How to Shop Smarter ( Greenwashing and Other Priorities)

As if the hair care shopping experience isn’t confusing enough, we’ve also been wondering where it’s made, if its tested on animals, is it vegan, organic or natural? It has been an ongoing trend to market either what ingredients aren’t in the bottle or highlight the few that are worthy of mentioning.

You’ll either see a list of 5 things it doesn’t have, example: Sulfate Free, Gluten Free, Phalate Free…. Or it will highlight the perceived “gold” in the product. Example Argan Oil Shampoo, Coconut Conditioner. Which is quite funny because it’s the equivalent of making a banana strawberry smoothie but calling it a coconut smoothie because you put a teaspoon of coconut shavings.

This is what we mean when we say green washing. Green washing is a bit like social media in that we or in this case a company is only showing you their highlight reel! However we all know the details are on the back, it’s just mega confusing to read between the lines.

On my recent call with Whitney of @nontoxicstylist I was blown away by just how much we professionals aren’t taught about in school. Sadly it just was never a priority for companies to be transparent about the benefits and drawbacks of each ingredient.

There’s many reasons we are starting to implement greener buying habits:

  • We’re being marketed to that it’s the right thing to do
  • We want to “vote” with our money
  • We want to be kinder to the earth & our bodies

It’s hard as fuck and can be very overwhelming to start a journey to “cleaner” products. Ideally the greenest thing is to not waste. So use what you have BUT when you are finished replace it with a greener option. Now here is where things get tricky. What is a greener option? What are my priorities ?

Greener tends to equate to more natural. But here is the thing. Natural does not equal safe. As we know nature can create some things that are quite toxic. There is also no policing of the words natural on products. Natural also doesn’t mean organic and organic doesn’t mean its the best either. So if you are already dizzy don’t worry, we are here to help!

There’s actually just 3 main factors to consider. Toxicity, Animals and Local!

Let go of the word natural and instead look for NON TOXIC. Why? Because toxicity is the actual issue at hand. If you want to be safer to your body and the earth non toxic means not poison. This term is sadly also not regulated but usually with some quick google searching you can find the truth. Non toxic means the ingredients have not been linked to toxic responses like cancer, hormone disruption or any adverse health effects.

The next place is to take your stance on animals. There’s a few terms used

  • Cruelty free = No animals were harmed BUT may include animal ingredients
  • Vegan = No animal products inside BUT parent company may test on animals or use in other products
  • Non Tested on Animals = The final product was not tested on animals BUT it is possible they test specific ingredients on animals or outsourced testing
  • Vegan friendly = Most of the ingredients are Vegan

The ideal situation would be Vegan + Non Tested on Animals or Cruelty Free + Not tested on animals. It depends on your feelings towards animal ingredients.

Once those are all sorted bonus points if your product is local! Have you finally found the best product? Can you buy it locally instead of online? Buying local supports your local economy and ultimately helps your city be it’s best!

Once you realize your priorities, it’s easier to make better choices. Once you find the brands you trust that share those same values it gets even easier 🙂

So the 4 questions to ask yourself is this:

  1. Is it Non Toxic?
  2. Is it Not Tested on Animals?
  3. Vegan or Cruelty Free?
  4. Can I Get it Locally?

Voila!
Hope you enjoyed this, there is more to come!

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