1. Greenwashing Terminology

    The terms you see on labels or used in marketing like "natural, organic, green, non toxic…" have no legal definition in this industry. A lot of companies take liberties with these words and label their products as such even if there’s only one ingredient that matches that description! (If you want organic, make sure they are USDA-certified).

    Natural doesn’t always mean that the product is safe to use... Some chemicals are not intentionally added to products but are the result of a reaction happening inside the bottle of product (such as formaldehyde in shampoo) or during manufacturing (such as 1,4 dioxane in moisturizers or heavy metals in color cosmetics). Plus, some natural ingredients in and of themselves aren’t safe to use, poison ivy could be considered natural, but it’s not what I want to put on my skin.

  2. Fragrance

    Fragrance is considered a “trade secret”, so companies aren’t legally bound to disclose what chemicals make up the scent. The number of ingredients can range anywhere between dozens to literally hundreds and unfortunately, when tested, these ingredients usually contain a lot of ingredients you don’t want to be using on your skin (think hormone disrupting, carcinogenic stuff).

  3. “Paraben Free” Products

    Parabens are a class of preservatives that mimic estrogen and may play a role in triggering cancer and other adverse health effects.

    When manufacturing companies buy bulk ingredients from ingredient suppliers, they are often getting an already-preserved raw ingredient (aloe vera gel with added phenoxyethanol, or grapefruit seed extract with added methlyparaben etc.). But the brand does not have to list these preservatives, because they weren’t the ones to add them.

    So a product marketed as “preservative-free” or “paraben-free” may actually contain those chemicals after all.