Mythbusters: Let’s Talk about Natural Ingredients, Myths and Outright lies


“If you can’t pronounce it, it shouldn’t be in your [hair or skin] care.” 

I’ve heard that SOOOOO often.

And I used to sort of believe it.

A few objections immediately come to mind. What if you can’t pronounce it because you don’t have a big vocabulary and can’t read well? Or what if you can pronounce one of the words in a phrase but not the other? Or what if you just have never heard it pronounced? I still can’t pronounce cetyl alcohol – how does one say cetyl? I know from researching it that it’s a fatty alcohol that used as a conditioning agent and it’s absolutely harmless on the toxicity scale, but I still don’t know how to say cetyl. It sounds kind of silly to me the way I say it.

Do you know what polyquaternium is?? Do you? Then it shouldn’t be in your shampoo.


Actually after years of reading packaging and looking up (I kid you not), every single ingredient on cosmetics databases, I almost want to run if a product says 100% natural. It is likely to contain pulverized plant material and greasy oils that are losing all efficacy because there are no preservatives. Many have also not been proven to do anything for you, but if they’re from nature, they must be good, right? And the 100% natural thing – that is also likely not quite true.

You cannot just extract and pulverize plant material and say – voila! A gift from nature to solve your problems and heal your skin and hair!

Science is full of all kinds of miracles of nature. But you have to be willing to do your research, whether you’re making or buying a product. If you say, “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it,” you’re actually discouraging people from learning. I stumbled a little bit the first time I read the word dimethicone. But instead of putting the product back on the shelf I looked it up. What is dimethicone? It’s a synthetic conditioning or slip agent. One of the most non-greasy conditioning products in the world, is non-sensitizing, and is a 0 to 1 on the toxicity scale (keep in mind these scales are very picky and purely natural ingredients from the purely natural world are sometimes higher on the toxicity scale than 0 or 1).

If you have oily skin and are in search of “natural” products, it’s likely you’ve tried a product that contained something recognizable, like olive oil, instead of dimethicone, as a base for your foundation or moisturizer. How long did that last? For me, it lasted all of 3 days, as my skin broke out wildly from the olive oil all over my face. No, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for oily skin. Once I figured out what these foreign words were (dimethicone, cetyl alcohol), I was liberated. A conditioning agent that contains no greasy oils that are going to make me break out. Thank goodness.

And if reputable scientific researchers like and rate this product as absolutely non-sensitizing (safe for sensitive skin) and non-toxic, WHY do people keep rejecting it as non-natural?

Actually they probably don’t even know it’s in their favorite “natural” skincare.

But the manufacturers do. They will either not mention it and hope you don’t read the ingredients, highlighting instead their use of natural plant ingredients, or they will leave it out and brag that their product is 100% natural containing only plant ingredients. The former is effective because of the dimethicone and steryl alcohol and other synthetic ingredients, not in spite of them. The latter are products that might not do what they say they do.

Read more Mythbusters: Myths, Ignorance and Outright Lies.

9 thoughts on “Mythbusters: Let’s Talk about Natural Ingredients, Myths and Outright lies

  1. Great tips! I have heard that too about ingredients you can’t pronounce, you shouldn’t use it. But I wasn’t truly convinced. What a great idea for a post.


  2. Your skin is so radiant it drives me insaaane! 🙂 And thanks for clearing that up. Truth is there’s so many healthy skincare ingredients and I WISH I got half of them when I read a label lol.


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