Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tips for buying great green personal care products by Dr Desai,


Tips for buying great green personal care products by Dr Desai,

Are all products labeled “green” or “eco-friendly” or “natural” equal?  This is a rhetorical question, of course!  In trying to source your favorite natural personal care products, I would recommend that you examine your favorite personal care product using the following criteria:

Sourcing:  Is the source of the raw materials and ingredients clear to you?  Is it plant based, or synthetic?  Even if the source is plant based, are the ingredients undergoing significant processing or substantial chemical modifications? Is the source domestic or foreign?  If foreign, are the cultivators of the plant based ingredients being adequately compensated, and is your manufacturer adhering or pledging to Fair Trade Practices. 

Environmental impact:  Just because the ingredients are plant based, or natural doesn’t mean that there is no environmental impact.  For example, do you know if the trees or plants that provide the source ingredients for your personal care product, are being grown or cultivated with renewal agricultural practices?  And don’t forget the packaging materials that your favorite personal care product comes in as well?  Is the packaging made from renewal resources and can it be reused or recycled?

Safety:  Is the product that you are using safe to use?  Safe enough to be used on young children or adults who may not be in good health?  Just because something is natural or naturally sourced, doesn’t mean that it is safe.  There are far too many natural products, which contain toxic ingredients including preservatives like parabens, or formaldehyde releasers like DMDM Hydantoin or antibacterial agents like triclosan.  Was any of the testing for safety being done on animals?  Look for products that are not tested on animals or carry the Leaping Bunny approved logo.

Efficacy:  Ultimately you expect the product that you bought to be efficacious for whatever purpose you had in mind and deliver results that you were expecting.  Unfortunately, there are several natural personal care products out there that don’t perform or live up to their marketing hype. 

Company values:  While this item may be ignored by a few, the values of the manufacturer or what the brand/company represents is very important.  Does the manufacturer of your natural personal care product truly care about the customers, the environment, their products, their ingredients, their packaging or is it all lip-service? Does the company disclose all its ingredients? Is there a performance or satisfaction guarantee that is offered by the manufacturer?  Does the company donate some proceeds of its revenue to your favorite social or environmental causes?  While such a charitable contribution is not necessary, it often times is a good indicator of whether the manufacturer of your natural personal care product, care for something greater than the almighty dollar!

Now that you have some of these tips handy, you will be able to make an informed decision when it comes to finding great natural personal care products.  In addition, you will be able to be able to influence what products your favorite retailer should carry! 

Let Dr Desai answer your questions about natural personal care products.  Please send your questions to or call 908-236-6742.  For more information, visit 

The Truth about Personal Care Labels by Dr. Desai,


The Truth about Personal Care Labels by Dr. Desai,

Ever wonder what words like “green”, “natural” or “eco-friendly” mean?  Let me start by stating some facts about personal care products

·         The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetic labeling under the authority of both the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA)

·         Labeling: This term refers to all labels and other written, printed, or graphic matter on or accompanying a product (1)

·         Principal Display Panel (PDP): This is the part of the label most likely displayed or examined under customary conditions of display for sale [21 CFR 701.10].

·         Information Panel: Generally, this term refers to a panel other than the PDP that can accommodate label information where the consumer is likely to see it. The information on this panel must be prominent and conspicuous (1)

·         The FDA doesn’t regulate the term “organic” as applied to personal care products (2) 

·         If a personal care product contains agricultural ingredients, then the manufacturer can seek USDA organic certification

·         In the US, federal legislation defines 3 levels of Organic products : 1)products made entirely with organic ingredients and methods may be labeled “100 % organic”, 2) products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled “organic” and 3) products with at least 70% organic ingredients may be labeled, “made with organic ingredients (3)

·         The word “natural” has no regulatory meaning, except when used in the context of poultry or meat.  Natural meat and poultry cannot contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or sweeteners and typically have minimal processing.  A label of natural on meat products must specify how the product qualifies as natural.  Many products listed as “natural” have several non-natural processes.

·         The words “eco-friendly” or “green” have no regulatory meaning.  Many products listed as “eco-friendly” or “green” may contain preservatives such as parabens or formaldehyde releaser DMDM Hydantoin.

·         Ingredients less than 0.1% of formulation do not have to be disclosed on product labels (4).

What does this all mean to you as a consumer? You should never let a product name or brand be the driving force in your decision to purchase. Product label reading and understanding is essential for the educated consumer. If you choose organic or natural let it be just that. Dr. Desai can help! Let Dr. Desai answer your questions at about personal care product labels and ingredients.


1. [FD&C Act, sec. 201(m); 21 U.S.C. 321(m)].


3. "Labeling organic products". U.S. Department of Agriculture. October 2012.  

4. www.SafeCosmetics.Org