Fake Organic Brands Wiped Out By Dr Bronner

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.


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.


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.


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?

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  • 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
      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….

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    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.

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    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

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    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
    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
      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
      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!

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