Beauty Skincare

Fake Organic Brands Wiped Out By Dr Bronner

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By Chere Di Boscio

If there’s one thing here at Eluxe that makes us blue, it’s a greenwash, and unfortunately, there’s still plenty going around.

We’ve tried to expose brands that claim to be green but really aren’t, but now we are pleased to know there’s someone else engaged in the battle against fake ‘organic’ products: David Bronner.

You may recognise the name: he’s the President of the well known brand, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. According to the Organic Consumers Association, Bronner says “We have been deeply disappointed and frustrated by companies in the ‘natural’ personal care space who have been screwing over organic consumers, engaging in misleading organic branding and label call-outs, on products that were not natural in the first place, let alone organic.”

And so Dr. Bronner’s has gone to war with brands who claim to be organic, but are anything but. And the list of fake organic  brands surprised even us.

Jason-Natural-Shampoo

Shockingly Dirty Organics

We always believed Jason Organics products were just that, but apparently their “Pure, Natural & Organic” liquid soaps, body washes and shampoos contains Sodium Myreth Sulfate as a main ingredient. This chemical isn’t only non-organic, it’s actually carcinogenic! Its creation involves ethoxylating a conventional non-organic fatty chain with the carcinogenic petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which produces caricinogenic 1,4-Dioxane.  Scary!

But Jason Organics isn’t the only organic faker: another brand we trusted, Avalon Organics, contains the nasty sounding chemical Cocamidopropyl Betaine and the petrochemical Amdiopropyl Betaine in its soaps, shampoos and shower gels.

But there’s more! Here’s the shortlist of the falsely organic brands, and their harmful chemical secrets:

  • Nature’s Gate Organics: Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (ethoxylated) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Kiss My Face “Obsessively Organic” cleansers:  Olefin Sulfonate (a pure petrochemical) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine.
  • Juice Organics, Giovanni Organic Cosmetics, Head Organics, Desert Essence Organics, and Ikove Organic: all use Cocamdiopropyl Betaine as a main cleansing ingredient and NO cleansers made from any certified organic material.
  • Stella McCartney‘s CARE line: although certified by the French standard Ecocert as being 100% organic, Bronner has taken issue with Ecocert for lying–they often put  100% Organic” on products that are not, and simply insert the word “Active” before “Ingredients” for those that aren’t organic.

This last point is particularly worrying. Organic consumers have a right to expect that the ‘organic’ grooming products they buy are just that, and we rely on bodies like the Soil Association and Ecocert to ensure this. Someone needs to alert the public to  misleading organic labelling, and if it’s not a government body that will do it, then Dr Bronner‘s is right in taking those companies mentioned above to court.

AVALON ORGANICS PRODUCTS EARTH DAY

Too Scared to Lie

Dr. Bronner’s action not only helped raise the alarm on fake organics, but it also scared some companies into compliance: most in the list simply dropped ‘organic’ from their claims, obviously showing they weren’t too concerned about their products being organic in the first place, but a few others did actually reformulate their products.

And the best part of all, is that brave Dr. Bronner’s has come out on top by eliminating much of their competition. They truly deserve this: this is a company that truly does include organic and fair-trade ingredients in most of its products; caps the earnings of managers at just five times what the lowest-paid employee earns; gives  an average of 54 percent of its annual profits to charity or advocacy campaigns, and of course provides a truly wonderful, natural product to the public.

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We’d like to see more green companies, including fashion brands, follow suit. It must be frustrating for organic fashion brands to work hard ensuring their designs are as ‘green’ as possible, only to have larger labels that aren’t eco friendly at all steal the limelight in the mainstream press.

Dr. Bronner’s has led the way in wiping out fake organic brands. Who will now follow?

Chere Di Boscio

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Robyn P.
    Mar 22, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Excellent article! Thank you so much for writing it. However, I must admit that the responsibility goes both ways. Consumers who are looking for organic & natural products need to actually read the labels and not just assume that these companies are doing the right thing. I also have such a respect for Dr. Bronner’s and I’m so glad they’re leading the charge!!

    • Reply
      Chere
      Aug 14, 2015 at 4:53 am

      Agreed! But without proper labelling, it’s difficult for consumers to make good decisions. That’s the whole point of the article–some brands were labelling their products ‘organic’ but that was a lie….

  • Reply
    Brian Takara
    Jun 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I am happy to see that Dr. Bronner is finally getting his due as the Dr. of organic soap. I have been using his product for over 40 years, and will continue to do so. My whole family uses nothing but his peppermint soap for showers, baths, and even use it for mosquito and flea repellent. Love it.
    Aloha from Hawaii.

