What are Naturally-Sourced Ingredients?

We recently won a prize pack of stuff for our kids. Included in the prize pack was a cute little bottle of shampoo and another bottle of detangling conditioner. Proudly written on the label are the words, “100% natural-source ingredients.”

That got me to wondering what is actually in these soap products. So I read the label; “…free of artificial preservatives and harsh surfactants like sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate.”

Move down the label to the ingredient list:

  • Aqua
  • Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate
  • Decyl Glocoside
  • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
  • Laramine Oxide
  • Glycerol Oleate
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Citric Acid
  • Lavandula Officinalis Oil
  • and Chamomila Recutia Flower Oil

The list of ingredients makes me feel like I am in an episode of “Breaking Bad” with Walt and Jesse. These are naturally sourced ingredients? So I am left wondering, what does “naturally-sourced” actually mean?




  1. I’m thinking “naturally-sourced” is a clever marketing term to make people think the shampoo is better than other, cheaper shampoo. Probably there are no restrictions on what shampoo has to contain to be naturally sourced…but people see it and think they are buying less chemicals. Cynical? Yes…
    From a chemistry background…the whole “organic” designation bugs me too. Yes, food is organic. Organic means made of carbon-based chains. All sugars and starches are carbon chains.
    I’ve joined the no ‘poo fad. I’m finding baking soda and a touch of apple cider vinegar do a so much better job of washing hair than expensive shampoos and conditioner. And I would no qualms about eating it, so why not use it on my hair?

  2. I’m a busy guy…. and not at work at the moment so unable to lookup those particular ingredients specifically. However, usually “naturally sourced” and similar claims can be full of crap. Literally. But in this day and age the ingredient suppliers are trying very hard to come out with ecocert (european designation) products or even cleaner than ecocert. Many of them have excellent performance characteristics and can offer exceptional advantages over conventional simple ingredients. There’s no way baking soda and something else offers the same cleansing and conditioning as a well made shampoo. That’s kind of like putting 15W motor oil from 1920 in your 2011 VW TDI motor…. good luck with warranty at the dealer if you don’t use the VW spec oil! We’ve come a long way from simple ingredients. So… naturally sourced these days is taken from available vegetable source ingredients and combined with other novel natural source ingredients to formulate products which can have some unusual INCI names. INCI is the international nomenclature chemical naming system. For instance water = aqua. Some are amino acids combined with fatty alcohols, etc so the INCO names can be very unusual. In any case, it’s best to look up the INCI name in wikipedia to be sure. Surfactants such as decyl polyglucoside are as natural as you can get…. essentially corn starch reworked with fatty alcohols. But they are not cheap…. so if you want a really good quality shampoo that doesn’t use common sodium lauryl sulfate (what’s in garage floor cleaner) you won’t find it in the dollar store. It’s quite the science these days to come out with very effective clean natural source products using clean preservatives (staying away from parabens and the like).

    I agree… “certified organic” in personal care products is practically BS. There’s a few large companies out there that advertise “herbal” this and “herbal” that yet their idea of putting quality herbal extracts in their batches is basically having somebody walk the bucket by the mixing vat…. if you know what I mean. There are tons of “cert organic” products on the market containing artificial colours, nasty preservatives, petroleum ingredients, harsh surfactants, artificial scents, propylene glycol instead of high grade veg glycerine, etc. Unless you really spend some time reading the label you could be buying “cert organic garbage”. From a manufacturing point of view we refuse to use many common ingredients that others throw in the mix. It makes formulating more difficult and more expensive, but in our opinion worth it. With all the talk of cancer and other diseases…. what you put on your skin is readily absorbed and enters the bloodstream similar to you eating food. Quality food vs junk food? You are what you eat…. same goes for your skin.

    Unfortunately it comes down to consumer beware and taking the time to try to educate yourself about the ingredients that are out there.

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