5 ‘All-Natural’ Products That Are Complete and Utter Garbage
With technology growing exponentially faster, it goes without saying that our lifetimes have been a continual exercise in quietly terrifying upheaval and advancement. You don’t have to be an Amish man, churning butter and spitting distastefully at the idea of an electric can opener, to admit that the grip tech has on our lives is a pretty tight one.
So what is there to do? What humans do best: violently overcompensate for something that upsets them by swinging back in the other direction. This sort of panic pops up in all sorts of ways, from going back to flip phones, to deciding to eat like cavemen (despite the fact they were never known for their health). Some people see three chemicals in a toothpaste ingredient list and immediately assume it’s pureed cancer. As such, there’s been a massive movement of “natural” products that have come along to capitalize on people’s distrust of words that start with “di-” and end in “-ate”, and, looking at their price tags, I do mean capitalize.
Sometimes, though, it turns that out maybe those chemicals were helping a bit, or that, shockingly enough, ingredients that have been around for centuries don’t have anything to “unlock.” Along those lines, here are five “all-natural” products that either suck, don’t work or both…
Natural Peanut Butter
A jar of classic Jif or Skippy is an absolute delight in every possible way. Cutting into that perfect plateau atop a new jar’s contents, watching it curl and collect along the blade of a knife and then spreading it like sweet mortar onto your delivery method of choice. The chorus of angels you can hear when sneaking a spoonful over the sink during a stressful day or night. My best guess for what the ambrosia of the Olympian gods tastes like is a mouthful of peanut butter, and even if not, I bet they’d rank it highly.
Alas, some fuck covered in turquoise necklaces decided that the science used to make peanut butter so incredible was somehow taboo, and unleashed the horror that is "natural" peanut butter into the world. Instead of a pillowy treat, it looks like a forgotten lab culture. Any urge you had for a nutty snack is removed when you open the top to see what is essentially a clump of wet gravel in a jar of oil. It’s less peanut butter than ground peanuts in butter. Getting it out of the jar, much less spread onto anything, is about as straightforward as shaving a cat’s knees. The cherry on top? Natural and traditional peanut butter have almost identical nutritional content.
Enjoy stirring your wet peanut remains, I’m sticking with the one that’s actually good.
Natural deodorant. That old borderline oxymoron. Here’s a tip: If anyone ever asks if you’re wearing natural deodorant, it means you smell like an upside-down porta potty. People continue to swear that there are types of natural deodorant that actually work, but people also swear that Bigfoot is real. It’s not a particularly good sign for the efficacy of your product if half the search results for it include “that actually works!”
Now, if you’ve got sensitive armpit skin and can’t use most deodorants, first of all, you would have been the first caveman to die. That said, sure, you might have to be picky about ingredients. For most of us though, the reason given for using natural deodorant is mostly avoiding aluminum, for antiquated reasons that plenty of scientists now say aren’t proven. It had been considered a possible cause of breast cancer, but the American Cancer Society themselves say there’s no convincing evidence of that. It’s also been labeled as a contributor to Alzheimer’s and kidney problems, but the former, again, isn’t proven, and the latter is only true if your kidneys are already in serious trouble.
So just pick up some Speed Stick and spare us all the stink of fear and B.O.
This one’s not quite as in vogue as when it felt inescapable in celeb gossip rags and Instagram ads a while back, but it still rears its gross, fatty head here and there. It’s the practice of “oil pulling,” where oil, usually coconut, is held and swished in the mouth to… uh, well, that’s where we start to hit the first problem. People claim all sorts of benefits from it, ranging from curing bad breath (depends on your opinion of coconut, I guess) to helping with diabetes (bless your heart).
It comes from ancient medicine dating back to hundreds of years B.C. You know, back when they had medicine super figured out, and everyone was the epitome of health. Somehow, it’s come roaring back, mostly thanks to the kind of people who spend $200 a month on crystals because dying is scary. Unsurprisingly, the general medical consensus on the practice is, “Look, if you want to dump a bunch of oil in your mouth, we’re not going to stop you, but also, this is probably bullshit.”
Look, as a balding man myself, I realize the healing power of clinging to hope. But the bald must also realize that this sorrow makes them prime saps for a miracle cure. Smiling homeopathic businesses are all too happy to acquiesce, offering all sorts of special oils and vitamins or whatever saw palmetto is to bring back the mane of your youth. Dump all the argan oil you want on your scalp, the only proven effect it’ll have on your bald spot is making it shinier.
There are only two things proven to slow or reverse hair loss, and neither of them grow on trees: They’re the medications finasteride and minoxidil, and even they aren’t guaranteed. If you’re wondering if some new natural, simple hair regrowth solution works, the answer’s right in front of you, in the form of a world full of balding men that sure wouldn’t like to be. Instead, spend your money on a good pair of clippers, break up with your barber and become a hat guy like the rest of us.
I know, I know. I’m sorry to come for your precious packet of no-sick powder, especially in a time of public health panic. But mega doses of vitamin C, in whatever form you ingest them, have been proven time and again to be psychosomatic more than scientifically helpful. Now, if you’re not getting enough vitamin C, that’s not good. The same as all other vitamins, hence the reason they have a daily value at all and you can’t just eat Doritos ad infinitum and live a long and prosperous life.
The part that’s more myth than medicine is the idea that mainlining thousands of milligrams of the stuff does anything, outside of possibly giving you diarrhea and a bad case of the farts. In the NPR program linked above, Marvin Lipman, endocrinologist and Chief Medical Advisor for Consumer Reports, puts it simply: “There’s very little evidence available that shows that vitamin C in mega doses is good for anything.”
If you just want to chug a glass of shitty soda and tell yourself it’s medicine, though, go ahead and crack that packet.