Cheap Tricks And Snake Oil There are a number of cheap tricks that cosmetic companies use to fool us into believing that we’re purchasing something that is ‘natural’ or otherwise good for us, when it is anything but. Here are a couple of examples:

Incorporating ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘botanical’ into the brand or logo

This means absolutely NOTHING. Such products may contain minuscule amounts of natural ingredients, along with a whole host of chemical nasties.

The regulations currently state that ‘ingredients must be listed in descending order by volume or mass, however ingredients present at less than one-per cent may be listed in any order.’

So very dilute herbal extracts such as certified organic floral waters (a by-product of making essential oils) are commonly added to cosmetic products. This is pure deceit, aimed at making you and I believe these products are more herbal or natural than they really are.

A rose by any other name…

Formaldehyde is a cheap preservative which is used in some major brand hair care products. It is toxic, carcinogenic and probably the most irritating ingredient used in personal care products. It is listed as “formalin” on product labels instead of its recognised name, formaldehyde, to veil its presence. This is legally acceptable.

Hello? Isn’t formaldehyde what taxidermists use to preserve dead animals?!


This means that some common irritants have been left out, but the product may well still contain heaps of the usual suspects.


This ingredient is everywhere, even in some of my favourite ‘natural’ brands. It can mean that a synthetic substance has been added, possibly to make the product smell nicer. It masks hundreds of ingredients, including phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine system and could cause reproductive and developmental harm.

It is absolutely infuriating not to be able to trust any of the familiar brands we know and love, but unfortunately we can’t. Informing yourself as to what ingredients mean and constant label-reading are the only ways to ensure that your skin care regime isn’t causing you harm and that you really are choosing natural skin care products.

That’s why we created Ikigai. We’ve done all the label-reading and research for you, and you can trust any of the products you find on the site to be chock-full of wholesome ingredients and no nasties.

By pauline