The Grooming Journal

Green Washing- A harsh reality to natural skincare

Green Marketing or Green washing is a common practice in today's skincare industry. Words such as "natural" and "organic" are often used to sell products that still contain harmful preservatives and toxins. Information about this issue is more readily available in women's skincare and less so in Men's. Leaving many people at a disadvantage for purchasing healthy skincare. What worries me is seeing all of these so called “natural” brands take advantage of a growing trend and demand for natural skincare. I view this predicament both as a maker and consumer. I am often surprised by how clever brands can be with manipulating their wording to seem natural while their ingredients are full of harmful preservatives and chemicals. I won’t name any particular brands but there is another Brooklyn based skincare brand that labels itself as "natural" apothecary. However most of their products contain a preservative named phenoxyethanol that is used and touted as “ derived from green tea”. phenoxyethanol is linked to cancers, organ, liver and kidney damage  and skin and lung irritation.  Read more about it on the campaign for safe cosmetics, where you can find more information regarding risks associated with its use.

Its almost near impossible to find certain products that don't contain a harmful preservative or other things such as sulfates, petroleum and even Formaldehyde and this is just listing a few. Yes, you read that correctly some common " natural" products contain formaldehyde, the same product used to preserve and embalm corpses. Yuck.

Another trend I am noticing is brands that claim to be "environmentally conscious" yet still choose to use plastic for all of their containers. Recycled or not, plastic is terrible for the environment and can be avoided with some dedication. Glass, metal and paper are all viable options and can be used in place of plastic. Even claims of using recycled plastic is still BS if you ask me. If being environmentally conscious is trendy, why not take it to the next level and use aluminum tins to house your pomades or come up with a better solution? Like a wax coated paper tube? 

The bottom line is recycled plastic uses a ton of energy. It has to be cleaned, sorted, recycled, and remelted. Yes, your not creating more plastic but you are still using a ton of energy to use a resource that is polluting our oceans and world.

One of my favorite Zero waste companies Meow Meow Tweet uses paper tubes for their oil based products and glass and metal for anything containing liquid. Its honestly quite simple to do this, yes it poses some logistics challenges but its  impressive that this company has managed to pave the way in many ways for coming up with non- plastic solutions for their product packaging. granted some minimal amounts of plastic are unavoidable but they are dedicated to being zero waste and using companies such as tetracycle to help discard and dispose of anything plastic that they use.

How Green washing affects all of us

Green washing puts everyone at a disadvantage. Think of it like cheating, if everyone is being dishonest than companies that truly are making an effort to offer natural skincare get lost in a sea of trends. As a consumer it becomes difficult to differentiate when your buying products labeled as safe and natural. I often think of my son who is only 2 years old. I am extremely careful and weary of any product I put on his skin. Conditions such as Asthma have been linked to things like scented diaper wipes so I make a concerted effort to only use the purest products on him. I cannot believe the amount of baby products that are labeld as natural but are loaded with harmful ingredients, even the products that are often featured in magazines still contain fragrances and fillers. So how do we safeguard ourselves against Green washing?

Here are some tips for spotting harmful ingredients on label

- If its hard to pronounce, do some research. 

- Ingredients should not sound science based

- Use the skin deep cosmetic database to identify culprits. You can look up any questionable ingredient and get information regarding safety and toxicity.

- My general rule of thumb is 10 ingredients or less. Most company's that intend to offer truly natural skincare will stick to simplicity and purity. 

- Be wary of any preservative, even the " natural" ones are still harmful. 

- When in doubt use Google and do your own independent research

There is no such thing as a perfect company but we strive to be the best version of ourselves. We were green before it was trendy because its the backbone of our business. We wanted to offer men an option that hadn't yet been presented. cool looking products that were safe and natural. Our products have never contained any synthetic chemicals, preservatives or fillers. We strive to use minimal plastic and are constantly sourcing other alternative options like paper and glass. We re-use all of our packaging materials and even recycle our plastic bags. We do this because we truly love to do it!


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