"Greenwashing": A term to keep in mind when shopping for natural beauty products
Did you know Natural doesn't always mean natural? Have you heard of the term Greenwashing before? Well, if you haven't we are going to break it down for you.
Greenwashing is more prominent than ever on the market because natural beauty has become very popular. We get questions all the time about what products are truly natural and which ones are simply jumping through legal hoops to say they are natural. Keep watching to learn what greenwashing is, what common signs to look out for and what brands are greenwashing!
What is Greenwashing?
Green Washing is when a company makes misleading claims about the health or environmental benefits of a product or service or even technology to boost their sales. Using words like "natural" or "eco" are very common, "plant extracts" 'derived from plants" are some other terms used within the beauty industry and it can be very confusing for the consumer.
Other things to look out for are packaging, they may be using unbleached materials to make it appear more natural, or use colors like brown and green to emulate a more eco-friendly or healthier product.
Why is Greenwashing bad?
Well, its misleading consumers into thinking they are living a more environmentally friendly, healthier life when in fact they are not so that they (the companies) can line their pockets with cash from the misled consumer. How is that ok??
Common Signs of Greenwashing
-"eco', "pure, "raw" "for sensitive skin", "hypoallergenic", "mineral", "herbal", "paraben-free", "chemical-free", "earth-friendly"
- "contains natural ingredients"
- visuals of plants on the packaging.
Our tips to avoid greenwashing and know when your being mislead!
First, Do your due diligence and research, flip the bottle over and look at the ingredients, have the dirty dozen to refer to.
Buy from smaller, local companies where possible, know who is behind the brand, reduce your carbon footprint by buying local and carry reusable and refillable containers.
Reduce your single-use plastics and even single-use compostables.
Look for legit logos and certifications like Leaping Bunny, Fairtrade Canada and Canadian Organics Standard (COS)
We realize that some smaller brands have been bought out by big brands, for example, Burts Bees is now owned by Clorox. While its great that larger companies want to get into the green game but we hope, (but unfortunately they haven't shown us so far, that they will keep the integrity of the brand)
Brands that Greenwash
Tarte - ingredients like shea butter, licorice extracts, and Amazonian clay are highlighted but upon further investigation its easy to find ingredients that are known to cause eye and skin irritation and contain synthetic fragrance. There is talc in their eyeshadows, talc can contain asbestos and talc is strongly connected to cancer. Johnson and Johnson have paid out millions in lawsuits connected to cancer WTF?!?!
There is a vegan-friendly logo but remember that it doesn't mean free some harmful chemicals.
Some other brands that use greenwashing:
The Body Shop (owned by L'oreal) - through imagery, words like "botanical ingredients"
LUSH - "cruelty-free" and vegan does not mean its natural. LUSH uses heavy fragrance and preservatives.
Burts Bees (owned by Clorox) - we wanted to mention Burts Bees because this is an example of a small company that was taken over by a large corporation. Some people may not have issues with this, however, we try to stay away from supporting brands owned by unethical corporations.
Bare Minerals - mineral makeup does not mean the rest of the ingredients are natural. In fact, some people are actually sensitive to minerals!
Aveeno - Aveeno highly promotes the use of soothing oats in their products, an example of highlighting a few key ingredients to sweep all of the others under the rug
Neutrogena Pure & Free
Nivea Pure & Natural
So you can see, it's very important to be aware and do your research, everyone is different when it comes to what is important to them.
So you decide, what's important to you, we realize lifestyles, budgets and constitutions vary, we are hoping this video will spark some interest for you to take your power back as the consumer.
Speak with your dollars and help spread the word about very misleading marketing such as greenwashing. Support brands you believe in.