Greenwashing in Skincare: What Is It & How to Avoid It?

Picture this: You walk into your favorite beauty retail store with the sole purpose of picking up clean skincare that’s good for your skin, your health and the environment. As you’re making your way down the first aisle, your eyes immediately lock on a face moisturizer with “all-natural ingredients” and “eco-friendly” clearly labeled on the packaging. Do you buy it? Is this the cream you’ve been looking for? If you said yes, think again! This is the practice of greenwashing, and it’s becoming more and more prevalent in the beauty industry today. But, don’t let yourself get caught up in this popular marketing ploy. Learn everything you need to know about greenwashing, and how to avoid it, below.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is the term coined for when a company uses advertising and marketing to give consumers a false impression that their products are beneficial to one’s health and/or the planet. The company may use language like “organic”, “green”, “non-toxic” and “sustainability-sourced”, but in reality, the brand’s products are none of those things. It’s a sales tactic to appeal to those conscious consumers who care about their health and sustainability when purchasing skincare. This kind of vague messaging may be conveyed through the product’s description, the imagery on the packaging or the company’s name itself. 

You may be asking yourself, “How do companies get away with this?” Even though the FDA does regulate the cosmetic industry in the United States, cosmetic products and ingredients don’t need the FDA’s approval before they go on the market. Color additives are the only exception to this law.

How do you avoid greenwashing?

Nowadays with a growing number of brands jumping on the natural beauty bandwagon, it can be hard to decipher what’s truly clean and environmentally-friendly from what’s not. But, if you know what signs to keep an eye out for, you’ll be able to easily spot greenwashing.

For starters, look past those marketing “buzzwords”. These terms may grab your attention, but you need to go beyond that to uncover the truth. See if there’s any evidence that backs up these “environmentally-friendly” or “organic” claims, like certifications or acknowledgements from well-known, reputable organizations. 

Similarly, do your due diligence. In order to cut through all the greenwashing hype, it’s going to require time and research. Get to know these brands and see if they’re genuine. Search for some kind of no-no list that explains in detail the ingredients that go in (and out of) their formulas. Unfortunately, there is no legal or official definition for clean beauty, so each brand may have their own standards here.

Most importantly, transparency is crucial when avoiding greenwashing. A brand’s information should be readily available to you. If you’re having trouble figuring out how the company’s products help the environment or how they produce their clean formulas, this is a red flag. 

Does glowoasis greenwash?

Absolutely not! At glowoasis, we believe in being upfront and honest with our consumers. We know the value of clean beauty, which is why we offer transparency with our products. We follow the FDA and EU’s regulations and provide a full ingredient list for each skincare item — including a breakdown of complex ingredients. We always disclose any fragrance allergens, too. You can find our complete no-no list here, which includes the 2100+ harmful ingredients we’ve banned from our formulas. Our team of clean beauty experts are constantly reviewing and updating this list to ensure that we’re using the best ingredients for your skin’s health.

We also proudly display our certifications. On our website, you’ll see that we’re certified with PETA and registered with The Vegan Society. Additionally, we include icons on our packaging that give more information on how our products are made. For instance, we include the FSC icon on our packaging to symbolize that our products are sourced from responsibly managed forests. There are never any secrets at glowoasis. If we make a claim, we promise to always back it up.

If you’ve ever fallen for greenwashing, you’re not alone. We hope, though, with this information you’ll be able to recognize the marketing tactic right away, so you can end up with the beauty products you want and need.

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