Why are A-listers under fire for “Greenwashing” Skincare?
We’ve all seen the “new” and “cool” skincare brands that celebrities from Hollywood to the NBA keep promoting in their latest Instagram posts, podcasts or TV interviews, highlighting how their products are solving some of the biggest problems facing our planet, from climate change to diseases to social injustice. Lately, however more and more organizations are voicing their concerns with this trend and raising the issue of “Greenwashing” and its harmful consequences for both consumers and environment.
We at Alteya Organics, one of the Organic Beauty pioneers and fully-integrated “soil to skin” Skincare manufacturer, couldn’t agree more.
So what is “Greenwashing” anyway?
Greenwashing in cosmetics refers to the practice of making exaggerated or false claims about the environmental or health benefits of cosmetic products. Cosmetic companies may use misleading or incomplete information to create the impression that their products are more environmentally friendly or healthy than they actually are. This can be done through labeling, advertising, or packaging design.
Examples of greenwashing might include claims of being "natural," "organic," or "chemical-free" without providing any evidence to back up these claims. Another common tactic is to highlight one or two natural ingredients in a product, while downplaying or ignoring the presence of synthetic or potentially harmful ingredients.
What’s the big deal?
Greenwashing can be especially problematic because many consumers are looking for more sustainable and health-conscious options in their personal care products. This can make it difficult for consumers to navigate the often complex and confusing world of cosmetic ingredients and marketing claims, and to make informed choices about the products they use. It is important for consumers to be skeptical of greenwashing claims and to look for third-party certifications or other reliable sources of information about cosmetic products.
How to spot greenwashing?
- Look for Specific Claims: Greenwashing often uses vague, general terms like "eco-friendly" or "sustainable," without providing any specific information about the product's environmental impact. Look for specific claims and evidence to back them up, such as third-party certifications, environmental impact reports, or product life cycle analyses.
- Check for Third-Party Certifications: Third-party certifications, such as the USDA NOP Certified Organic Program, Energy Star, or the Cradle-to-Cradle certification, can be a reliable indicator of a product's environmental impact. Look for products that have been certified by recognized organizations, rather than relying solely on the company's own claims.
- Look for a History of Environmental Commitment: Companies that have a genuine commitment to environmental sustainability will often have a history of environmental initiatives, such as reducing their carbon footprint or switching to renewable energy sources. Look for evidence of these initiatives on the company's website, social media, or annual reports.
- Consider the Product's Entire Life Cycle: A product's environmental impact is not just determined by its ingredients or manufacturing process, but also by its packaging, transportation, and disposal. Look for products that consider the entire life cycle, rather than just one aspect.
- Be Skeptical of Overly Positive Claims: If a product's claims seem too good to be true, they probably are. Be skeptical of products that claim to be "100% natural" or "completely carbon-neutral," as these claims are often exaggerated or misleading.
So what can we all do to help?
There are many ways to fight this issue and bring visibility to its impact. The simple way is to vote with your money, buy products that are Certified Organic, or otherwise verified. Tell your friends and family about this topic…. And most importantly, do not fall for the latest Movie Star promotion without doing your own research.