Greenwashing — the practice of promoting a company or its products as more environmentally sound than they actually are. The term was coined decades ago (around the same time the very first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970), as companies worked to meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and services.
Now, thanks to the clean beauty movement, greenwashing has never been bigger. Companies are flat out lying to consumers. Terms like “natural skin care” and “clean beauty” appear on labels alongside vibrant green leaves; cleverly designed to convince consumers that the creams and serums they’re buying are totally safe and environmentally friendly. That’s not actually the case.
Some brands have even started using the phrase “chemical-free” on their packaging. This may sound like an indicator of safety but is just another misleading claim (remember, not all chemicals are dangerous. Even water is a chemical!).
There is no government-certified definition of “clean” beauty. Companies can use words like natural, clean, non-toxic, and green regardless of a product’s ingredient list. That means a cream labeled “natural” could contain nearly all artificial ingredients.
Organic is the only term that must earn the label. Organic products must meet a defined standard issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which states that an organic product must be made with at least 95% organically grown ingredients.
But when it comes to beauty, organic isn’t necessarily the first thing you want to look for on a label. Organic ingredients alone can’t ensure a product’s performance, effectiveness or potential benefits.
How To Avoid Greenwashing
Next time you’re shopping for beauty products, keep an eye out for these terms:
When you spot these words on the front of a product label, flip it over and check the ingredient list to verify the claims for yourself. The absolute best thing you can do for your beauty routine is prioritize products with real, nutrient-dense ingredients made by companies with clear clean beauty standards.
The benefits of feeding your skin with genuinely natural products are real. Plant-based vitamins, minerals, and nutrients truly work better than their synthetic counterparts to nourish stronger, healthier skin. Plus, you’ll feel great knowing that you’re doing something smart for your overall health and wellbeing.
At Amare, we’re passionate about transparency and intensely opposed to greenwashing in any form. Reading labels and knowing your ingredients is one of the best ways to avoid greenwashed products. Shopping at clean-only retailers is another great way to find products that are sure to be completely clean.
If organic is important to you, look for the USDA Organic seal. You can also search ingredients on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database or the Think Dirty app for more information on safety concerns and potentially harmful ingredients.
More on Clean Beauty Here!
Now that you know what to look for, we hope you feel empowered to choose beauty AND health. There is a responsibility that comes along with choosing the products you slather on your skin every day, and until the government passes better beauty laws, it’s yours.