Just like it's important to understand exactly what the claims on food labels mean, it's important to know whether the labels on "clean" grooming products are legit or just marketing hype. It's especially important to be informed when it comes to grooming products because it's a far less regulated market than the food industry. On top of that, personal care companies aren't required to list every ingredient on their labels due to "trade secret" regulations, so it's key to choose brands that are extremely transparent about what's inside. Here are a few of the terms you might see on natural skin and body products to help you make sense of what's out there.
Organic vs Natural
While "natural" is one of the most commonly used words on body products, it's also undefined by the FDA and mostly unregulated. Any company can use the word natural, even if they're not using natural ingredients. Even if they are using a few natural ingredients, it doesn't necessarily mean they're beneficial. USDA Organic, on the other hand, is regulated using the same standards as organic foods. To carry a USDA Organic label, a product must contain at least 95% ingredients that are grown without the use of specific pesticides and fertilizers and without GMOs.
Bottom line: Read the ingredient list. The word "natural" can be meaningful, but only if everything listed is recognizable and can be sourced directly from nature. Jack Henry strictly uses ingredients sourced as directly as possible from nature. We use organic ingredients whenever possible (but some ingredients don't have organic versions available). All the oils we use are Certified Organic, and our other ingredients are from sources that we carefully vet for purity.
Synthetic generally refers to any ingredient that's created by scientists in a lab vs found naturally in the world. In terms of skin and body care, synthetics can be anything from Vitamin C and hylauronic acid to fragrances to harmful preservatives like parabens and pthalates. Just like natural ingredients aren't always beneficial, synthetics aren't always dangerous or harmful, but they're also highly unregulated in the US. For example, the FDA only bans 11 chemicals, while the EU bans over 1,300 chemicals. The last piece of US legislation regulating personal care products was passed in...wait for it...1938.
Bottom Line: Since synthetics are so unregulated in US grooming products, do your own research. Look up the ingredients listed on the label and any potential hazards so you can make an informed choice. At Jack Henry, we keep it simple and skip the synthetics altogether so you never have to guess what you're putting on your body. We're firm believers that, when sourced thoughtfully, the best ingredients are already offered by nature.
Like almost all the other words on this list, "non-toxic" is totally unregulated, meaning that it can be defined however a company wants to define it. Typically, non-toxic should refer to a product that's made without ingredients linked to harmful health outcomes in humans (like cancer, hormone disruption, etc.), so you probably won't see the "worst" offenders like parabens and pthalates on something labeled non-toxic. A few non-profit organizations, such as MADE SAFE, offer strictly-vetted non-toxic certifications.
Bottom line: Check the label. (Sick of hearing that yet?) Even better, check the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database. They offer reports on the ingredients of thousands of personal care products and potential hazards. At Jack Henry, ingredients that are proven or even suspected to be harmful will never have a place in our products. We choose ingredients that not only are proven to not be harmful, but are actually beneficial for your skin, hair, and body.
Clean is typically just a variation on non-toxic or natural. It's also unregulated, so it's key to do your own investigating.
Bottom line: Make sure the ingredients back up the claims, and look into how ingredients are sourced. We take the word "clean" very seriously. All JH products are created and produced without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients.