There are so many labels associated with clean beauty products right now. It can be a challenge to know which products are really ‘natural’ or ‘green’. There are no regulations on beauty, skin, and personal care labels (don’t even get me started on food) so you have to be your own advocate and do research to understand what these labels mean.
And so many companies get away with calling their products green/clean/organic and those labels are nothing more than catchy marketing terms designed to trick the consumer into thinking the product is healthy.
Nothing gets me angrier than being tricked, especially where my health is concerned.
Even though I’ve been writing about green beauty for a long time and about beauty for even longer, I’m still surprised when I discover a trusted brand is not as clean and safe as the label promises.
It should get you mad too!
There are countless articles and Pinterest posts out there detailing the ingredients you want to stay away from, but here I’m going to break down some broader terms I’ve seen lately.
What Is Indie Beauty?
The latest term being used is Indie Beauty. What is it? From what I’ve read, Indie Beauty is (usually) a small company, independent of any large corporation.
Indie Beauty companies are not controlled or governed by any large company and are often found online (think Etsy).
You won’t usually find indie beauty in places like Target or Sephora.
Mass produced beauty brands Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox and Toms of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, those are just two examples of cleaner choices… but owned by enormous corporations.
Indie Beauty brands are not necessarily organic, eco-conscious or non toxic.
At first I thought Indie beauty was green beauty, don’t get these confused. Indie beauty companies can certainly be green and clean but that is not always the case.
What Is Green Beauty?
The term Green Beauty to me, encompasses products that are made with clean, non toxic ingredients and are usually created by a small, independent company who use eco-friendly packaging and sustainable resources.
It’s more likely the ingredients are non-gmo, clean from pesticides and responsibly sourced.
There are countless brands who have jumped on the green beauty bandwagon and use the term even through their products are not safe or clean or non-toxic.
That’s where label reading becomes essential!
You deserve to know exactly what you are putting in and on your skin.
What Are Natural or Botanical Beauty Products?
Natural or Botanical Beauty Products use ingredients that come from the earth yes, but may also use a bunch of toxic ingredients too.
This is where green-washing comes into play.
Sure the product boasts some kind of botanical extracts and natural ingredients but what else does it contain?
Oftentimes these are a better choice than conventional products (products that do not use any natural, botanical, clean or organic ingredients and are often found at the drugstores or department stores) but they are not the cleanest or best you can find.
Natural or Botanical doesn’t mean that the ingredients are pesticide-free and they may contain GMO ingredients too.
I’ve seen brands use the term Organic on the label yet the products still contain parabens which have been linked to cancer. “Made with organic ingredients” doesn’t mean a whole lot if the ingredients aren’t certified organic which is a government approved label.
It can be so confusing!
It’s totally okay to use a variety of products and ingredients, but the most important thing for consumers is to understand exactly what they are putting on their skin and to not fall prey to marketing terms and clever wording designed to trick buyers.