Beauty Greenwashing 101 ~ Kristen Arnett

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beauty greenwashing

Let’s start at the beginning: What is “Greenwashing”?

It’s how a company positions their products on the marketplace suggesting to the consumer that a product is eco-friendly, natural or better for them, when in reality it’s not.

Take a listen to the Green Divas Eco Style episode below to hear who I called out as a major greenwashers in the beauty industry and why. Learn about other catch phrases you should be aware of that are often used in false marketing practices.

A few drops of something natural does not make a product “green.”

In the world of beauty, often a company will put in tiny drops of something natural and then sell the consumer the fantasy that they’re purchasing a “green” product, when in fact most of the ingredients are still a chemical soup of potential toxins.

These ploys can include using botanical imagery, the color green or words that have no regulated definition. For example “natural” “herbal” and “pure” can be stamped on the front of a bottle even if it contains no real natural ingredients in it—and the U.S. government is totally OK with that.

In my work as a sustainable makeup artist and green beauty advocate, it’s been important to me not to bash brands. It’s just getting a little out of control these days with companies just trying to cash in on a trend. I feel like spreading hate doesn’t get us very far, but I’m a bit fed up with keeping quiet entirely. 

Mostly what gets me revved up are the brands who blatantly lie.

However there are brands who don’t present themselves with the natural or green slant, but customers themselves jump to that conclusion based on a feeling they get from the branding. A good example of this is Kiehl’s. My clients often assume it’s “a healthy brand” because of the Kiehl’s apothecary feel, which people associate with wellness. This isn’t a case of a brand greenwashing, but rather an example of how consumers can easily be mislead even of their own accord.

I want to make it clear that this topic is anything but clear. It’s impossible to draw a line in the sand and say, “these are truly green and these aren’t”. It all goes back to not having concrete definitions of what green means.

Want to see my list of beauty brands who are greenwashing? Visit


Listen to the latest Green Divas Health and Beauty segment…

You can listen to the latest Green Divas Radio Show—and other green and healthy living podcasts—daily on (or get the GDGD Radio app)!

 kristin arnettEco beauty maven Kristen Arnett has helped thousands of women around the globe detox their makeup bags with amazing results. She’s been called a “Green Leader” by ELLE Magazine, a “Top Eco Influencer” by Eileen Fisher and a “Natural Beauty Guru” by Whole Living. As one of the few sustainable makeup artists in the world, and the founder of, Kristen uses her talents to educate people about natural beauty solutions (that really work!) as a pathway to total well-being. Carla Hall, co-host of The Chew said, “What Kristen Arnett taught me was so simple, yet so profound!” Find out for yourself why top models and celebrities say working with her has transformed their lives. During a one-on-one consultation in NYC or via Skype, you’ll learn how to maximize your best assets at any age, so you can you take on the world feeling vibrant and beautiful every day. Get your free guide to the Top 25 Green Beauty Buys when you subscribe to

Conscious Consumer, Eco-Style, GD Ticker, Green Divas Radio Show, Healthy Living, Natural Beauty, Popular (100 or more views)

About the author / 

The Green Divas

The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter too!

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1 Comment

    Mademoiselle Nature February 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

    Really good article! well done!

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