Regularly as consumers, we are assailed with “ethical” products. This ranges from vegan products to recyclable packaging, cruelty-free to sustainable sourcing.
However, this all takes place in an environment where this is a lack of regulation and clear definitions. As a result, we see many brands “talking the talk, but not always walking the walk.” Little wonder it confuses many consumers.
And to make things worse, it is often the brands that tout their ethical status but don’t deliver. Therefore, consumers need to be aware of ethical standards in skin and hair care.
In trying to raise their ethical standards, some brands can be caught out. And they suffer. For example, in the pursuit of big turnovers, some brands enter the China marketplace. However, China demands animal testing on all imported cosmetics. There can be a big consumer backlash if a cruelty-free status is revoked after entering the Chinese market.
Another example of where brands try and raise their ethical standards in skin and hair care is “vegan beauty.” Notably, vegan brands are seen as being ethical by consumers. A brand not using animal products is great. But it diminishes this if at the same time products are full of synthetic chemicals. Check ingredient labels carefully.
That word “natural.” Brand green-washing is now a big issue. A lack of proper regulation means a product can be called “natural” even if it contains as little as 1 per cent natural ingredients.
For example, they often describe skin and hair care products as ‘natural.’ However, products may have only 1 or 2% of ingredients that could be considered natural. Many skin and hair care products are mostly formulated with synthetic chemicals and are still called “natural.”
So yes, it’s all about ethical standards in skin and hair.
In some cases, apparently ethical brands are owned by larger companies. These have fewer ethical practices. One example is Bulldog Skin Care for Men. Originally, Bulldog did have cruelty-free international certification. Bulldog was acquired by Edgewell Personal Care in 2016. This new parent company tests on animals.
What can consumers do about ethical standards in skin and hair care?
Indochine Natural’s Australian Co-Founder and Chief Formulator, Dr Mike Thair, takes a firm view on ethics. For one thing, just having a certification is not enough, he says. In fact, we need to go further. It’s all about attention to detail.
Dr Mike says that at Indochine Natural it’s all about transparency. Above all, we need to know where ingredients are coming from. Also, what impact are our purchases having on the lives of those in our supply chain? Ethics is not only the product but how we treat our staff and the environment they work in.
Dr Mike recommends two things that consumers can do. First, talk to the guys who make the products. And by this, he doesn’t mean retail sales staff. They only regurgitate what they are told by the company. Talk to the guys actually making the products. Ask questions. You should feel comfortable with their responses. They should be open and transparent.
And yes, question brands on their ethical standards in skin and hair. Do your bit to maintain Ethical Standards in Skin and Hair Care.
Second, become more familiar with resources that can assist you in understanding the skin and hair care industry. Learn to see through the greenwashing. To assist, Dr Mike has written some simple language and free downloadable e-books to help consumers. Check out the following resources:
But remember, talk to us, the guys who make the products. Ask questions.
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