Monday, June 23, 2008

Solutions To A New Problem

Here’s something I was recently schooled on by Valerie from that I wanted to pass on. When it comes to any product, there is a term called greenwashing. I mentioned it here a few months ago but didn’t know it was called this, and it’s really misleading. Here’s an example of greenwashing: XXX Organic Shea Butter Body Butter. Great, Shea butter, we all know that’s good for skin, right? Look at the list of ingredients to where the words Shea Butter are listed and … hmmmm, way down there? A lot of times it is towards the bottom of the list.Naturalproducts2_3 We all know that by law, the order that ingredients are listed for a product is in order of most to least. If the title has the word Shea Butter in it, wouldn’t you just figure it would be listed towards the beginning? This is greenwashing – using natural, organic or another ingredient name, like Shea butter, to make the product seem more eco-friendly or better for you.

Which brings up another point - the word natural and organic. There has really been no standard set for when a product can have the word natural or organic printed on it and that goes for any industry, but we’re seeing it especially fly around in beauty. Enter the Natural Products Association. This non-profit organization has developed a seal, shown here, to help take the guesswork out of it. To see what the standards are for a product to carry their stamp, click here. Brands rolling out with this stamp will be products from Burt’s Bees, Weleda, Aubrey Organics, and Badger Balm, to name a few.
Hopefully we are just in a big growth period for this category and all will be defined soon enough. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions about this topic and we’ll get answers for you right here.


All my blush,




Beauty Tyrant

That's very good advice since many companies are into greenwashing their products with the influx of green products in the market. Thanks for the tips :)


Yes, it's so confusing and frustrating that this loop hole exists! but it is getting better. Thanks for reading, Beauty Tyrant.


i'm RELIEVED to hear this. i've been sick of having to keep myself so wary of those greenwashed labels. i love the term "greenwashing". so appropriate. Thank you for this news! I found u thru Muse


Hi Alienman - it's a term I think they are trying to crack down on it but it will take a long time. Unfortunately that term had to even be created but it fits perfectly. Thanks for reading!


Great post, and good to know that the NPA is stepping up. What I've also noticed with "organic" products is that "greenwashing" is often used to cover up some rather nasty other products, i.e. preservatives and even some well known toxins.


Hi Claire - that's why we have to learn about ingredients and what specific ones do and why they are there. No one does it for us really anymore. At least to the extent that I like to see. Thanks for reading!


I think the bottom line is that we have to use our own common sense. Whether it's food or a beauty product, I always read every single ingredient. I try to understand everything that goes into or onto my body. If we don't look out for ourselves, no one else will.


Thanks for posting this, Cybele - really fascinating.


Hi Michele - I know I have taken it for grated that things inside products are fully regulated but yes, we must educate ourselves too. Thanks for reading and I saw your post about the contest too on your site!

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