Great Expectations of Green Beauty

disgruntled organic obsessions

In a previous post regarding a discerning green beauty consumer’s expectations I touched upon the importance of brands to disclose their full ingredients lists online. This is definitely one of my pet peeves when we live in a day and age where information is easily accessible. Personally, if I have to write an email then you’ve already managed to make me lose interest. But I recently experienced something that is even worse than this. Having a question deleted. Yes, you read that right.  I had left a query on a brand’s Instagram post, asking for more information about the claims they were making for a certain product. An innocent enough question if you ask me. I am no professional skincare formulator myself and apart from doing my own research (and even then not always coming away any wiser), the next best thing I know is being able to ask the brands themselves. Because if they can’t answer my questions, who can? This is also one of the main draws of green indie beauty…the fact that many of us CAN ask questions directly to the formulators because they’re not sitting in some swanky office corner on the 66th floor of a New York skyscraper, not really knowing what goes into a product. And I would hope that even if these niche brands end up in such an office that they would still take the time to reply since they got there thanks to a good beside manner, amongst other things. The fact that we can ask questions, along with the true skincare professionals who encourage us to, is really one of the main things I love about green indie beauty, and I think many would agree. If we didn’t care about what goes into our products, if we didn’t care about the people behind the formulations then we’d just go buy a random pot of cream from L’Oreal or any other mass-producing company.

Which brings me to the actual formulator as well. Maybe it’s a marketing ploy to simply stand behind the brand name and never reveal yourself but I personally want to know who is actually making my products. Behind the name is a person. Does that person have the experience and knowledge to create skincare products? Does the person know the anatomy of the skin? I’m not saying that every brand needs to have the founder be the formulator but what I am asking for is transparency. A brand does not create products. A person does, or a team of people. And I would like to know about these people. I find it strange when brands don’t think this is important. It may not be of paramount importance to everyone but I would say that most of us in the green beauty community read ingredients and claims avidly and many of us do not buy into marketing hype. With so many new brands and products popping up everyday we are becoming ever more discerning and picky. And new brands need to take note and play the game well. I can list numerous established brands who do this well because they are proud of their skills and their creations: Leahlani Skincare, Blissoma, Josh Rosebrook, Osmia Organics, Bodhi & Birch, Yoshimomo are just a few.

What does deleting a comment like this on social media really convey though? Well, for starters it sets off major red flags. Why are they deleting a comment? Do they not know whether the claims they state are actually true? Worrying, in that case. Are they falsely advertising? Also very worrying. In fact, the whole thing just leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I can understand people deleting rude comments but doing so when a consumer simply wants to understand a product more, is remarkably strange behaviour. But the strangeness doesn’t stop there.  I have since been blocked after commenting on the same photo saying that it was strange of them to delete my question. Again, nothing rude, just simply stating a fact. This has in effect completely put me off the brand and as a result this article is being written to highlight that this kind of behaviour is really not acceptable. The green beauty industry is growing but it’s still small…we all know the popular niche brands and I can understand that wanting a piece of the pie must be extremely attractive. But we are also not so gullible as to believe every single thing that is marketed well. We do our homework. We ask other professional skincare formulators instead and when we get the answer that a certain claim seems false (because the brand in question isn’t answering my query) then your mistrust grows even stronger.

Sarita Coren of Edible Facial recently wrote an article regarding the pertinent questions we need to ask ourselves before buying into a brand. A group of well-respected skincare formulators gave their input and it’s been on my mind even more of late due to this latest incident. Honesty, authenticity and integrity are timeless qualities that we all strive for, no matter the industry we are in, no matter the company we hold, no matter which side of the fence we are talking from. Yes, we have some great expectations as discerning green beauty consumers but we also know that the great brands can live up to them. And that is what will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Have you had similar experiences? What are your thoughts on this?

