Oh boy. Where do we even begin? Greenwashing is a major problem across all industries, and beauty is of course no exception. Put simply, greenwashing is when a brand or product makes certain marketing claims—like being natural, eco-friendly, or organic—but isn't, purely for sales purposes. It's shady and unethical, not to mention basically the exact opposite of what we stand for here at Youthforia.
With that said, here's an overview of greenwashing and why it's a problem for consumers. Plus, what we're doing to ensure your trust.
What Is Greenwashing?
Here's the thing, folks: Because the beauty industry is largely unregulated—especially the "natural" sector—brands can more or less do and say whatever they want about their products. This means they can plaster their packaging with words like "non-toxic," "natural," and "planet-friendly," even if they're anything but.
Another way greenwashing is practiced is through imagery and packaging. For instance, if a brand's products are laden in green lettering or a floral design, it can lead customers to think that they're "green" or "natural,"—again, even if that's not the case.
To reiterate, all of this can happen because the beauty industry really isn't regulated—at least, not nearly as much as it probably should be. Especially when you consider just how saturated it is.
Why Is It a Problem for Consumers?
"Greenwashing makes things so confusing for consumers," says Youthforia's founder, Fiona Co Chan. "Honestly it sucks because unless you're really an expert on ingredients, it's kind of impossible to know—like I had to learn all of this for Youthforia and we had ingredient experts that helped us, and eventually I kind of just memorized a lot of it."
If you love to shop but aren't an ingredient pro, Chan highly recommends using Clearya, which is an online shopping tool that alerts you of any unsafe ingredients that may be in the products you're looking to buy. You can get the Chrome extension, or download the app.
What's Our Stance?
Take it from Chan herself:
"As a brand, I want it to be easy for our customers to know where we stand. We're super passionate about reducing the amount of fossil fuels in our personal care and beauty products. I read this UN study that said they found more liquid plastic in the shampoo than the shampoo bottle itself. We definitely want to bring more awareness to this issue because it isn't as simple as plastic containers when we drill fossil fuels and use basically liquid plastic.
For us, we certify our products with USDA BioPreferred because it gives transparency to our customers about where we stand. It requires some education on whats bio-based and it's a bit science-y, but our customers really seem to like that."