Before we begin I want to disclaim that I am no chemist, I have no training or experience in formulating beauty products and I am certainly no expert in anything beauty related. This is my personal blog and first and foremost my opinion. 

I know most of my readers aren't green beauty inclined but as a bunch of beauty junkies, a little bit of knowledge into the products you're using never hurt.. right? Greenwashing was a new-to-me term when I switched to the green side (join us on the dark side) and I still don't fully understand it all.
So what is greenwashing? according to good ol' wikipedia: "Greenwashing or "green sheen" is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organisation's products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly" 
Lets use an example... say Origins. Oh wow, look at that nice tree in their logo they must be a nice natural brand? and the nice wording they use "powered by nature" they couldn't possibly be telling us a big fat juicy lie.. could they?! Well if you're browsing their online site you'd never know the difference because there is nowhere that tells you the ingredients of the products, just lots of pretty pictures of oranges and cucumbers. You have to go elsewhere online, visit a counter or actually order something to find out what's in it, and then sadly you're going to be very disappointed when you find ingredients you can't even pronounce let alone know what they are. I think beautypedia sums up this brand pretty well (click read more on the description of the brand). So Origins are greenwashing unsuspecting customers (who aren't as clued up as you and I) by fooling them into thinking they're using kind to skin beauty products that contain natural ingredients. Not ingredients like "Tetradibutyl pentaerithrityl hydroxyhydrocinnamate"

There are a lot of brands that do this and I simply don't understand it at all. Instead of pretending to be natural and organic, why not just make products that are? It doesn't matter to me that some men in lab coats deemed some ingredients to be "safe" (probably after rigorously testing them on animals) ... so what if they are safe? why would I want to put chemicals on my skin to be absorbed into my body? why would I want to give my money to a company that supports barbaric acts of cruelty?
It's not just the one ingredient though, it's hundreds and hundreds of them that we are exposed to on a daily basis, from brushing your teeth, to washing your hair and skin, to applying mascara and doing the washing up. Everything contains chemicals, and it's this high level of exposure day in day out that leads to extremely damaging effects, who knows what what's going on in our bodies and what effect this could have on us in 10 or 20 years time. I'm pretty sure they used to think parabens were safe, but that's not the case anymore is it? and I'm sure it will soon be the same for many other chemical ingredients too. 

What's more brands that greenwash their products seriously damage the reputation of those that don't. As consumers begin to take claims like natural and organic with a pinch of salt, they will avoid the brands that genuinely are natural and genuinely do care about the ingredients they use simply because they don't want to fall for false claims again. 

A few brands/products I would consider greenwashed: Origins, Simple Skincare, The Body Shop, Aveeno, Boots Botanics, L'Oreal Ever Pure range (or whatever it's called), Aveda, bio-oil, Lush and any mainstream giant corporation that suddenly markets a range as "pure/natural" yeah sure it is. & loads more.. I can't possibly remember every brand out there!

If you would like to read a little more in depth about greenwashing then this easy to digest article from the Soil Association is a good start. So is this article from Be Beauty Smart, it names a lot of brands that I'm sure you're all familiar with.

What do you think of greenwashing? do you mind?