Nic xx

32 comments

  1. Sarita Coren says:

    Well done, Nic!! You penned a crucial issue in this rapidly growing green beauty industry. To delete your comment and block you in order to prevent further questions is suspect indeed. They may look like a clean company but until they come clean, I wouldn’t want to support them or let anyone else be duped by their pretty packaging. Thanks for sharing my post on the questions. We are lucky to have access to founders who are not afraid to discuss their formulations and are in fact knowledgeable about them. Kudos to you for raising this issue! Xo

    • caprinic says:

      Thank you Sarita! Funny how some incidents can spur you to write more passionately about a subject that is already dear to my heart. With so many options around it really comes down to sticking with the honest and authentic companies. Thanks for your lovely comment and support always! Love you xx

  2. graydon says:

    Whoa. That’s crazy. So disappointing to here of an experience like this. What a great job you’ve done to so politely spread the word of what happened, in such an honest gentle way – without even calling the brand out. This is how our small but might green beauty #community will truly grow and proper.

    • caprinic says:

      Thank you so much for the feedback. I did of course contemplate calling the brand out in name but I’m loath to do that seeing as I never post about products that I don’t even like! But this experience called for sharing and this is how I was able to do it. I have been honest when people have messaged me privately who they are. Thank you for your comment! Xx

  3. maisonpur says:

    That’s very disappointing. There’s been a few things similar to this that I’ve been struggling with internally lately too and have considered writing a post about. In my book, this brand is a no go if they won’t answer questions and share information. I’m also dying to know who it is ?

    • caprinic says:

      Well I encourage you to write a post about it then! I’m not affiliated with anyone, I work hard for my money and therefore feel it should go towards the companies that are honest and authentic. I hope you write it Molly, you know you have one staunch supporter! Xx

    • sarahjanroberts says:

      I would love to read a post from you like that (And I love your blog in general <3). It's such a tricky thing to talk about less-than-stellar experiences/products/brands without getting dragged into negativity and meanness, but Nic did such a graceful job with the topic, and I'm sure you will too!

      • caprinic says:

        Thank you so much for the warm words Sarah! And yes, I agree with you, Molly should definitely write about her experiences. This is how we learn and grow from each other and I have no doubt Molly will do it with grace.

  4. Melissa says:

    I actually had a sort of similar experience yesterday at the Indie Beauty Expo. This woman was having me test out her body butter and said she used it for tanning and that it had SPF, but no titanium dioxide. She said it was a great for protecting the skin and that she has had no problem with it. I had heard that coconut oil ( which was in the product) has a little spf, but I’m not sure how I feel about using it as a sunscreen. She also stated that they had not tested her product, but she was telling me that it was safe to wear under the sun anyways. So our conversation went a little something like this:

    Me: “Don’t you still get tan using sunscreen? ”
    Woman: ” I’ve done a lot of research on this. Sun screen skin is so bad for your skin and has nasty chemicals I would never use it. The butter is great and I’ve had no issues with it.”
    Me: “Well isn’t titanium dioxide the best way to protect your skin as long as its non-nano and in a cream form.”
    Woman: ” I don’t know.”
    Me: “What if the sun screen is formulated with natural ingredients and has titanium dioxide?.”
    Woman: ” I don’t know.”

    She was kind of irritated with my questions, and basically started stonewalling me. I wasn’t challenging her. I was asking because I wanted to know if she knew more than me and if I could learn something from her. The other thing about this conversation that really bothered me is that she was telling people not to protect themselves from SKIN CANCER. She was saying sunscreen is bad and my product is good enough, but we’ve never tested it. That really really did not sit well with me. So much that I had to rant on your blog.

    I can’t agree with you more. If you are making products you should be comfortable in answering questions from consumers. If you are unsure about the answer just say that and get back to them when you do know!

    Anyways, great read Nic! I’m so glad you shared this!

    • caprinic says:

      Oy Melissa, what an experience! At the iBE no less! I’m sorry that it happened but it’s also a very clear sign to pass on that particular brand until you get answers that you are happy with. Not testing a sunscreen product??? What! Totally irresponsible if you ask me. Didn’t she read what happened with Honest’s sunscreen and then they probably did test…or let’s at least hope so. Either way, this shows that it’s always good to ask questions! And we should be encouraged to do so more often.

