Monday, January 21, 2019

GREEN LIVING :: The 411 on Greenwashing in Beauty Products

The other day I stopped at WholeFoods to look for shampoo with my daughter.  As I was checking out my options on the Think Dirty app I was reminded of greenwashing so here I am writing this post about it.

What is greenwashing?  When used in reference to beauty products it basically means making a product seem green, or safe, when it's really not.  Cue words in product labels like natural, botanical, chemical-free, organic, toxin-free or dermatologist-approved make us feel like we are purchasing a safe product but that's not always the case.

Unfortunately, those cue words that we all look for do not hold a lot of weight.  This is because we are lacking in regulations to control the use of this language on beauty products.

As a conscious consumer, how do you spot greenwashing?

1.   Don't fall prey to marketing strategies!  Words like natural, organic, preservative-free, chemical-free or dermatologist-approved don't really mean much most of the time.  I know we all feel more comfortable if a skin product says dermatologist-approved for instance but that doesn't imply that the product has undergone any rigorous or standardized testing per se.  It simply means that a dermatologist recommends it, probably because it's not likely to cause skin irritation.

2.  Know the company that you are purchasing from:

Seek out companies that are transparent with all of their ingredients and stringent in their selection process.  I am driven to companies like 100 Pure or Beautycounter that were started because their founders wanted safer beauty products in consumers' hands.  Look at the ingredient selection process, that's key.  Are they sourcing their ingredients and conducting their own tests?  This is not something that is required right now, so companies who actually go the extra mile get bonus points in my book.

2.  Look up the products:

The ThinkDirty app and EWG apps that I talked about in this post are super helpful because you can install them on your phone for easy on the go access.  Take advantage while they are still free!  Double check products that say organic, natural etc on them before you make a purchase.  It takes a little longer but it's worth your while.  The other day I was surprised to see that a shampoo from one of the "cleaner" brands at WholeFoods had a rating of 8!  

Know the top ingredients to avoid (the Never List) which I'll be discussing in an upcoming post. If you see any of these in a product, please find an alternative.

Remember:  until regulations become more stringent it is up to you to make safe choices!

Thank you for reading this post!

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