Cross my heart – there is no such thing as “chemical free” when it comes to cleaning and beauty products. Unless you bought a product that just contains a vacuum – nothingness. Because if it was just air, it would still have chemicals.
A “chemical” is a material with a specific chemical composition. Like water, whether it is found in nature or manufactured in a laboratory, is always 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom, or H20. Now, there are some refinements to that. For example, in organic chemistry, there can be more than one chemical compound with the same composition and molecular weight. These chemicals are known as isomers. You actually know this. Really. Glucose and fructose are isomers. Both have the same molecular formula but differ structurally.
Okay, enough chemistry. Basically, all you need to know is that a chemical is a material with a specific chemical composition.
So, if a product contains water, it contains a chemical. If it contains propylene glycol, it contains a chemical.
But, lately, I have seen a TON of products claiming to be chemical free. Take Blue Lizard’s Baby Sunscreen. It claims it is chemical free and fragrance free. Yet, here are the ingredients:
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (10%), Titanium Dioxide (5%)
Inactive Ingredients: Water Purified, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Polyglyceryl 4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Propylene Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Trimethylated Silica/Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, PEG 7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sorbitol Oleate, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Stearic Acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tocopheryl Acetate
Take a close look at the ingredients. Does that really seem chemical free to you? So the two active ingredients – although naturally occurring minerals – they are chemicals. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are both chemicals. (Although in sunscreens, they work by providing a barrier, as opposed to chemical sunscreens.)
The first inactive ingredient – water – is a chemical. Water is H20. Always. So it is a chemical.
Then we can pick on all the other synthetic ingredients too.
It has skin penetrants – the PEG/PPG ingredients. It has lots and lots of petroleum based ingredients, such as propylene glycol. And it has 2 parabens, something many individuals are avoiding.
So if you see a beauty or household cleaning product claiming to be chemical free, be wary. If the company is going to make that blatantly false a claim, then what else is it doing?
If the company is claiming all natural ingredients, or no harsh chemicals or something similar, that is a different issue. It may well be true – it all depends on your definition since “all natural” and “no harsh chemicals” are not legal or regulated terms.
But chemical free? That is just a lie. Unless the company is selling you absolutely nothing. Because even water is a chemical.
Don’t be fooled. Even natural products must contain chemicals.
And, by the way, natural doesn’t mean safer by any stretch of the imagination. Arsenic and lead both are natural.