Greenwashing

what is greenwashing? | life by bri

picture this: you're walking through the facial care isle at target. you've got 3 babies in the cart, one trying desperately to climb out, the others fighting about how big their half of a cookie is. you're looking for a new moisturizer. something that actually works and isn't loaded with harmful chemicals. you see a pretty jar with a leaf on it and the words 'natural' and 'organic'. you toss it in and head to the checkout before you all have a total meltdown.

but when you get home you start reading the ingredients and are shocked at (1) how many there are, and (2) how many you can't pronounce. you click open the thinkdirty app and scan your new green moisturizer and it beeps back: 8

you sit in silence for a minute. 'but ... it has a leaf on it ... and recycled packaging ... and it says it's organic ...'

this is called greenwashing.

The law does not require cosmetic labeling to have FDA approval before cosmetic products go on the market, and FDA does not have a list of approved or accepted claims for cosmetics
— FDA.GOV
greenwashing

that bottle of moisturizer you purchased was designed to make you think you were buying a safe product. unfortunately, there are hardly any regulations on cosmetics and personal care products like that moisturizer to keep companies from making bold claims like 'organic' and 'natural' on their packaging. in fact, in the cosmetics world, these terms mean nothing. 

here's what happened:

in recent years, people are becoming more conscious about harmful ingredients in products within their home. 'organic' 'green' 'natural', etc are all the rage. the cosmetics companies said 'hey, let's get in on this action' and started marketing their products in line with this new safer trend. the problem is, most of them didn't change their formulas. just their labeling and advertising. since there aren't any regulations or definitions of 'organic' 'natural' , etc, it's totally legal to slap an icon of a leaf on a bottle, add the word 'organic' and call it safe. 

i'll be the first to admit i've fallen prey to this trap. when i started changing my purchasing habits about a year ago, i felt really good about that moisturizer from target with the leaf on it. until i started really looking at what's in it. over the year i've tried my best to educate myself on safer products in my home. everything from our food to our toothpaste has been turned on it's head and i've tried my fair share of moisturizers. if you're beginning a similar journey, i hope you don't make the same mistakes i did. before you buy anything that claims to be 'natural' check it against one (or more) of the following resources. these 3rd party sites & apps have high standards for what they determine to be 'natural' and you can trust you're getting a really great product without the harmful ingredients.

what is greenwashing? | life by bri

resources for safer standards:

NATRUE
NPA,
certified natural cosmetics 
ECOCERT
think dirty
EWG

each of these has their own set of standards so what's really important is to look at the ingredients list and compare it to a list of harmful chemicals commonly found in cosmetics like the never list from beautycounter or this helpful site outlining which chemicals to stay away from.

what is greenwashing? | life by bri

this confusion with greenwashing makes me really glad to have discovered beautycounter. they're not trying to hide anything behind big green leaves or empty claims. in fact, they're totally transparent about the ingredients in their products and the process involved in creating products. what's more, the mission that drives beautycounter is to get safer products in to the hands of everyone. everyone. not just their customers. not just their consultants. but everyone. which is why beautycounter has another side of their business: lobbying our elected officials for better beauty legislation. when i decided to join the movement, it wasn't because of the products but because of that mission and their transparency. honesty and integrity go a long way and helping make the world a safer place? well that's just the icing on the cake. 

even if totally changing your beauty routine isn't on your radar, you should be aware of greenwashing and how it effects your purchasing power. don't be fooled by the green packaging and the empty claims again. know what you're grabbing off that shelf at target. know what you're putting on your body. 


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