"Greenwashing" or "Green sheen"

“Greenwashing” or “green sheen” has been an increasingly common practice in the skincare and beauty industry wherein a company falsely markets their product as being “organic” or “natural” devoid of any artificial ingredients.

It is important to not always blindly believe such claims and take a more active role in your skincare. Familiarizing one’s self with natural ingredients and potential adverse or harmful effects of such ingredients is essential. Are these products truly natural, eco-friendly and safe? Is the development of the product utilize environmentally friendly resources? It is important to explore the skincare line’s website and evaluate the active ingredients and gain a greater understanding of their claims (i.e. what makes this product “earth-friendly”, “chemical-free”, “gentle”, “plant-derived”?). Researching ingredients through online national free databases are a great resource as well as asking a dermatologist. An educated consumer is the best consumer.


“Greenwashing” or “green sheen” has been an increasingly common global practice in the skincare and beauty industry. Greenwashing is a term used to describe the practice of conveying misleading or unsubstantiated clams that falsely markets a product as being “organic” or “natural” devoid of any artificial ingredients.


Though the federal trade commission (FTC) prohibits deceptive marketing practices, these guidelines are often not legally binding. In reality, it is often difficult to enforce legal consequences against false environmental advertising claims.





Today, consumers are increasingly concerned about use of “clean”, environmentally friendly safe ingredients. Many skin care corporations are aware of this are have dedicated their marketing strategies to keep in line with this “green wave”. Examples of greenwashing are products falsely claiming to be “eco-friendly”, “earth-friendly”, “chemical-free”, “gentle”, “plant-derived” and “sulfate-free”. Targeted advertising may exaggerate an environmental achievement; however, in reality, some of these corporations have been caught lobbying behind the scenes against environmental laws.


Unveiling the truth behind these claims can be challenging and often frustrating for consumers. Familiarizing one’s self with natural ingredients and potential adverse or harmful effects of such ingredients is key. Step one is to closely examine the labels on the product itself—labels claiming to be made with “organic ingredients” may not be an actual “Certified Organic” product. Look beyond the hype, research the active ingredients and claims of skincare products. An educated consumer is the best consumer.


Researching ingredients through online national free databases are a great resource as well as asking your dermatologist. ecolabelindex.com is a free online global directory of ecolabels and environmental certification. Other helpful resources for the average consumer is the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association (www.natrue.org) as well as the following blogs: Formula Botanica blog, Herb & Hedgegrow blog and Tisserand Institute blog. When on the hunt for information about new, innovative natural ingredients, attending trade shows and national and international cosmetic conferences may be helpful.

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