Greenwashing is the term used to describe when a brand makes a false or misleading claim to be a ‘green’ or 'natural' product with benefits such as environmental, health, or wellbeing. A claim that makes the product or brand seem like a ‘healthy’ alternative or an environmentally conscious option, when, in fact, it is not.
Greenwashing happens in many industries, not just across the beauty industry.
But we are here to talk about the beauty industry, there is much information about greenwashing in other industries available on the internet and check out organisations like Greenpeace and Palm Oil Investigations (POI)
Over the last decade, there has been a shift in beauty-savvy, eco-conscious consumers searching for labels that offer ‘toxin-free’ & eco friendly benefits.
This is great, we have seen ‘no parabens’, ‘no sulphates’,etc, but this doesn’t mean there are not nasty ingredients hidden within the product.
We have to consider all the ingredients that go into a skincare product not just what gets left out.
For example the term fragrance is an umbrella term used to encompass over 3,100 toxic chemicals found in personal care products. In cosmetic ingredient lists there are over 200 different names for palm oil.
Brands are vying to keep up with the ‘green’ trend but many are not doing a very good job, despite their claims, they invest a lot of money into "smarter" marketing and not into higher quality, truly natural and more sustainable ingredients.
Pretty pictures and misleading word on product labels trick us into believing we are supporting ethical brands and buying natural sustainable products that are better for our health and the environment.
To avoid greenwashing trickery we need to become warriors, label reading, educated warriors, because we are the problem (we buy this stuff) but we are also the solution
(we can make better choices).