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Marketing gurus know that consumers will pay more for skincare that is “green and clean.” And produced transparently.

How to avoid skincare greenwashing

This is the term used when brands add one or two natural/organic ingredients to a cheap product. In fact, they make the product using synthetics. And then they use wording like ‘contains natural extracts’ or ‘made with organic ingredients’ on the label. Another trick used by brands is “Angel Dusting.” You can learn more   HERE.

What to do to avoid these tricks

You will need to read between the lines of attractive branding and advertising. Brands claim social and environmental impacts. They jump on the ethical and sustainable bandwagon. They promote these as a distraction. Look out for the following examples:

  • x% of profits are donated to … yes, but where? And do they mention how the products are made?
  • We’re fairtrade … good. But is the company certified fairtrade? If not, do they disclose their fairtrade practices?
  • Products made by our artisans/craftsmen… Great. Is there evidence including pictures or videos? It should be shown on their social media.
  • We only use natural ingredients …Is this backed up by the product ingredient lists? These should be the full ingredients list, not just the “actives.”

Be on the guard to avoid skincare greenwashing:

  • Overuse of nature or natural related symbols on branding and products – does the brand go into detail about the meaning of each symbol? How and why they stand for these values?
  • The use of misleading terminology and images that distract mass production. These include the words ‘natural’, ‘ethical’, ‘green’, ‘eco’, and ‘sustainable.’
  • Over exaggeration of positive contributions to charitable donations – have they outlined the details and breakdown, or are they doing this to hide profits and practices?

Still not sure? Then ask questions.

Ethical companies are committed to OPENNESS. Committed to transparency. Approachability. Easily contactable. They should be open to questions and explanations. Also, they should welcome visits to their manufacturing facility. They should have nothing to hide. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to avoid skincare greenwashing.

Have you have fallen victim to this marketing trickery, and you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below so others can learn from you about greenwashing.

And make smarter shopping decisions. But, if you do get caught out and fall victim, it’s ok. Just share your story and experience with others so they don’t fall into the same trap. It is so common these days as brands jump onto the green bandwagon. You should be able to avoid skincare greenwashing by following these guidelines.

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Dr. Mike Thair

Master Formulator

Indochine Natural Sdn Bhd

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