TRANSPARENCY IN SKINCARE: GREENWASHING MARKETING TRICKS THE NATURAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW
With the global skincare market predicted to reach over $180 million (USD) by 2024, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are going all out to claim their piece of the skincare pie.
As consumers become more health conscious and aware of what they put on their skin, capitalising on the organic skincare market is the most obvious way to do this.
Sadly, rather than meeting market demand in authentic ways, many companies are resorting to a strategy known as ‘greenwashing’ instead.
Greenwashing is a marketing tactic where brands depict that their product is environmentally friendly or organic to appeal to consumers consciences, when the reality may not be the case at all.
Why do we need to be aware of greenwashing?
While manufacturers appear to meet the needs of consumers who are more environmentally aware, greenwashing is creating even murkier waters for an industry already shrouded in myths, ambiguity and assumptions.
At Biologi, we offer full transparency regarding the sourcing, manufacturing and supply of our products to help consumers make informed choices about the ingredients and products they use on their skin. It goes without saying that greenwashing is a big no-no from us.
Here are some common greenwashing strategies and how you can avoid them.
Manufacturers love to use the term naturally derived to describe products which barely resemble natural extracts at all.
Unfortunately, this term is UNREGULATED, meaning manufacturers can say what they want without any consequences at all. Ethically, we’d hope you’ll find some form of natural extract in a ‘naturally derived’ product however by the time pure extracts have been watered down, added to synthetic binding agents to create texture and laced with irritating fragrance and activating agents, the chances of the extracts providing any natural benefit to the skin are almost zero.
How you can avoid: Avoid ‘taglines’ and package copy. Understand the ingredients listed on the bottle and learn what you’re really putting on your skin.
Again, this is an unregulated term. Contrary to the perception of in-depth, scientific testing, this term could potentially refer to a social media influencer who has called themselves a dermatologist and is now spruiking the product.
How you can avoid: Always check the credentials of someone who calls themselves a dermatologist. You’d want to see formal study in skincare to know that the person understands skin and can testify how the product works on a cellular level. Anyone with credibility in the skincare industry should be easy to research.
‘Paraben and sulphate free’
There is nothing more appealing in a product than one which doesn’t contain carcinogenic ingredients such as parabens and sulphates.
The popular greenwashing tactic, however, fails to mention the ingredients that are in the product instead.
It’s not unusual for the replacement ingredient to be even worse for skin causing sensitisation and irritation. A great example of this is when fragrances are swapped for essential oils. Consumers are given the perception that essential oils are a natural alternative, and while that may be the case, they still have the potential to be just as irritating on the skin.
How you can avoid. Again, we can’t stress enough that learning what your ingredients mean is the best way for transparency across your products. If something says ‘no’ or ‘free from’ on the label, make an extra effort to find out what actually is in your products instead.
Sustainability is a buzzword in clean skincare at the moment and, while trendy, the term is vague, to say the least.
For a brand to call itself sustainable, it must display an environmental responsibility and a purpose that’s bigger than profit. This could mean adopting environmentally friendly practices, using vegan ingredients, or showing a commitment to recycling.
It doesn’t necessarily mean all three.
Sustainable products put consumers at ease by giving them the expectation they’re doing their bit for the planet.
The reality is that while moving towards sustainability is a step by step process, there are no hard and fast guidelines on what it means to be sustainable. Realistically, the packaging of a product could be made from recycled goods, yet the product itself is filled with cheap toxins that are anything but environmentally sound. The definition of ‘sustainability’ is open to interpretation and the moral obligation of the company.
How you can avoid: Ask questions, research your products and brand and learn to look past taglines and find out exactly how your brand helps the environment.
As consumers become more environmentally aware and health conscious, greenwashing is the next big strategy to watch out for, and it’s now more important than ever that you know what to look for.
Biologi believes in transparency. We own the whole production process of our serums from sourcing the plants to manufacturer and stocking. We’re always happy to answer questions on any part of the process from plant to bottle.
We urge consumers to look past taglines and marketing claims to avoid common greenwashing strategies and only use brands that they genuinely trust. If ever you’re in any doubt, contact the brand to ask questions and find out what you’re truly putting on your skin.
To contact Biologi to find out more about our single-plant ingredient serums, email us today.