      Thanks for the support in this topic, it’s an important one! xx

  5. Julie says:

    OMG Nic, it’s a non sense. Why ? Blocking you! This is crazy. My tongue burns to ask you which company, but don’t answer me, i don’t want to give attention at this kind of company. you are so respectful when you ask question, this is unbelievable. Thank you for this post! we need to share more this message. Hope you are well! xox

    • caprinic says:

      Thanks for the love and support Julie. I hope we see more people coming out and sharing their experiences because honestly, I want to know that my money is going somewhere worthy and deserving. xx

  6. And The Color Green says:

    I saw your instagram post about this and I am really glad you decided to write this up. In your blogger industry it is not very popular to say the hard stuff. This issue has been on my mind lately as a young mama buying bath/body products for kiddos. It is amazing how many not ok things are snuck in with the words natural/organic and etc. And you make an amazing point that all professed “green” beauty/body producers should note: We read the heck out of labels! We question ingredients! We are not fooled by pretty packaging!

    • caprinic says:

      Thank you for the support! Yes, it’s not always easy writing about sensitive topics like these because I’m aware of the bad publicity it creates but at the same time I think we need to educate one another. And at the rate the industry is growing it won’t be the last time something like this happens but at the very least it shouldn’t go unnoticed. I usually only write about things I love on my blog but when this happened I knew a post would be written! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment 🙂

  7. Anouk says:

    That is SO wrong ! Deleting a comment and blocking someone who is not being rude is very wrong. Sorry to hear you had that bad experience, but at least now you know where to position them as brand. There is also the not so “pretty” side of the green beauty industry for sure.

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Anouk! Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I agree, totally wrong and sketchy to behave in this way but like you say, it now gives me a clear sign about them as a company. And I think there’s a lot of shady things that go on behind the scenes of this “clean” industry that we have no idea about.

  8. Petra says:

    That’s the easiest way to get expulsed from my wish list. A company that doesn’t want to disclose the ingredients certainly has something to hide. Woups, I’m gone – because there are so many other lovely brands out there that have nothing to hide. Just thank her to support your efforts in minimalizing your stash and saving you some money to spend it on some really nice products of some really nice and honest companies 😉

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Petra, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂 Yes, brands that don’t disclose full ingredients lose my interest super quickly but in this particular case the ingredients were there, I just obviously asked the wrong question! Either way, a deletion is strange behaviour when all I wanted to know was how their product could claim something that I don’t have enough knowledge about myself.

      • Petra says:

        It’s just the same thing. If they can’t answer a question – or they don’t want to so – just makes me conclude that either they don’t do what they’re pretending or they don’t know what they’re doing – just like Melissa described it with the SPF-Lady.

        To me, when you’re producing cosmetics, each ingredient should be added to the product for a special reason and the creator should be qualified to understand and explain what he or she is doing. And honestly, somebody who has created a product and put efforts and lifeblood in it, generally is happy and proud to explain it to you. And in case it’s a pr-agent is maintainig the social media accounts it’s not a problem when they can’t answer the question immediately, just do your research and get back to me later. But ignoring a question or even worse deleting it and finally blocking sb is not only weird, that’s unprofessional and inappropriate and makes me doubt if the creator is qualified to formulate cosmetic products.

        What if the person would produce food? Or medicin? Wouldn’t you doubt their qualification and correctness if they behaved like that?

        • caprinic says:

          I really couldn’t agree with you more, Petra. If you know your product, are proud of it then most people would be willing to shout it from the rooftops. Unfortunately, I don’t think many stop to think about real qualifications or years of amassed knowledge/expertise when it comes to skincare…just dangle a shiny-sounding product, have the “right” bloggers market it and no one stops to think twice. Which is why it’s crucial to adopt a questioning mind. And ask those formulators who you know and trust to help decipher certain formulations.

  9. Wonderlusting Lynda says:

    I am very wary of brands who can’t or won’t answer simple questions. I think sometimes some green beauty brands’ strength…the personal touch….can also be a weakness as they take any question very personally and get defensive. Either way it’s really not good enough.

