Why can natural personal care products be so expensive?

Why can natural personal care products be so expensive?

We've all been there: you learn for the first time just how many harmful ingredients are in your personal care products and vow to make a change, only to come up against a giant price tag. And, if you're like many consumers, you're not just cleaning up what goes on your body, but also what you use in your home. If you don't have an unlimited budget, it can feel like living a clean lifestyle is impossible. This blog will walk you through what causes the higher price tag, what products are worth the expense and areas where less expensive options will serve you just as well. 

When it comes to natural products, not all items are created equal. We've covered greenwashing in a previous article, but what about brands that aren't greenwashing? Why is there such a difference in price from one clean brand to another? After all, search 'natural deodorant’, and you'll get price tags as low as $5 and as high as $30: that's a pretty significant discrepancy. For most products, it comes down to ingredients. This can be especially true for deodorant. Baking soda is an inexpensive odor eater (there's a reason your grandma keeps it in her fridge), and this makes it a great place to start for a lot of natural deodorants. Unfortunately, baking soda can also irritate the skin, leading many people to ditch natural deodorant before they've ever really had a chance to explore their options. SAM+LEO is one of the brands ditching baking soda in favor of gentler natural ingredients - but those ingredients often come with a higher price tag. 

Another common irritant that often checks the clean box is essential oils. If you're new to clean beauty and home care, one of the first things you're likely to learn is that essential oils are a much healthier alternative for perfuming your home than a scented candle. Understandably, many people jump to the conclusion that essential oils must then be better in personal care products as well. And while you can undoubtedly use essential oils on your body, there are several guidelines for using them safely. But even used in safe amounts, essential oils can still be irritating to the skin. So while they seem like the perfect option for scenting personal care products, they're often not.  And finding alternative, gentler fragrances is often more costly, thus bumping up the price of your favorite products.

So why not just go unscented? For some products that’s definitely an option. But sometimes we just want our products to smell nice, and sometimes the scent is needed to make it more effective. Natural deodorant is one such product: Because there’s no antiperspirant involved and thus nothing to stop you from sweating, it’s very challenging to create an effective unscented deodorant. This is especially true for teens, who tend to sweat more than their adult counterparts (thanks, hormones).  At SAM+LEO, we've crafted a custom scent for our teen deodorant designed to be non-irritating even to those with sensitive skin. It has the added advantage of also being free from phthalates, parabens, and hormone disrupters.

But it's not just what ingredients are in your product that affects the price, but also where they come from. Most truly green brands are not interested in producing a product that's simply better for your body: they also want it to be better for the environment, the communities making the ingredient and the test subjects (such as ending animal testing). Ensuring all components meet the brand's rigorous standards requires more time and money than simply sourcing with the easiest-to-find ingredients. You can learn more about traceability and the ingredients in SAM+LEO products here.

Ultimately, when you're buying a genuinely good-for-you product, you're paying for the value of the high-quality ingredients. But, of course, just because you're committed to better products and believe in a brand doesn't mean your budget adjusts accordingly. So here are some basic guidelines for where to spend and where to cut back: 

  1. Spend money on products that get absorbed into your skin or are ingested. This includes items like deodorant, lotion, cosmetics and vitamins and supplements (protein powders, CBD tinctures, etc.). 
  2. Buy long-lasting products when you can. Consider switching to things like bar soap, shampoo and conditioner. These products often have the same or lower cost than their bottled counterparts but last longer, giving you more bang for your buck. If you prefer the liquid version, though, try to choose products that require a smaller amount to be effective. 
  3. Make your own cleaning products. Many home cleaning products can be made with vinegar, rubbing alcohol, essential oils and a spray bottle. Even laundry detergent is inexpensive to make. 
  4. Scent with essential oils. Many common essential oils, such as citrus, peppermint, and lavender, can be purchased inexpensively and still of good quality. While you want to be careful of putting any of these on your skin without properly diluting them, they are a great way to scent your home and your homemade cleaning products. Just be sure to check the scent you choose is safe for small children and pets if you have them at home. 

What you spend money on comes down to your personal values and budget at the end of the day. While natural products are often more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, they aren't always. And by making smart choices about which ones to splurge on and which ones to save on, you can have both safe and effective products for your personal care and home. Ready to make the switch to natural deodorant? Get on our notification list and be the first to receive your SAM+LEO deodorant.