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Green-washing & How to Avoid It


If you're new to green beauty or just starting to make the switch, Green-washing might not be a term you are familiar with. 

It is the term we use to describe or categorise brands and products that effectively "green wash" their label. 

What is it?

Green-washing, is, to put it simply, an attempt to make a product or brand appear more "green".

An eco-friendly looking label, or perhaps it says it contains naturally derived ingredients, plant extracts, botanicals, or the word 'organic' is splashed somewhere across the label.

It might have a green bottle or illustrations of plants - some go even further and have organic, natural or eco somewhere in the brand name

The problem with (and point of) green-washing is that it deceives consumers into believing that a product is safer, more environmentally friendly or natural. 

I don't care if you know and want to use something that isn't 100% natural or organic.

Reality is, it is really possible to avoid synthetic chemicals altogether, so if you want to use a "dirty" mascara on a special occasion or colour your hair - go for it! What I am opposed to is companies purposefully deceiving customers about what their products contain.

There is no law that prevents companies from putting these words on their labels.  

Green-washing makes it harder for consumers to decide which product is better, making choosing harder and the genuinely green brands to stand out.



So, how do you avoid it, and how are you supposed to know the difference?

I'm afraid there really isn't a quick, short answer.
As a general rule, 90% of what is available on the supermarket shelves, pharmacies and department stores are full of synthetic chemicals.

Some of the bigger stores are starting to carry some cult-favourites such as RMS Beauty & ILIA, along with other brands such as Burt's Bees & Jane Iredale

Research really is the only answer - sticking to brands with good ethics and those you know and trust, and reading the ingredients label.

Organic certification is also the only way to know if something is really organic. 
All certified organic products will carry a certification symbol - from USDA Certified to Australian Certified Organic - there are a few different bodies so the symbol may vary. 

But, not everything can be certified organic. 

Even after years of using natural, organic and green beauty, I still find it challenging having to research every new product. As a new-comer I know it can be overwhelming - one of the main reasons I began this blog, was to help make the journey a little easier and to save you time researching ingredients, brands and products (and then having to hunt down stockists!)

Apps such as EWG Skindeep App and ThinkDirty make it easier for when you're out and about to quickly scan a barcode or look up a product by name. 

These databases are being updated every day, however, there are, of course, many products not yet listed with them. 

If you can't find a product with either of these apps, you can also search by ingredient with the EWG Skindeep Database

I've compiled a short-list of some of the worst offenders in the green-washing department below:


- Arbonne
- Bio-Oil
- Josie Maran
- LUSH Cosmetics 
- Nivea Pure & Natural
- Organix
- Tarte Cosmetics
- The Body Shop

The Green Beauty Team also complied a more comprehensive list earlier this year. You can read it here.

I also have more resources along with a short-list of ingredients to avoid

Another way to help make the switch easier, and find new products or brands is to find a retailer that you know you can trust. On the Where To Buy page I have a list of one-stop-shops that all have curated collections of wonderful, ethical, green brands. 

Unfortunately there aren't too many in Australia, (Beautiful Because is one of my favourites) but they all offer international shipping which is wonderful. 

I also have a list of brands that I personally use/have tried, or I recommend. 

Speaking of one-stop-shops, one of my favourite international (US based) shops, Citrine Beauty Bar are celebrating the launch of their new (bricks and mortar) store with $10 off every $100 you spend (including online! yay!) November Friday 13th & Saturday 14th. Use code CELEBRATE.

(remember as Citrine is US-based there is about 17hrs time difference, so the code won't be live until Saturday morning Australian-time)

As always, if you have any questions about anything (product suggestions, recommendations, ANYTHING), comment below or email me direct - I'm more than happy to help!

Kelsey xx


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