Natural vs. Manmade ingredients

Natural vs. Man-Made Ingredients

People often intuitively prefer natural ingredients because they feel those materials must be purer and safer than man-made ingredients, but that is not always the case.

Being safe

A natural ingredient is a substance that occurs in nature and is either unprocessed or separated from its natural state. Both natural and synthetic ingredients have a safe range and an unsafe range; this is true even for life-sustaining basics like sunlight, water, and oxygen. It is the amount and use context of any ingredient that ultimately determines whether it is safe, not whether it comes from a natural or man-made source.

Many people believe that natural ingredients work differently in the body or are inherently safer than man-made, synthetic ingredients. However, there is no solid data to support this concept. For instance, when asked about organic cosmetic ingredients, the FDA says, “An ingredient’s source does not determine its safety. For example, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic.” More information about organic materials are found on the FDA’s website.

Feeling safe

At P&G, your safety guides the ingredient choices we make so that our products can be safely used everyday, in your homes and our homes. Sometimes man-made, synthetic ingredients can be more sustainable anduse less energy and fewer resources than harvesting the natural version; it all depends on the use, context, and energy consumption for that particular ingredient and product.

The video on the right side of this page provides more information on how we ensure the safety of our ingredients.

Keeping your family safe

See how we use science to ensure product safety.