Greenwashing: How to Avoid Fake Sustainable Beauty Products

Collection of makeup


Everyone has those go-to products that are a part of their skincare and makeup routine — but do you know what’s lurking inside beauty products that are supposedly “organic” or “natural”?

 Just like 'you are what you eat,' you are what you put on your skin: your skin is the body's largest organ. Your face is several times more permeable than broad body regions, while armpits have a 100% absorption rate.  You can bet that chemicals in your deodorant and lipstick easily make it into your bloodstream. Keeping toxic ingredients away from your body is key to staying healthy, but it’s harder than you think to spot beauty products that are “Greenwashing” — saying that their products are organic or green when in reality they aren’t.

Regulations for these labels are notoriously lenient, which leads to marketing teams taking creative liberties with what constitutes as a green product. Pretty packaging and words like these don’t mean a thing — the FDA doesn’t regulate the use of labels like “organic” so don’t accept these claims at first glance.

Even more disheartening, even a product that says it doesn’t test on animals can be misleading: if they don’t test the finished product but do test the ingredients, they can still say that there has been no testing on animals.

So, what’s the best way to avoid Greenwashing?

First, become wary of words like “natural” or “organic” when paired with unpronounceable ingredients. Do your research, and check databases like EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see if the products you’re using are safe or have ingredients that are banned in other countries or are making false Greenwashing claims. 

Definitely avoid these ingredients: 

BHA & BHT, Carbon Black, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Formaldehyde, Fragrance, Lead, Mercury (or thimersol), Olefin Sulfonate, Potassium Cocoyl Glutamate,  Parabens, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Sulfates, synthetic colors, Triclosan, Toluene, and Phenoxyethanol. 

Second, only support brands and companies that have rigorous methods of proving their products are green, organic, and natural. Read the ingredients lists carefully and get educated on how that company makes their product, or what processing or testing a specific ingredient goes through. Look for Leaping Bunny Certified for products that are not tested on animals (including the individual ingredients, not just the final product). The more pronounceable, plant-based ingredients the better.

With any skincare purchase, always research the ingredients - don't just believe the branding hype. Here at Good Soul Shop, we research and only support brands we believe in, who use ingredients you can pronounce and are honest about those ingredients. We also sell many Leaping Bunny certified products. Shop with us and rest assured that you’re supporting #GoodSouls.

I don't recommend a beauty product unless I have personally tried it. Having sensitive, acne-prone skin my entire life, I am incredibly picky about what I put in and on my body.

Here are my top six favorite beauty products in the shop now:

Skinny and Company Calming Cleansing Balm


1) Skinny & Co. Calming Cleansing Balm - This makeup remover/facial cleanser will surprise you with its ability to quickly remove stubborn eye and face makeup better than anything you have ever tried. It is a one-step miracle that brightens dull and overtaxed skin leaving it clean yet nourished at the same time. Leave on daily for added benefit, or follow up with a gentle cleanser and apple-cider vinegar toner to restore the PH of the skin after cleansing.

Birchrose & Co. Radiance Mask

2) Birchrose & Co. Radiance Mask - Containing only clay, papaya fruit extract and a blend of certified organic essential oils, we feel good putting this luxurious mask on our faces. After our Founder's first use, her skin felt soft as silk and had a fresh glow, so she quickly added this to her beauty repertoire.

Little Seed and Company Deodorant

3) Little Seed and Company Deodorant - These deodorants from Little Seed Farm are aluminum-free, baking soda-free, and made from nourishing and gentle organic ingredients. Little Seed Farm deodorants are also Leaping Bunny certified. Unlike other natural deodorants, these deodorants go on with a smooth, powdery finish (no sticky pits here!). Stay smelling fresh all day long.

4) Aloha Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser -

Aloha Love Nourishing Cream Cleanser has an enlivening, creamy formula that gently purifies + nourishes skin with replenishing Seaweed Vitamins, antioxidant-rich Green Tea, and smoothing Hibiscus Extract.

This product offers lasting hydration with its Aloe Leaf Juice and plant oils of Olive & Coconut while invoking self-love as an effective, non-foaming cleanser that softens, renews and brightens skin.

5) Belham & Co. - Handcrafted Lotion - Boardwalk - This lotion uses a nostalgic blend of jasmine and lily, reminiscent of vintage coppertone, to scent this rich, nourishing skin cream. Its fragrance will bring you back to days gone past spent under the sun in the warm sand. This rich skin cream is full of tons of herbal extracts & vitamins, and is contained in an eco-friendly, recyclable & reusable glass jar with metal black lid.

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