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Are you a victim of Greenwashing?

Are you a victim of Greenwashing?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Greenwashing” or its counterparts: “greenwashing”, “bleaching”, “face washing”, many times, but do you know what it means?

Are you a victim of Greenwashing?

The definition tells us that it is a set of commercial practices used by many companies to promote their sales, increase profits, clean up their image and gain acceptance among consumers through a key argument: the sale of natural or organic products, without actually carrying out sustainable management.

In other words, it refers to the marketing of those companies that sell their products as sustainable, natural or ecological, without actually being so, since in reality they continue to be just as polluting as they were before promoting their “commitment to the environment”.

is an increasingly common initiative among large companies and is becoming more and more difficult to identify.

Companies have realized that more and more consumers are asking companies to be environment ally friendly, and they have simplified it with “green sells”.

Have you ever wondered if you have ever fallen into greenwashing?

If you want to know more, to be able to identify this bad practice, and if you are interested in using green products, this article will help you to see more clearly what greenwashing is.


In the 1960s a revolutionary movement began to take place about peace, love, love for the Earth… and care for the environment began to gain importance. That’s when the first ads started to show us how green the companies were, even without being green.

In the 1980s, after several natural disasters, environmental care gained momentum and its importance has been growing over the years.

In the 1990s, the United Nations Conference in Rio de Janeiro (1992) began to promote Sustainable Development as a duty of the entire planet. A global agreement was signed to reduce emissions, although it is true that it could have been more ambitious, since the polluting industries were not directly blamed, but that is another subject, which would give rise to dozens of articles.

In the 21st century, more and more international conferences, national, regional and local initiatives are emerging with great force, and increasingly, companies are using greenwashing to try to confuse us.

Sustainability has long been talked about in the automotive sector, or in the field of cleaning products, but today it touches every sector, and of course, cosmetics as well.

How does greenwashing occur in the cosmetics world?

Making a cosmetic that is neither sustainable nor natural appear so is easier than it may seem at first glance. Marketing departments play with the consumer’s perception when it comes to purchasing the product. In order to do so, they carry out a series of deception strategies such as:

Are you a victim of Greenwashing? 1

  • Use words such as “sustainable, eco, natural, organic, green, bio, or green”.
  • Use shapes, drawings or photographs of plants, flowers or fruits.

The user perceives these brands as natural and it is possible that they use some natural ingredient, which is what they claim on the front of the label, but a single ingredient does not make the product natural, since most of the ingredients they use are from fully synthetic in origin, hence the importance of know how to read the list of ingredients.


5 tips to recognize it

We, from our experience in natural and organic cosmetics, urge you to “turn the bottle over” to read the ingredients and not to be carried away by the natural perception offered by the packaging and the keywords used in a specific way.

As consumers we must go further, that’s why we present this list of five tips to recognize greenwashing and know what you are buying:


1.-Turn the jar upside down and read the labels carefully. and the ingredients of the cosmetic products, since they contain the real information about them, remember that the ingredients are placed from the highest % to the lowest % in the formula, that is to say, the first ingredient that appears in the list is the one with the highest quantity in the product.

2.-Do not believe misleading statements. “Made with 100% natural argan oil.” You buy it thinking it is a 100% natural product and when you get home and read the ingredients you see a huge list of ingredients that you don’t know what they are. Indeed, argan is 100% natural, but not all of the product you are buying.

3.-Look for the “official seals” that guarantee that the products are truly natural.

Are you a victim of Greenwashing? 2
Official Cosmetic Certification Seals

Our cosmetics, for example, are endorsed by:

  • PETA.org certificate, which guarantees the vegetable origin and that we have not tested on animals.

Are you a victim of Greenwashing? 3

  • The “Eco Plus” seal of Bio Vida Sana, which guarantees the highest percentage of active ingredients and organic ingredients, or the Bio-Inspecta, the Swiss certifier that guarantees that our products do not contain toxins.

    Here is more information about the official seals

Are you a victim of Greenwashing? 4

4.-Know the meaning of the terms: brands that use the greenwashing use empty or complicated words, without explaining the meaning to their consumers, neither on their labels, nor on their website, in some cases finding the list of ingredients (INCI) is a very complicated task, if they do not have it published, be suspicious. You can see the following list of
endocrine disruptors to avoid in your cosmetics.

Don’t believe the environmental commitments: check that the product does not contain synthetic ingredients, plastic packaging, animal by-products, etc. Look for the % of organic ingredients contained in the product, the higher the higher the environmental commitment.


Are you a victim of Greenwashing? 5The ethics of many brands are conspicuous by their absence, as investors are in charge, and they look for cheap, filler ingredients to formulate at the lowest possible cost. If they only contain some vegetable extract or ingredient, they sell it as natural, but it is not, if it does not contain at least 95% of natural ingredients, and the remaining 5% must be considered non-toxic.

It is difficult to know the quality of many ingredients, so we recommend that you buy certified cosmetics, to ensure that they do not contain toxins for your health.

Big cosmetic companies can always dress up a product and make it look natural, environmentally responsible or socially just.

They play with language, with thousands of euros invested in advertising campaigns in magazines or even television commercials, the power of images and, above all, our willingness to believe their messages. Because who doesn’t want to believe in the beautiful messages that sleeping will reduce centimeters, that our damaged hair will be repaired in a minute or that our wrinkles will disappear in an instant?

Knowing what you now know, are you going to let them fool you?

It is normal to doubt, so ask questions, do your research, and don’t settle for what you are told.

Enjoy a great organic experience, look for the asterisks that identify each ingredient, check the % of organic ingredients in your products and do your bit to take care of yourself and the planet with authentic certified organic cosmetics.

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About the author
Picture of Victoria Sánchez
Victoria Sánchez
Soy una apasionada de la cosmética natural y ecológica, y creadora de la marca Saper Organic Skincare en 2011. Máster en Cosmetología y experta en evaluación y seguridad del producto cosmético. Mi objetivo es la belleza, la salud y la sostenibilidad del planeta. Para ello busco siempre los mejores ingredientes e investigo formulaciones de cosmética vegana, obteniendo los mejores resultados para la piel, cuidando siempre del medio ambiente.
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