Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I can think of several brands who make a stock standard line of products, then release a line of "naturals" or "botanics" into the range and use those buzzwords to attempt to sell a product that's supposed to be better for you or the environment. Stick a tree or a leaf on the packaging, and voila, you have a green product!

Greenwashing is rampant.

Tying in with the theme of chemicals = bad and natural = good, here are some terms that definitely don't have a say in how eco-friendly a product is.

Botanicals: Plant derived. Let's take body wash for example; it has surfactants (the ingredient which creates foam to pick up dirt and oil, then allow them to be washed away with water). Surfactants can come from petroleum, or they can simply be made from plants such as coconut oil. They are processed by chemical reactions, and the end product is molecularly identical, no matter where it came from. A lot of "botanical derivatives" come from palm oil, which as we know from the previous post, is an horrid example of agriculture.

Carbon Footprint: Although we are all made of carbon, when one carbon atom binds with two oxygen atoms, we get carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere and creates climate change. We need to minimize our carbon footprint to leave a pristine environment for our future generations. Or just invest in warp drive technology and leave this hell hole before the next Mass Extinction.

Clean: Free of dirt and oil, literally.

Cruelty Free: See “Not Tested On Animals”. May also be vegan, but may contain ethically sourced animal byproducts (e.g. Honey, Lanolin etc). These are my opinions as a part time vegan, however, a strict vegan's opinion will differ to mine.

Fresh: Just picked produce? Probably has some kind of cucumber fragrance.

Not Tested On Animals: Ingredients and final products are not tested on animals for safety data. Animal testing for cosmetic ingredients is disgraceful with alternative and accurate safety data testing methods available. Given the track records of many substances used in cosmetics, it's safe to say that we have good reason to give this up.

Pure: Literally “not mixed with another substance or material”. Thanks dictionary!

Vegan: Does not use any animal derived materials or byproducts. Many products that happen to be vegan can still be tested on animals and may use unsustainably sourced ingredients. The point here is to buy Cruelty Free AND Vegan, if you want to minimize your impact. Also, Bio Cheese is the best.

Also see Natural, Organic, Non-Toxic in my previous post!

Check out Logical Harmony for a list of CF products.

I hope this clears up some common marketing terms that really stump you. If you have any further questions, please ask!


  1. Oh wow! I used be comfortable using just cruelty free products. But now I need to check through for cruelty free and vegan. Thanks for this post


    1. It's really up to the individual. I'm still okay with using honey, beeswax and such because they're good for my skin. The big thing is to tell companies to pressure China into giving up the animal testing laws on imported cosmetics and personal care items. Most companies selling there would then be cruelty free, unless they use conflict palm oil...

      But in light of that, Oreos are vegan, but they use palm oil for the filling. Mondelez doesn't have the best track record.

      I wonder how many insects and small animals have died to produce plant agriculture. It kinda comes up as a no-win situation for veganism. It sucks to think about that.