A week or so ago I posted about the Never List. This was an eye-opening experience for me in many ways. I tend to think that if something at the store looks "green" it probably is. This could mean branding and colors, or vague statements like "all-natural, eco-friendly, or sustainable", which have no third party or federally verified label for the term, or even products that happen to be stocked next to other products that are "natural" probably get mistaken for them all the time.
The use of vague terms like "natural", "eco-friendly", and "low carbon footprint" is called greenwashing. According to triplepundit.com greenwashing "is any form of marketing or public relations that links a corporate, political, religious or nonprofit organization to a positive association with environmental issues for an unsustainable product, service, or practice."
Boy, there sure is a lot of it out there!
I went through our cosmetic products using the SkinDeep app to see what we've been putting on ourselves. I was really hopeful that nothing scored above a 6, and extra hopeful that most of our products, especially the kids stuff, was between 0-2. On the Skin Deep app, the lower the score the better!
I started with our girls shampoo and detangler.
These both scored really well. The Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo scored a 2. The only orange flag was a mild allergy concern. The Johnson's no more tangles also scored really well. That was a relief! I still like the BeautyCounter kids products better in terms of scent and not having to use a separate detangler, even after conditioner, but I was happy to see these scores.
Next up was our adult hair and bath products.
Most of these were a 4 or 5. The Secret, Method body wash, Barbasol, Gillette Sport, and Right Guard body wash all scored within that range, as did my Issey Miyake Toilet spray. These got the 4-5 rating because of the fragrance, which bumped the allergy rating up to an 8, leveling out the score at 4-5.
The two that surprised me?
The Jergens again scored high for allergy due to fragrance, but high enough that it was a 6. The Issey Miyake pour Homme! A 10! What is my husband spraying on himself!!
Here is a look at a few of the ingredients broken down by hazard score. Now, to be fair, I don't know what these things are, and he doesn't use this on a daily, but still, I was so surprised by the 10!
Next up, teeth. We have a couple toothpastes in our drawer: Crest Complete Whitening, Crest Kids and Sensodyne. We also have Listerine. How do they rate?
Not too shabby, eh?
So overall, our average score for all the products was a 4. But, when I looked at all of them laid out it made me think again about all the things we put on our bodies in a day. This doesn't include sunscreen because we are into autumn already, though Colorado has some pretty strong sunshine and we probably should still consider using it.
It also made me think more about greenwashing and really paying attention to what the label says versus what it actually means. Sometimes a products' claims are really just trying to distract us from more important issues.
I went searching about on the good ole web and found ISEAL. They describe themselves as a "leader in defining the essential characteristics of credible sustainability claims. With tools for both standards systems and businesses, ISEAL is bringing clarity to the landscape and promoting the growth of credible claims and labels globally."
Their goal is "to encourage truthfulness in claims and labelling and drive people towards claims and labels that more likely to deliver real sustainability impact."
To achieve this, they've created a Challenge the Label Tool.
Their 5 Universal Truths to Sustainability Claims are as follows:
The sustainability claim should be easily understood and free from misleading details.
The claim must be truthful and based on substantiated evidence.
The claim should be about an issue that is material or significant to the product or business and not a distraction from bigger and more important issues.
Claims should be based on a system that is
Information about the system behind the sustainability claim must be freely available and easily accessible.
There are controls in place regarding when the claim can be used and by whom, and clear criteria to be met before a claim can be used.
Does this get you thinking about what you've got in your bathroom? Perhaps what you're putting on your body? Or even what you're buying and why? We make purchases for all kinds of reasons: our mom used the dish soap, we like the smell, it's the right color, makes our hair feel smooth, just makes us feel good. But sometimes those aren't good enough.
About a year after my mom passed away from breast cancer in 2007, I remember talking to my dad about how things had changed, and how they were going for him. One of things that kept coming up was how his decision-making process was changing (see dad, I do listen!). Instead of just buying things at the supermarket or doing the things he used to do, he now had to think about whether he really liked those things he was buying or doing, or whether it was just out habit, or because my mom used buy them or do them. And he made a lot of changes.
I kinda feel like I've opened Pandora's box for myself, but that's okay. It's good to question what you're doing and really wake up to your choices and decisions. Get familiar with your why.
Up next, the pantry! Gotta actually get on cleaning and organizing that, but it's a good time to go through what's in there and perhaps rethink some purchases, perhaps not. Baby steps people. Baby steps.
If you've used the app in your house, did you find anything that surprised you? Leave a comment!
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!