Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Wee Bit O' the Greenwash

I'm still wading through vegan products I received at various shows. The most recent one I tried is a "cruelty free and vegan" body wash, Papaya, by Nature's Gate. I'm strictly a Dr. Bronner's bar soap kind of gal, but I thought I would branch out to give this a try. Why not?

Nature's Gate Papaya Velvet Moisture Body Wash says it Brightens Dull Skin, is Paraben Free, and has 7 Natural Moisture Boosters. OK. I open the sample and wonder how much I really need on my sponge. Hmm. Soapy. It smells WONDERFUL. Good so far. Turns our I used way too much, but that happens. I feel pretty silky. But then, it doesn't rinse off my skin as well as my Dr. Bronner's. That bothers me because I feel I am using more water than I would like. Then there is my sponge. It takes forever to get it all out of my poor little natural sponge (use not approved by hard-line vegans). There goes more wasted water than usual.

OK, so good smell but too much water. Let's look a little deeper. The company itself is a really good one... concerned about sustainable products, trying to be all responsible with the packaging, supporting clean water initiatives... they say this product is, besides paraben free, also sulfate free, phthalate free, and biodegradable with no EDTA. Let's look into this. Paraben: bad. So we have to make a big deal of that, I get it. Phthalates and sufates, also bad. EDTA is a "persistent organic pollutant." OK, also bad, let's stick that on the label. What does it actually have in it? Is it all-natural in its vegan-ness? I have to say no, as the first "natural" ingredient, papaya, doesn't actually appear until #8. In fact, it has lots of big chemical names that I cannot pronounce without a few good tries. I gotta copy this right from Wikipedia because, well, otherwise that's a lot of typing. Hah. The first ingredient after water: Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine (CAHS) is a synthetic amphoteric surfactant from the hydroxysultaine group. It is found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, lotions etc.). It has uses as a foam booster, viscosity builder, and an antistatic agent. It is a cheap and very effective foaming agent. Um. That's not very natural. I won't bore you with the rest of the dozen or so other unpronounceables interspersed with natural oils. Suffice it to say that this product is more laboratory than Nature. My Dr. Bronner's? More Nature than lab. Also cruelty-free. Perfectly safe for grey-water systems. No fancy labels.

Oh, you know what else? My Dr. Bronner's soap comes in a paper wrapping. These products come in plastic bottles. They say, of course, that they are recyclable, of course, and post-consumer content, or course, but, of course, it's still plastic, as I, of course, always say.

Nature's Gate: you are a nice enough company, I am sure you mean well, but I have to pass. Your labels aren't fooling me. I think you greenwash vegans with your labels. Thanks for the samples, but it's a no-go for me. Lemme know when you have fewer chemicals in your life. And less plastic. I stick to my castille soap, thanks. Maybe someday, people will stop falling for half-truths on labels, quit seeing what they want to see and hearing what they want to hear.

Oh, but then, about whatever shall I rant??? :)