Green washing and how to avoid it

green washing green beauty natural organicMy journey into green beauty was quite organic (no pun intended)! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and have eaten reasonably well and kept reasonably fit. Being aware of what I put on my body sort of followed naturally.

Green Washing

I, like many others, have fallen victim to ‘green washing’. Green washing is where brands portray a product to be natural or organic, when in fact, they may not be natural at all. Brands can claim to be natural with as little as 1% of the ingredients being natural, which amazes me.

Now, I know ‘victim’ is a strong word to use, but that’s how I feel. I am all for people using whatever works for them, natural or not, but it infuriates me when they are being duped into thinking they’re using something that is natural, when, in it is far from it.

I have spoken to countless people about green beauty and my heart sinks when they tell me enthusiastically that they use natural beauty products and then mention brands such as Origins, Aveeno and Simple Skincare, to name but a few. (I’ve just found ‘8 More Brands You Think Are Eco Friendly‘, which sheds a little more light on this matter).

I trusted that what is being sold will not harm me, and that may well still be the case, but if there is a 100% natural alternative, I’m going to take it. It’s just a case of knowing what you’re looking for and finding brands and retailers you can trust.

Understanding Ingredients (I still don’t)

For a long time I looked out for products that were free from parabens, thinking that I was buying natural. I had read about parabens and knew that they were a preservative used in beauty products (used to prevent the growth of bacteria, which is important). Although I have read there is still no scientific evidence, there is a debate over the safety of parabens, with a potential link to cancer, breast cancer in particular, which why I started to avoid products with parabens in. I think because of this, brands would shout about the fact their product was made without them to give them a unique selling point.

I now realise that avoiding parabens was only the tip of the iceberg (mainly, thanks to green beauty bloggers). I know to see past the tempting tag lines and look more closely at the ingredients. There are many ingredients in beauty products that I’ve since discovered may not be particularly good for me, although I’ll admit, I’m still nowhere near understanding all of them and I’m not going to pretend I do.

How to avoid green washing

I have found it so easy to switch both my conventional skincare and my makeup to natural and organic (there’s lots of product reviews on this blog if you’re interested!) Finding a brand or retailer you can trust is the key to making an informed choice (green beauty bloggers can help here too)! This takes away a lot of the stress of deciphering what’s in your product. Mallow & White, for example only use 6 natural/organic ingredients or less in each product and organic brand Odylique list their ingredients in ‘plain English’ so no need to have a degree in Latin to work out what’s in your product – even if it is natural.

Where to shop

Switching to genuine natural and organic beauty products does not have to mean you have to break the bank either. Alongside the more expensive ‘luxury’ brands, there are affordable choices. Content Beauty is a great place to shop. They stock many green beauty brands including Pai Skincare, Oskia and Therapi Honey Skincare. Owner, Imelda  has written a book The Nature of Beauty which I’d urge anyone to read. Glow Organic is one of my favourite places to visit for natural and organic make-up. You can find brands such as Zao Makeup, Couleur Caramel and Hynt Beauty.

Green washing is a real problem and can be hard to avoid. If you want to buy natural, I hope this post has shed some light on the matter and that you can buy with a little more confidence in the future!

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