  • Reply
    diana
    Feb 7, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Well yes but it does contain potassium hydroxide …a very dangerous chemical and irritant. They say that it disappears in the processing but the warnings about not getting in eyes and rinsing for 15 minutes does suggest something else

  • Reply
    Bob
    Dec 25, 2015 at 4:58 am

    It’s so hard to read a shampoo label and know what’s harmful and what’s not now days.You almost have to be a chemist.I’ve been doing a lot of research trying to find something free of the toxins that a lot of companies use.It’s down right near impossible to find one that doesn’t have something in it that isn’t harmful.So many have additives that seem so much alike.Sodium lauroyl lactate,lauryl lactyl lactate,sodium cocoyl glutimate,sodium cocoyl alaninate. Really?

  • Reply
    Isabelle
    Mar 9, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Thanks so much for this article! I’m glad they’re taking action against fake cosmetic brands. Deceiving the customer in such a way needs to be sued. I’m a bit shocked, and I have to admit I was so sure Kiss My Face is organic… gotta look for a new shaving soap now. And I think it’ll be from Dr. Bronners 😉

    • Reply
      Chere
      Mar 9, 2016 at 1:13 am

      Can honestly say Dr Bronners rocks – their soaps are multi-use: shower gel, shaving soap, hand wash…even serves as a dish soap! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gemma Smith
    Nov 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for this great article – I would like to know where I can find reliable information on the products which ARE totally organic (apart from Dr Bronner’s)?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 16, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Why, here of course, Gemma! 🙂 Just check out our Beauty section – we only cover brands that NEVER use nasty chemicals!

  • Reply
    Jeff
    May 8, 2018 at 4:37 am

    You want to see something that raises your eyebrows. Take a product you can be sure has artificial dangerous ingredients. Look each ingredient up online. Back to back. You will see they will put a dangerous ingredient that maybe damages your stomach or causes allergies and than they will put another ingredient to combat that ingredient. So for instance if they put an ingredient that spikes your insulin. They will put another ingredient that lowers your insulin. If they put an ingredient that causes ulcers they commonly put ingredients like lactase which is like imodium ad or tums. What’s worse is we just let them. We let them as consumers. As a government as a parent. As a husband or wife as a friend. As a company. However, I am getting tired of looking up every ingredient in whole foods to ensure that I am not supporting this. That is a hassle. Too bad everyone let’s them do this to us.

  • Reply
    How Sustainable is Green Beauty? - Impakter
    Nov 30, 2018 at 10:01 am

    […] Green beauty is trending because of its long-term health benefits and environmental friendliness, but there have been concerns over green-washing and the misuse of green beauty by brands only looking for market expansion. As a result, some people are viewing green beauty as an overrated and unsustainable fad.  On one end, green beauty has become a symbol of health and environmental responsibility in the cosmetic industry, on the other, there is no regulation of the industry and there is no specific definition of what green beauty is. There is a lack of transparency and a lot of misinformation, so much so that some companies have cashed in on the high prices of their ‘green products’ which are not truly green. […]

  • Reply
    snyc
    Dec 8, 2018 at 1:38 am

    Can you please expose the brand called “truly organic” ? They are the shadiest fakest “natural” products company that I have ever encountered. They have glitter in their products which they claim is “plant-based” and all the colors of the rainbow but no coloring listed in the ingredients as well as scents described as “cotton candy” and “fruit punch” and no “fragrance” listed in ingredients. They list “blue tansy” as an ingredient in a blue body scrub that sells for $20 when blue tansy is a very very expensive oil. Someone needs to shed the light on them. http://www.trulyorganic.com

    • Reply
      Chere
      Dec 8, 2018 at 2:59 am

      Interesting! Thanks for the info. Will check it out.

  • Reply
    J
    Sep 22, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    So then what is in Dr. Bronner’s castile soap really?? Because that stuff causes the worst rash when I use it and is super drying! Maybe it is the natural scent or maybe it is the product, but chemical brands like dove haircare does the same thing to me with a rash but arent drying. I find soaps through etsy but for shampoo and conditioner, I have a very hard time finding one that isnt too drying in the “natural” realm, hence me ending up with non natural a lot of the time. Nature’s gate which isnt perfect is fine for me. Maui moisture which is crap ingredients is fine as well. My hair dresser who is very natural minded swears by natures gate and j beverly hills. If you have skin issues, be careful with bronners. Nit picking every product to death so there is few choices is not good for consumers.

  • Reply
    8 More Brands You Think are Eco Friendly, But Aren't - Eluxe Magazine
    Nov 11, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    […] Dr Bronner’s exposed the truth about ‘fake’ organic brands. That is to say, brands that claimed to be organic based on their ingredients, packaging and […]

  • Reply
    Lena
    Jan 1, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    What about burt’s bees, they clamim to be natural, are they products safe for human use.

    • Reply
      Chere
      Jan 2, 2020 at 2:40 am

      Yes, I think so?

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