Saturday, October 2, 2010

Aveda's BS Claims of Eco-Friendly

Slight pause between element posts for an enviro-reality check.

What is most frustrating is certain companies who have a massive, fraudulent block on creating products that are safe for our health and our water ways.
Case in point: Aveda.

As we've chatted about before, Aveda is a nice example of a whole slew of beauty companies that mislead and misinform the consumer into thinking they're making the safest and greenest choice with regards to their products. Other offenders include "The Body Shop" and Lush. Sure Aveda has some fabulous sustainable energy initiatives, like wind power and supposedly sustainably sourced herbs and flowers, but their ingredients leave something to be desired.

From phtalates to hormone disrupting chemicals each and every Aveda product is filled to the brim with unpronounceable ingredients. Why does it matter if beauty products use synthetic chemicals?

Firstly, women in our western society typical use an average of 11 products on our bodies every single day. Out of about 10,500 chemicals in beauty products only about 11% have been tested for safety in Canada and the US (Ecoholic, 2006). What's scarier, virtually none of these products have been tested together, so we have no idea how they interact. These chemicals are a recent invention in the beauty industry, with about one or two generations of women using them from birth to adulthood. We are only starting to figure out the longterm affects of slathering our skin with chemicals shown to be possibly carcinogenic, hormone disrupting  and birth defects in animals. (check out skin deep for more info)
Not only do we have our health to think about, but where do all these chemicals go every time you wash your face or take a shower? Our sewage treatment plants were not created to filter all 10,500 chemicals and our waterways are testing positive with hormone disrupting chemicals, affecting our water-ecosystems, the water we drink and ultimately come back for a double dosage to ourselves.

So it matters a whole heck of a lot.

You'd think with a company like Aveda, who's mission is I quote: " care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda we strive to set an example in environmental leadership and responsibility- not just in the world of beauty, but around the world" would invest the money into products that were actually 100% chemical free.

What I find frustrating is the argument from beauty-hair professionals that Aveda is doing the best they can and that 100% chemical-free products is a) unattainable, b) takes time and research to develop or is c) unnecessary.

To which all three I call bullsh*t.

There are many products and companies out there who are doing a hell of a job producing quality beauty products sans nasty toxic chemicals and charge LESS for them. Don't believe me? Let's take a recent example.
(sorry for the crappy photo, our camera is out of commission- computer photoshot)

I caved recently and bought a Rosemary Mint body lotion from Aveda prior to our trip to NYC. I love the way it smells and the minty feel afterwards. Strangely, it didn't really seem to alleviate my hives (actually, my hives got BETTER after I stopped using the lotion) nor did it actually moisturize very well.

I went out and bought Green Beaver's Après Ski moisturizer. Although it smells more like rosemary in chicken (Andrew loves that I now smell like chicken all the time "Why can't they make a bacon lotion??" bahaha), it is 500% better at keeping my skin smooth and hydrated. Also, no flare up of hives as a result.

Green Beaver Après Ski ingredient list:
Aqua, Glycerin, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, glyceryl stearate SE, Stearic Acid, cocoa seed butter, oat kernel flour, rhus verniciflua peel wax, origanum vulgaris leaf extract, thyme extract, cinnamonum zeylanium bark extract, rosemary leaf extract, lavender flower extract, golden seal root extract, grapefruit seed extract, cetearyl glucoside potassium sorbate, citric acid.

Aveda Rosemary Mint ingredient list:
Water extracts, rosemary leaf powder, peppermint leaf, aloe leaf, polyglyceryl-10 oleate, glyceryl stearate, coco-caprylate, isopropyl palmitate, dicaprulul maleate, cetyl alcohol, corn starch modified, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, glycerin, dimethicone, panthenol, retinyl palmitate, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, tocopherol, capryloyl glycine, PEG-100 stearate, xanthan gum, glyceryl laurate, polysorbate 60, sucrose distearate, guar, hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, methol, fragrance, linalool, limonene, citric acid, sodium gluconate, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate.

If we compare the ingredient list it's pretty darn obvious that Green Beaver truly doesn't use nasty toxic chemicals to make their product work or last on the shelves. Green Beaver also is a much smaller company than Aveda and one would assume has much less funding for research and technological advances. So what gives?

It's time we voice our concerns about the chemicals we put into our bodies and into our waterways and not let ourselves be bullied or made to feel like we're overreacting. Caring about what chemicals we put into our bodies is valid and I'm sorry, but I call bullsh*t on Aveda and other similar companies claiming that it's just not possible to produce quality products otherwise.

Plus, I can't even recycle their bottles! It says right on the bottle 'recycling is limited'. What's the point?

article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Ugh, that is SO annoying! Good for you for finding a better alternative! I'll have to post this on my FB page.

    And send me your new address! I mean it! ;)

    P.S. Tell Andrew that they have bacon-scented lip balm that is apparently all the rage (eww!). I don't even want to know what's in it.

  2. amen! thank you for calling BS! and of course props to our girl at FiveSeed, making the most luscious natural skin and lip stuff evah! (i'm wearing the chocolate mint lip balm as i type this - made with cacao and peppermint oil. sigh...)

  3. brutal! I won a $100 gift card and don't even know what to buy with it, since it's all loaded with crap. Then I went to an aveda spa listed on the website but since it's an independent chain they didn't take it! when I told the hairdresser I was planning on using henna, her only response was, "i hear it stinks". It smelled a lot nicer than chemicals! argh, this definitely seems like the slowest industry to accept that chemicals suck.

  4. wow. I didn't know Aveda was doing such a good job of green-washing (meaning, I bought it.) Thanks for calling them out!

    Re chemical in our daily lives, you might be interested in this report on the State of the Evidence about links between breast cancer & environmental contaminants, from the Breast Cancer Fund.

  5. I've always wondered about Aveda. Their whole attitude seems so holier than thou. But, with that said...I don't know if I could ever give up that foot cream!

  6. @A Green Spell: seriously??? I can't WAIT to share this link with Andrew. hahaha. he would LOVE it. (ick).
    I really meant to post a link to 5Seed in this post. A little late I know, but will do asap. OU- maybe I can do an interview with you Yancy? I'll email you shortly today.

    @EcoGrrl: I know, i also adore her peppermint chocolate lip balm, plus i really really enjoyed her chocolate moisturiser. it was awesome!

    @Walking Barefoot- thanks for the link! I have to wait until i'm home to check it out, but i look forward to reading it :)

    @babs: sigh- i hear ya. i really really love the smell of their rosemary mint. but i stand firm that i truly believe there is a chemical-free alternative that doesn't smell like poo out there for your feet. seriously. if you want some ideas, just give me a shout and i'll look into it for you :)

  7. what's really sad (on top of everything you already mentioned) is that rosemary mint would be such an easy scent to produce naturally!!! WTF!

  8. I've only attempted Aveda products once years ago...and it was the only time in my life that I have had a negative reaction to a beauty product actually. Ironically it was the rosemary mint shampoo and it made my entire scalp itch and break out. I know lots of people argue that Aveda is a beauty choice than other "mainstream" companies, but I'm with you and argue otherwise. SO glad to see you post the skin deep database!

  9. Aveda's Rosemary Mint Shampoo/Conditioner made my scalp break out so badly. I was flaking everywhere once my hair started to dry, and my scalp was so red, itchy, and had red bumps all over.


I love hearing from you! So I don't miss a comment, I like "pre-approving" them :)
I ask only that we stay respectful.
Also, please note that this is a personal blog and not a space for advertising your company. I reserve the right to delete "advertising" comments.

**NB: The ANONYMOUS option is the BEST way to comment if you don't have a blogger or established google/gmail account.