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Is Greenwashing the New Beauty Trend?

As people are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their activities, many companies want to dive into the green movement. But are they as green as they claim to be?

Many companies want to dive into the green movement. But are they as green as they claim to be?

Source: Liz Breygel [9]


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As more consumers become increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their beauty routine, there has been a greater shift towards sustainable and ethical beauty brands, more particularly those who provide vegan and cruelty-free products [1].


While this can be seen as a good sign of the beauty community moving towards the greater good, some companies see it as a means to their end [2].


Greenwashing in the beauty industry

It might be surprising, but greenwashing is quite prevalent within the beauty industry. One of the biggest reasons for this is because green buzzwords such as natural and vegan do not have a standard definition, which makes it easier for companies to just throw the words onto their product to lure customers in despite the product not actually being what it says to be [3].


For example, there are some companies who would falsely claim that their products are eco-friendly when they are packaged in plastic [3]. Another example would be how L’Oreal marketed one of its products as “vegan” despite the company tested on animals [4].

Read also: The Rise of Greenwashing in Fashion

On the other end of the spectrum, there are brands emerging who focus their business model in being more sustainable. An article by Byrdie presented some indie beauty brands who create products with a more ethical line of production. The products are made with ethically sourced materials and try to achieve a zero-waste system. Also, some of these brands have certification that approves their green acts [5].


Greenwashing can mislead consumers into thinking that they're making a positive contribution to the green movement

Source: Dominika Roseclay [10]


What does this mean for consumers

Greenwashing can mislead consumers into thinking that they are making a positive contribution to the green movement [6]. To avoid being greenwashed, we need to be conscious buyers by really looking into the detail of what the product claims and/or checking the brand they are purchasing from [7].


Similarly, beauty brands should never tolerate greenwashing because not only the environment suffers, but research also shows that consumers are likely to lose trust in the brand and thus, their loyalty [6].

Read also: 4 Easy Ways to Bust Little Corporate Green Lies

The silver lining of the rise of greenwashing in the beauty industry is that it proves that sustainability is becoming a real priority, and it also increases the incentive for organizations, such as The Soil Association, to create a standard definition of what can be labelled as green and justify which brands are actually sustainable [8].


But at the end, the key to eradicate greenwashing is for every stakeholder to work together. This means beauty brands should take greater steps in becoming more sustainable, from processes to products. Likewise, consumers should also support brands who are making an effort to become sustainable. Last but not least, the government should also enact regulations which prohibit greenwashing and impose sanctions if any brands violate.

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Sources:

[1] https://www.marketingweek.com/how-conscious-consumers-are-driving-vegan-beauty/

[2] https://www.glossy.co/beauty/confessions-of-a-sustainable-beauty-brand-founder-there-is-greenwashing-in-every-corner-of-the-industry/

[3] https://www.beautyindependent.com/is-greenwashing-beauty-biggest-trend-brand-founders-reveal/

[4] https://www.veganbeautygirl.co.uk/loreal-botanical-range-is-not-vegan/

[5] https://www.byrdie.com/zero-waste-beauty-products-4842760

[6] http://www.naturallyorganicskincare.com/greenwashing-examples-skincare/

[7] https://flourish-living.com/what-is-greenwashing/

[8]https://www.bustle.com/p/what-is-greenwashing-the-beauty-industry-could-be-using-this-method-to-trick-consumers-16269048


Photos:

[9] https://unsplash.com/photos/cWa1_mght10

[10] https://www.pexels.com/photo/makeup-912992/


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