    • caprinic says:

      You make a very valid point and we’re all only human. But deleting a comment and then blocking someone is never a good way to handle things. In that case I would have welcomed a snarky reply! But definitely wary of brands who can’t/won’t answer simple questions. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

  10. Tianna says:

    great post! I have only had this done to me one time and I was just as shocked as you. What’s the purpose except to conceal some truth about their intentions as a brand? I definitely think a certain level of transparency about ingredients, formulation, etc. is so important to me and my favorite brands are always the ones who’s faces I know from instagram and other social media. That’s why I love Mahalo, Leahlani, and May Lindstrom products so much. Thanks for shedding light on this issue.

    • caprinic says:

      Thank you Tianna! I think my love for Leahlani is obvious but it’s precisely because I trust her years of knowledge and expertise and that she will always answer your questions. The way it should be done. I’ve had the same experience with May when I wrote about the Problem Solver and Honey Mud 2 years back. This latest experience I had with this smaller brand is really quite mind-boggling.

  11. Denise says:

    I really love this article and the fact that Sarita put a link to it. I kinda took it personal when I had a question from a brand deleted. I thought perhaps they were only answering questions from well known bloggers and brand ambassadors. That I somehow had the audacity to interrupt an in depth and private conversation that just so happened to be publicly posted. It definitly put me off this brand but not because I felt they were hiding something but more because I wasn’t worthy enough to even have my question remain posted. My question was just that a simple question. Not rude, not aggressive, not shaming, but just a straight forward question. But I also feel that some “popular” bloggers do the same. When you ask a question or make a comment (as I said before not rude, agressive, shaming, etc) they lash out in the same manor. Deleted. Blocked. I understand no one is perfect. Sometimes we make mistakes. I completely respected Branch Basics with their public apology when they found and owned to their mistakes. But to the other “green” companies and “green product” bloggers who bully, shame, delete and block I have no tolerance for. But to you, Sarita and those alike I THANK YOU! For your openness, availability and willingness to continue the conversations.

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you so much for your kind words. The support means a lot and I’m sad that you had a similar experience too. What upsets me even more though is that you felt it was due to not being a VIP blogger! That is completely besides the point. Having a following on a platform like IG as a brand should mean taking the time to respond to questions. Especially if you’re a small up and coming indie brand. As for bloggers who do that, bad attitude. And there’s really no reason for it. I’ve had people disagree with me on certain things when I post on IG but I always try to remain respectful while still sticking to my beliefs. Thank you for adding to the conversation lovely! Xx

  12. Jana says:

    Nic, another wonderful post from you! You know how I fell about all this, it’s wrong and annoying and just ugh! It’s worrying actually and I’m so happy you wrote about this and that you are raising awareness. Much love to you sweetheart <3 xx

    • caprinic says:

      Aw thank you so much beautiful Jana!?it’s quite worrying and makes you think about the people running the business and the social media platform! Xx

  13. Carol A Spagnola says:

    Calia shampoo blocked me on Twitter because I simply said that their product did not work for me despite being made from good ingredients. It was recommended by a YT vlogger who has beautiful hair. I added that her genes must be the reason for her amazing hair, not the shampoo. So, they blocked me. Also, I had commented and questioned them a LONG time before on Facebook. Two people responded at different times with very inadequate responses. Their definitions of moisturizing and hydrating seem to be the opposite of the rest of the world. I had made a BIG purchase of their shampoo and conditioner and I never asked for a refund. I just wanted to voice my opinion. Nor did they offer one…. They made a lot of sales from the YT person too.

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Carol! Thank you for reading and chiming in. I really don’t understand this whole blocking business when people are just being honest. If it’s rude, unsavory, mean etc that’s a different story but deleting comments and blocking accounts because you ask a question or state factually that you don’t agree with something is just plain wrong. And rude! I mean, what if someone came up to us and asked that question to our face? Would we just completely blank them? I don’t think so. Sitting behind a screen can give people too many liberties that they wouldn’t necessarily be brave enough to take in real life. It’s cowardly. I’m sorry you had this experience too. Common courtesy seems hard to come by these days?

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