As a consumer of natural men’s grooming products, you want to be sure the pomades and beard oils you’re purchasing actually follow through on their “organic” label promises.  

Unfortunately, so many companies these days are marching in the parade of misinformation and for lack of better words, tricking their customers into thinking they’re buying the real deal when they’re not. Being the well informed man that you are, you know that companies often skirt around specifics and take shortcuts to boost their bottom line.  

When you’re trying to get to the bottom of it all, it all starts with one thing: the label. Let’s take a look at how to properly read ‘em and which ingredients you should be paying especially close attention to.  

Why you should be wary of what you’re putting on your skin

  Organic foods and produce are much more “mainstream” these days, but even if you take a bite of non-organic food you have the inbuilt protection of stomach and saliva enzymes to break down chemicals and get rid of them. The same can’t be said about what you put on your skin and scalp though.  

Even though the outer layers of our skin (epidermis) do a good job at keeping elements like water out, they can’t protect you from absorbing certain chemicals. Nanoparticles and other penetration enhancers (found in common moisturizers, creams, sun lotions) are especially troublesome since they are specifically designed to easily penetrate the skin. Once these chemicals are free to roam your bloodstream, they will eventually attach to your organs and can cause irreversible harm to your health. What’s more concerning is that on certain parts of the body, skin absorption rates increase substantially. The parts you should be most concerned about include: forehead, scalp, and underarms.

Ingredients to watch out for

  An alarming amount of mainstream grooming products contain a cocktail of irritants, carcinogenic chemicals, and other toxins. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can’t pronounce what you’re seeing on the label, it’s probably best to avoid it.  

Preservatives, fragrances, and other petroleum derivatives are often hidden behind other names, namely: Parabens, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, PEF-75 lanolin, PVP, Ceteareth-25, Glycerin, Parfum, EDTA, Caramel, Tetrasodium  

We’re not about to name drop, but check out the following ingredients list, it’s taken straight from a popular pomade label: Aqua, Ceteareth-25, PVP, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Parfum, Coumarin, PEG-75 Lanolin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Tetrasodium, EDTA, Caramel, CI 16035 Red 40  

Here’s more about the types of products and other ingredients men should avoid.

The different “types” of organic labels

  What if you want to eliminate these preservative, chemicals, and fragrances? The best thing to do is choose organic.  

It doesn’t just stop with “organic” however. In the United States there are two possibilities for organic products:  

  1. The entire product is certified organic
  The product will have the official USDA symbol and the words “Certified Organic” on the Principal (front) and Information (back) panels and would have gone through strict labelling and production requirements for ALL ingredients.  
  1. Certain ingredients have been certified organic

  The product may may ONLY state the words “Certified Organic” on the Information panel for specific ingredients, as well as the percentage of organic ingredients.  

Armed with this knowledge, it may be time to have a grown up story time with your grooming labels and toss whatever doesn’t fit the bill. Still have questions? Leave us a note below.