Many natural hair products use “greenwashing” marketing tactics to seem natural. Here’s a handy chart to help you separate the good from the bad.
Hey mamas! We live in a world with plenty of “green” and natural hair products or other beauty products. But finding them can be tricky, as many conventional brands use “greenwashing” marketing tactics to appeal to women like us.
To help us separate the good from the bad, here is a post and reference chart from the fabulous Sarita Coren, a holistic mom of five amazing children.
Today, the choices for authentically natural hair products and natural skin products are better than ever. You can find natural bath, body, and cosmetic products that work as well as conventional, possibly even better. Plus there are luxurious formulas too, so you don’t have to give up on beautiful scents or packaging.
You can find natural bath, body, and cosmetic products that work as well as conventional, possibly even better. Plus there are luxurious formulas too, so you don’t have to give up on beautiful scents or packaging.
The best natural hair products and natural skin products show concern for:
- the welfare of the people who make them (fair trade)
- the environment (eco-friendly)
- animals (vegan and cruelty-free)
- YOU (non-toxic, organic formulations)
The main issue we women face is finding the brands that are not greenwashed or pink washed. In other words, some brands want to give you the impression that they are natural by using certain buzz words, but their ingredients reflect the opposite. They actually contain chemicals known to cause cancer!
This chart separates the natural hair and beauty products from the posers
Have a look, then choose the level of natural hair products and natural beauty products that are right for you 🙂
Definition of each category
BAD: These are the products that use chemicals shown to be carcinogens (cancer causing), neurotoxins (causing brain issues), endocrine disruptors (leading to fertility issues), and harmful to the environment. Just think of where all those chemicals go when you wash them off, not to mention the plastic containers too. They may also be tested on laboratory animals.
Check out “Dirty Dozen” Cosmetic Chemicals to Avoid
Better: These products removed the biggies like parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate, but are not quite as natural as their claims. Crude oil is a natural ingredient but you wouldn’t want petro-chemicals in your skin care either (think petroleum jelly)!
Some of them still use questionable ingredients like phenoxyethanol and dimethicone in their natural hair products and beauty proucts.
Some do not reveal all their ingredients on the websites. That’s usually a red flag that the company doesn’t want the consumer to know something.
Others scored high ratings on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep database for harmful ingredients. Any product that scored between three to five would be here.
Good: These products remove most of the nasties and scored zero to two on EWG. They may still use some animal-derived ingredients like beeswax and carmine. But for the most part these are safe options. Many have organic certification or mostly organic ingredients. They’re cruelty-free, plus in some cases they’re also fair-trade certified and vegan (hard to find in lipsticks).
Best: This is for the die hard naturalista! No chemicals. You mainly use products that you would eat that are raw, locally sourced, organic, and vegan.
The natural hair products and beauty products included in the chart were challenging to compile for several reasons. For one, sometimes specific products made by companies found in the “Bad” column ranked lower in terms of toxicity in EWG ratings, while some listed in the “Better” or “Good” columns carry products that rate higher. If most products scored high, the company would be in the “Bad” column.
Many products are not listed on EWG at all, so they were selected based on researching their ingredients.
If you have a particular skin sensitivity, allergy or if you are dealing with cancer prevention or treatment, you will need to be more selective about exposure to certain ingredients.
It is not the intention of this post to vilify any company or product, but rather to raise awareness of the many available options that serve our health and well-being.
It is always best to do your own research. The following list includes a few reliable websites for reference.
How to check natural hair and beauty product labels
Some of the best sites for finding out the truth behind natural hair product ingredients are the EWG Skin Deep website, the Good Guide, and Chemical of the Day. Higher scores on the EWG list reflect a higher toxicity level in the product, while high numbers on the Good Guide list deem a product as safer. For the chart, I mainly referred to the EWG Skin Deep Database.
About Each Website
- EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Base Lists more than 62,000 products according to their safety on skin. Environmental Working Group researchers evaluate hundreds of safety studies and thousands of ingredient labels to bring you their top recommendations. Products score from a zero for no traces of toxicity to ten for high levels of harmful chemicals.
- Good Guide A team comprised of chemists, toxicologists, nutritionists, sociologists, and lifecycle analysis experts rates products and companies on their health, environmental and social performance. With a rating system from one to ten, products that earn high scores are safest. Pass on the ones with low scores. This website also offers a transparency toolbar so that every time you search a product on the internet, you can check its zero to ten rating on the Good Guide. That way you can “shop your values wherever you shop,” according to the website.
- Chemical of the Day The educational resource by Bubble & Bee Organic. It is written by the knowledgeable Stephanie Greenwood. Chemicals undergo analysis in a well-researched and readable format with sources for the information clearly cited. Stephanie often answers questions personally.
For books explaining why toxic beauty is a real issue and what you can do about it, check out No More Dirty Looks and No Bull Beauty.
With these resources, you don’t have to become a chemist overnight. They will help decipher the labels for you so that you can choose the products and ingredients most suitable for your needs.
What natural products do you use?
What do you think? Did any items in the chart surprise you? Do you think we categorized anything wrongly? Are your favorite natural hair products listed? Share with us in the comments below.