Green Beauty vs. Greenwashed Beauty

I finally bit the bullet and bought some new BeautyBlenders and I don’t love it. What!? The sponges that I was using weren’t that old or maybe they were older than I thought and really broken in? I dunno but I am not crazy about how my foundation went on with the new sponge. I will keep using it but I have never been disappointed in these sponges. Sad face.

I have a story, and this story is not meant to sound judgmental or holier than thou but I think it is an interesting account of how marketing influences consumerism. Which, obviously it should because brands market to sell things – stick with me. I was in Sephora this weekend (it was the one at the mega mall and it was a lame experience, the mega mall is MOA if anyone was wondering. Us locals just like to go there to torture ourselves) and a gal asked the sales staff if they had any green beauty recommendations and the customer was directed to the tarte counter. Now, I love tarte and I use a lot of their products but they are not a green beauty brand – they are a greenwashed brand. Greenwashing is a marketing technique that deceptively uses imagery, packaging, some ingredients, etc to make it seem like products are green when they aren’t. They also throw buzz words around like all-natural and chemical free and more recently vegan. Side note here, Oreo cookies are also technically vegan and I cannot recall the last time that I watched any of my vegan friends sit down to a plate of Oreo’s. The minimalist packaging, the Amazonian clay, the natural ingredients – tarte has done a fantastic job at leading consumers to believe that they are a green beauty company or at the very least, all natural which they also aren’t. I feel that the green beauty misconception is fairly prevalent among consumers, by reading various reviews on their site – many consumers are asking about different ingredients and if said ingredients are green and/or all natural. No, they aren’t because again – the tarte brand is not green or all-natural! In fact, the only mention of anything green on their site refers to their sustainable packaging and working with cooperatives to develop said packaging in ways that can be re-used to help decrease environmental waste. That’s it! Green beauty isn’t just about pretty packaging – it’s sustainable ingredients, fair-trade cooperatives, natural ingredients, sometimes organic ingredients, reusable/recycled packaging and all around a lot more than tarte’s interpretation of green beauty that they are successfully selling us.

greenwashed beauty

I guess my irritation with the whole situation was that there are green beauty brands available at Sephora. The collections tend to be smaller and the products are more expensive but this comes with good reason – green beauty takes time, not just trendy marketing. The products are made in small batches, they take longer to curate and it can be well worth the money. Notice that many green beauty brands aren’t very well-known, they don’t market themselves as aggressively as a tarte or Josie Maran and I think it is unfortunate that these brands are stealing the green beauty spotlight! These bigger brands are profiting off of the ever-growing natural beauty trend without putting in the actual work. And I get that the Sephora sales reps cannot be expected to know every little thing about every single brand but this was a reflection of effective, deceptive marketing and it just annoyed me.

green beauty

Anyway, does it truly matter? I mean, probably not and Moses knows that I will pack on my 100% talc infused eye-shadow with my vegan bristle brushes so who am I to judge? There are a lot of aspects of natural, green and organic beauty that aren’t really regulated and I feel that is part of the reason that some brands get away with masquerading as something they aren’t. I was just bummed that so many other brands were overlooked and that the customer probably didn’t make it home with anything resembling a green beauty item and by being sold a greenwashed brand will continue the cycle of misconception. Mer, mer. I was also pushing children down to get out of the store, so I couldn’t be bothered to assist plus how snooty would that have looked anyway 😛

Thanks for stopping by <3


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