using terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ to trick you into buying their products. Hint: the products are usually the same – it’s just the marketing that’s changed.

The good: companies are reacting to the public’s growing demand for all-natural products (yay!). The bad: they’re just finding better ways to to hide the nasties in their products (boo!). If you don’t want to get duped, read on.

Let’s get a few terms straight:


Found in nature and unprocessed or minimally processed by humans. Is everything natural automatically safe? No! Hello… rattle snakes! But it’s a term we use to mean a non-toxic ingredient derived from nature.

Don’t fall for any ‘natural’ claims, there aren’t regulations on what can be called natural.


Plants grown without the use of pesticides. While I eat mostly organic food, I’m not as picky about using only organic beauty products – especially because they can cost twice as much. This is a personal choice.

Companies can say their product is ‘organic’ in the packaging, but there are no regulations on that word. For true organic, look for seals like ‘USDA organic’ or ‘Ecocert’. Ecocert is less strict than USDA Organic but is still good.

Paraben-free/Pthalate-free, etc

This can be a good signal but don’t buy blindly. Sometimes companies say ‘paraben-free’ because they know it will be more appealing to the public, but they just replace parabens with other unhealthy chemicals. Proceed with caution and read ingredients – more on that later.

Bottom line

It may sound cynical, but the main goal of any company is to sell to you. That’s not a bad thing – there are great companies out there with the right intentions. It just means you have to be wary. Don’t trust any marketing claims – most snazzy words on the label don’t mean much. It’s really the ingredient list that tells the truth. No ingredient list? Beware.

How do you take steps to know you’re buying quality products?

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Tan in a bottle? That doesn’t make sense. That takes chemicals.
  • Use the test in my freebie (you got it when you signed up).
  • Shop for personal care items at the health food store. Not everything at health food stores is automatically safe. But for now, this will make a big difference.
  • Honestly? Most products you find at the drugstore or department store are filled with toxic chemicals (yes even the ‘luxury’, more expensive ones). If you’ve seen a commercial for a beauty product on TV, it’s probably bad for you. [tweet this]

In the comments I want to hear from you: have you ever been ‘duped’ in some way at the beauty counter? What happened?

More reading: Adria Vasil breaks down the different organic seals here.
Non-toxic kisses,

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The 2-Step Trick to Reveal if Your Beauty Products are Toxic

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vikki December 7, 2013

Wow! Really found this eye-opening and Adria Vasil’s article fills in some of the blanks. I’ll have to be more aware of what I buy!


Michele December 7, 2013

Yes it can be surprising at first to start thinking about these things. Most people look at food labels but not cosmetics labels.