Greenwashing, also called “green sheen”, is a form of marketing spin where “green” marketing and PR are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims, and policies are environmentally friendly, or that the products they are pushing are natural. We as consumers are becoming much smarter to these tactics overall, but for those of you who are not sure what greenwashing is all about, I’m here to give you every tool you need to shop smarter.
Since 2012, I have been pushing the natural products movement. I was really one of the main people doing it back then. I am a natural beauty expert, and have been on countless television shows and news features talking about this exact subject. I’ve had hundreds of press articles about my brand and have been invited to some of the top clean beauty conferences over the years.
Last year, due to the pandemic, we saw a big push for environmental clean-ups, less chemical use, and a hell of a lot more self-detox fads. Pandemic or not, the one main focus I’ll always have is clean beauty. My brands, Beauty Kitchen and Marianna Naturals, offer 100% clean beauty products. We do not use chemicals, parabens, preservatives, or anything harmful for your skin. We make, ship and label everything direct from our factories fresh. Everything that touches your skin enters your bloodstream within five seconds, so the less chemicals the better! We definitely need to be conscious about what we use on our skin.
This brings us to the question, “How do I spot greenwashing on products and packaging?” Here are some specific ways you can do just that:
-Packaging that uses earth tones, recycled packaging, or graphics with trees and leaves. This is a form of conditioning in our minds that because the packaging looks “earthy” it must be clean. Make sure to read ingredients on the label and look into the company’s policies before buying the product!
-Vegan does not always mean “clean”. Just because no animal extracts or byproducts are inside that vegan cream doesn’t mean that it isn’t filled with yucky chemicals that may break you out. Always check ingredients.
-The use of the words “recyclable packaging”. This just means the cardboard box it’s in or the external packaging, it doesn’t have anything to do with ingredients in the product itself.
-Watch for “free of” claims and make sure that it is free of all the relatable ingredients, not just the one it’s claiming.
-Always check the brand’s press and make sure they are actively practicing what they are preaching. Do they in fact really care? A lot of them are just in it for the money!
-Finally, many of us assume it’s more expensive to go green. It really isn’t! It just takes a little research.
Here are a couple sites to check out that are packed with great resources for searching toxic ingredients in skincare, so you know specifically what to avoid as you are scanning those ingredients lists. EWG Verified is great and constantly updating, and here’s and article by Byrdie.com with a list of Ingredient Checker apps that I highly recommend checking out.
Good luck on your beauty journeys and don’t fall for greenwashing! You’ve been equipped, now go and shop smarter Beauties.