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As a consumer myself, I have always been mindful of what is stated on labels and packaging for certain products as I know that some companies will do anything to close a sale, even if it means writing information that may be misleading to consumers. Even as a formulator, it has been difficult trying to figure out which companies stock the purest raw ingredients.

Please keep in mind that not all companies try to be misleading but below are some things you might not know that may make you think twice before buying certain products.

What is Organic?

Scientifically speaking, the chemistry definition of an organic ingredient refers to "compounds containing carbon." Carbon is found in all living (or once living) substances including petrochemicals and other compounds and therefore is too broad of a term in the cosmetic industry yet some companies still make these claims based on the scientific term.

However, in personal care products, an organic product should refer to ingredients that are certified organic and ingredients that are completely natural, grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and tests free of synthetic chemical residues.

Natural Ingredients

There are two categories to determine the natural status of an ingredient:

1. Derived from nature with minimal processing which means that the product sustains its natural integrity or:

2. Derived from nature complexed with, or processed using synthetic ingredients which means that pesticide residues and impurities may still be present.

Even though they have started as natural ingredients, they may not necessarily be completely natural after processing which is another loop hole that companies can use which may be misleading for consumers.

Clinically Proven VS Clinically Tested

Once upon a time, I used to be a person who would chose a product over another because one said it was "Clinically Proven" or "Clinically Tested." But what does that actually mean? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

Clinically proven means that in the clinical trial, the results reported were actual, significant, however the trial can contain from 1+ people. If a trial was done with one person and the result was positive, that is still not a valid trial. Recently a company got caught as they did a trial amongst their colleagues where 4/5 people had positive effects. The company then claimed that the product had an 80% success rate.Not a very valid statement at all.

Again, clinically tested is another term thrown around to convince customers that a product may be better than another because it is "clinically tested." This is another misleading term which means that the ingredient or products has been tested but it does not mean that it was successful or safe, merely that it was tested. 

Made in Australia

If you are someone that loves to support Australian companies, you just like me. However, keep in mind that even if it has the Australian Made logo on it, it doesn't necessarily mean that it was manufactured in Australia or the ingredients are from Australia. Some companies can classify their products as "Made in Australia" rather than "Australian Made" merely because they thought of the idea while they were in Australia. Others may get ingredients shipped from overseas and then produce them in Australia or some products may be designed in Australia but created overseas. These two phrases "Australian Made" and "Made in Australia" sound so similar yet according to the ACCC have two very different meanings.


Related Links

Australian Made Claims (ACCC)

Scientific Meaning of Organic

Organic Claims (ACCC)

Dr. Bill Sukala

Institute of Personal Care Sciences

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