New research reveals that most people feel misled by some beauty labelling. 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...
Our 'Come Clean About Beauty' league table reveals a cross section of brands and beauty products on the market which make potentially misleading organic claims on the label. Major beauty brands Boots, Dr Organic and Faith in Nature have all been 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.
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 strict EU standards, there are no legal standards for the use of the terms 'organic' or 'natural' on beauty products. This means in practice 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, and the brands using these potentially misleading labels, on products ranging from moisturising shampoos to sunscreens to night creams, need to #ComeCleanAboutBeauty.
The Campaign for Clarity reveals that price is not a factor in separating misleading products from their certified organic counterparts. Skincare brand Aloe Pura styles itself as organic and natural - its Organic Aloe Vera after sun lotion claims 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.
The research found that 74% of people said they would feel they were choosing a product which was free from nasties if it said organic on the label. Yet the reality is quite different. A leading independent toxicologist reviewed the ingredients we found in products which say organic on the label and identified the Terrible Ten: Ingredients which 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.”