Reading time: 5 minutes
Decode greenwashing marketing!
“100% natural active ingredient”, “organic plant extract” ... The cosmetic market is overwhelmed by a green wave which seems to transform all care products into natural products. I used the verb “seem” because appearances are sometimes, even too often, deceptive… The purpose of this article is therefore to help you sharpen your critical thinking so as not to transform yourself into a greenwashing sheep. A little preview ? If a brand highlights ONE active ingredient of natural origin, why does it not talk about the rest of the formula? Because she must not be very proud of it...
You have superpowers!
Your power is your knowledge! Because in the end, true power comes through knowledge and the conquest of a freedom that will allow you to say: 'I no longer remember which brand I bought, but I remember very well why I bought it!'. A nightmare for advertisers and a dream for revolutionaries... so unleash your superpowers with the 1st decoder of the dream machine... in short, learn here to spot the REAL from the FAKE, and to precisely decode the typical phrases of greenwashing applied to cosmetic formulas that you may encounter on your path as a 'naive shopper'. Naive, but not for long!
3,2,1... Transcoder activated, revelations imminent!
Greenwashing Alert #1: 'Anti-aging cream with 100% natural active ingredient'
Only one anti-aging active is natural, so they claim. But what about the rest of the formula? Other actives? Nothing. Emulsifiers? None. Fats (oils...)? Zero. Antioxidants: Nothing. No details on naturalness are communicated except for this headline. I'll let you guess why the rest of the formula might not be so natural...
Decoder Diagnosis: if there's a percentage, it should apply to the entire formula, not just one or a few actives.
Greenwashing Alert #2: 'Gentle cream with Organic blueberry extract'
Just at this mention, I already see myself lounging in my cart, on a mattress of blueberries smelling of virgin and innocent nature... Fortunately, my decoder wakes me up from my dream and alerts me to a detail: is there a more precise description of the rest of the formula? A percentage of organic ingredients among all the components of this voluptuous care? Obviously not, and believe me, it's not an oversight on their part...
Decoder Diagnosis: behind the tree, the forest is often not so green. Again, you need to look at all the ingredients, not just one.
Greenwashing Alert #3: 'My fountain of youth cream is NATURAL'
This is marketing with a sledgehammer and outright a violation of regulations. How many times on websites, catalogs (but curiously rarely on packaging) have I seen this mention that is as clear as... false. Indeed, a product labeled as 'Natural' must contain at least 95% of ingredients of natural origin and be certified by an independent organization. However, this is very rarely the case.
Decoder Diagnosis: if a brand communicates about its naturalness, look for percentages of naturalness, or certifications by independent organizations. If you don't find them: run away!
Greenwashing Alert #4: 'Certified ORGANIC product - rated excellent on Yuka'
Trap alert! This mention is correct provided, of course, that the product is indeed certified and that the app actually delivers this evaluation. But reread carefully...
Yes, the word product is without an 'S', it is in the singular: so we are only talking about one single product. You know the drill... Far too many brands bombard their communication with just one product and unfortunately, it works!
At Novexpert, too bad for marketing, our hyper-exigence cannot tolerate this. ALL our products are rated EXCELLENT by Yuka and not just a small sample...
Decoder Diagnosis: behind the throne, the communicating queen or king are naked...
Greenwashing Alert #5: 'Not tested on animals'
I cannot resist adding to this anthology to denounce without benevolence this mention. Totally relevant more than 10 years ago (when cosmetics were still tested on animals), this claim is now useless and even prohibited in Europe because it's misleading. Why? Because testing cosmetic formulas on animals has been banned since 2004 in Europe.
Decoder Diagnosis: consumers still need to be reassured on this issue but companies that put most of their marketing on this mention deserve the prize... for bad faith!
So be actors of your beauty... and your health!
At Novexpert, our ambition is not to be mere beauty makers but to become true knowledge conveyors. I hope this short article has awakened your curiosity and stimulated your critical thinking, remembering that the dollar is also... green in color!
Feel free to browse our website and social media, they contain many weapons to make you discover the backstage of science: IGTV, decoding of INCI names on our product sheets, percentages of actives, etc.