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Beauty Greenwashing


With so many cosmetic products out there claiming to be all natural or organic, how can you tell if what you are buying is truly all natural?  The packaging has green leaves on it and says “organic”, “all natural”, or “no harmful chemicals” but do you really know what they are made of?  According to, while many personal care products are certified under the USDA standard and display the USDA Organic Seal, the USDA does not have the authority to regulate organic claims that aren’t certified.  In other words, personal care products labeled organic are not subject to the same standards and enforcement by the Federal government as food.  This is where Greenwashing comes in.

As defined in, Greenwashing is when a brand or company makes efforts claiming to be “green” and natural through advertising and marketing rather than implementing practices that minimize environmental impact.  A recent article by Kristen Arnett on goes into greater detail on this and how certain brands greenwash to make their products seem all natural when they actually contain harmful chemicals.

Although cosmetic products labelled as organic must comply with USDA regulations for labelling and safety, the USDA does not have the authority to regulate organic claims that aren’t certified.  This means that cosmetic brands can freely use terms like “herbal”, “natural organic”, and “green” to make their products seem all natural when in fact they are not.  The only way to really know is to check the ingredients on the packaging.  Now, for the educated cosmetic user, these chemicals can be easy to read. However, for most of us, terms like Hydroquinone, Sodium Lauryl, and Isobutylparaben can make you feel like you are studying chemistry.  One great app to help you with this is the Think Dirty app that you can download at  This app will let you scan all of your beauty products to see exactly what is in them, giving a score of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst.  It will also warn you of carcinogens and other harmful side effects in the scanned product.  Use this app on many of your personal care products and you’ll be surprised to find out how many of them contain harmful chemicals.

So in this day and age when consumers are shopping for more organic, healthier foods and products, it’s easy to get “greenwashed” into buying something that is not all natural and may contain harmful chemicals that can hurt your skin.  Green colored packaging with phrases like “made from all natural ingredients” can mislead consumers to purchase products with artificial ingredients.  100% Pure takes pride in not greenwashing as all of our products are actually made from all natural ingredients with no harmful chemicals.  We do hope that the USDA will eventually regulate organic personal care with the same standards as it does food, however in the meantime, it’s important to be an informative consumer and to not get “greenwashed” into using a product that may actually be bad for you.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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