Pure & natural greenwashing

I got goose pimples when I saw an entire collection of “pure&natural” products from Nivea on the shelves of a shop! You will ask me: “Aren’t you happy that the world and companies are becoming more and more aware of going green and that they care for us and our planet?” I’d be happy, if the label would convince me with ingredients. For a multinational brand selling enormous quantities of products, it’s also almost impossible to produce really safe cosmetic with fresh ingredients without chemicals. A really good product made with organic herbs does not have a shelf life of years.
Most of us know that Nivea is selling us chemical cosmetics with non safe ingredients, like all big corporations. Now, they want to sell also “green and safe” products, with amazing advertising and beautiful pictures. Looking at this, another more important question came over in my head : “Aren’t they directly telling us, that in all their “non-natural” products they sell us toxic ingredients? In other words, they are telling us that their main range of products is highly toxic! This question is meant more for the reader, to reflect about it. Personally, I’m completely aware about their greenwashing and the misleading of the consumer. 

Nivea new line is called Pure&Natural (and I guess that many other big companies will follow this trend sooner or later). Along some nice words about argan oil, honey, aloe vera and other plants, there is no further explanation about any certifications or other ingredients. For a big corporation is enough to write that they use organic plants. Without any certification, they easily claim to use organic and safe ingredients! I know this is enough for a mediocre consumer who blindly trusts and relates just on nice words and images. But it’s not enough for me. Nivea claims not to use silicones, parabens, chemical UV filters in the Pure&Natural line, which is true. But I’ve checked the labels and found inside many other toxic ingredients! What is worrying is their use of synthetic fragrances that give the product a pleasant “natural” scent like:

METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE: is a widely used preservative; has been associated with allergic reactions. Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic. Function/use(s): Fragrance ingredient; MASKING
LILIAL(butylphenyl methylpropanal): is a synthetic scent ingredient; associated with allergies and contact dermatitis. Function/use(s): Fragrance ingredient; MASKING
ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE: Ionones are a group of naturally occurring and synthetically produced scent chemicals.

Among these there are also ingredients like: Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol,Geraniol, Parfum. Since there is no statement that these ingredients are compounds of high grade organic essential oils, it’s more than evident that big companies are misleading us again with words: natural, pure, green and organic. As you can see, there is no trace of real conscience for our health, helping people and the planet.

Maybe I have indirectly even advertised Nivea with mentioning them, but at the end, I’d like to let you know that not everything is so nice, pure and natural as it claims to be. You have to decide how green you really are!

5 Responses to “Pure & natural greenwashing”
  1. Mary says:

    I’ve always thought about how they basically are telling us that their cosmetics are toxic by using natural as an option. The fact that Sephora has a “natural” section is basically saying that everything else in unnatural! Also, I noticed in an ad for a natural-marketed CoverGirl mascara, they said they swapped their “heavier synthetic” from other mascaras for beeswax! That was even more blatant that they use bad ingredients in their regular lines.

  2. dapperdolly says:

    Exactly, that’s part of the reason I make a lot of my own cosmetics nowadays and only buy from sellers that have the same ethos, serious dedication to natural, organic, fair trade and cruelty free criteria. The only unnatural things I do now is colour my hair and wear synthetic fabrics/colours but I’m reducing that too even if they are recycled. I especially dislike dyes that have been added by people being toxified in the manufacturing countries.

    Just a side note, there are plenty of all natural products that have the best before shelf life e.g. approx 3 years or 1-2 years after the BBE date. It depends on what combinations are used, especially oily ingredients but I also have had plenty of ayurvedic products that are herbal and spicy that lasted years. They might loose their consistency over time or aren’t as fresh but they’re still good.

    • green makeup says:

      Thanks for your comments! I really appreciate your thoughts!
      I agree with you dapperdolly about the shelf life of cosmetic with heavy oils or spices(ayurveda,…), but when it comes to lighter ingredients such as big corporations claim to use, is obvious that there is greenwashing behind.
      Interesting to hear from you about hair dying. That was also my non green issue till 1 year ago. I used to wore red hair, and henna wasn’t enough for me. Then I decided to feel good with my brown hair and an appropriate haircut and now I feel ok with it. But from the beginning it wasn’t easy at all to skip hair coloring 🙂

  3. St. Cain says:

    i had no idea until now

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    I write my opinion about products that I like, use and that are free of toxic chemicals. I am not paid for my reviews. I purchase the products for personal use and write about what is good from my point of view. New contacts and collaborations are appreciated, but I cannot guarantee a good review if it doesn't fulfill my conditions: safe ingredients and quality.


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