Come Clean about Beauty

In a 2017 national independent survey, 76% of you felt misled by the labels on these products, and now it's time to act. We found that some brands were making organic claims, yet contained ingredients that are not allowed in certified organic products. 

So we stood up against the widespread, uncontrolled greenwashing in the beauty industry, asking you to call on brands which made organic or natural claims to #ComeCleanAboutBeauty. In signing our petition, you asked them to use the terms organic or natural responsibly, or not at all.

Do you feel misled by beauty labels?

In a national independent survey, we discovered that 76% of consumers feel misled by labelling like that on the beauty products opposite.

The new research, released as part of our Campaign for Clarity, also shows that 72% of people said they would lose trust in a beauty brand that made misleading claims about being organic. Shocked? This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The League Table

Our 'Come Clean About Beauty' league table revealed a cross section of brands and beauty products, which - at the time of our campaign - made potentially misleading organic claims on the label. Major beauty brands Boots, Dr Organic and Faith in Nature were named as culprits of greenwashing.

These brands include ‘organic’ on some labels – yet these products are not certified as organic and include ingredients banned under organic standards. 69% of people surveyed said that they felt such misleading labelling should be against the law. 

In An Independent National Survey, We Found:

76 % 76% said they felt misled when they found out the League Table products were not certified and would not meet organic standards
72 % Upon discovering this, 72% said they would also lose trust in the brand

Organic or natural, or maybe not?

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and what you put on it is likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Yet unlike with organic food, which must adhere to EU standards, there are no legal standards for the use of the terms 'organic' or 'natural' on beauty products.

In practice, this means that any brand or beauty product can be labelled as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, even if it contains virtually no organic or natural ingredients.

This is wrong! The brands using these potentially misleading labels, on products ranging from moisturising shampoos to sunscreens to night creams, need to #ComeCleanAboutBeauty.

Certified organic usually costs less

The Campaign for Clarity revealed that price was not a factor in separating misleading products from their certified organic counterparts. Skincare brand Aloe Pura styles itself as organic and natural and its Organic Aloe Vera after sun lotion claimed to use ‘Natural Actives’.

In fact, this product contains six ingredients that would never be permitted in certified organic beauty products, including several artificial ingredients. By contrast, an alternative certified organic Aloe vera after sun lotion is £1.31 cheaper per 100ml!

What are the 'Terrible Ten'?

The research found that 74% of people said they would feel they were choosing a product that was free from nasties if it said organic on the label. Yet the reality is quite different.

A leading independent toxicologist reviewed the ingredients found in products that say organic on the label and identified the Terrible Ten: Ingredients that have been shown in wider use to cause problems such as allergies, hormone disruption, or harm to the development of unborn babies.

Emeritus Professor Vyvyan Howard of the Centre for Molecular Bioscience at Ulster University, who assessed the ingredients used in the potentially misleadingly labelled products and came up with the ‘Terrible Ten’, said: “I was shocked to find ingredients which could contain human carcinogens in products with labels which could misleadingly suggest that they might be organic. Genuine organic products are independently certified and I would encourage consumers to choose those to be sure they are keeping away from ingredients included in the Terrible Ten.”

Campaign For Clarity Report

Read our full report and learn more about why we're asking health and beauty brands to come clean about beauty.

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