Importance of Listing Ingredients From A Discerning Green Beauty Consumer’s Point Of View

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Apologies in advance for my rant (let’s be honest from the start, this will be a rant! See what I did there, I was being transparent!) but I’ve recently had a very interesting and engaging discussion back and forth over the course of a few days with the ever lovely Galina from A Curious Russian In London about the importance for brands to list full ingredients on their websites. (Spoiler alert – we can’t stand it).

This topic is something that has been weighing on my mind a lot and it is most definitely a pet peeve of mine.  I will not be mentioning any names or pointing any fingers because that’s not what this is about, rather it’s about conveying my thoughts and opinions on the matter of full disclosure and how this really affects how I perceive a brand AND, most importantly for them, whether I end up becoming a customer. We all have a financial bottom line to cover and I know that it matters where I drop my cash. This is me being brutally honest, but if I go to a website only to find products without their full ingredients listed I am instantly turned off. And I leave. I’m not interested in investigating further because I honestly believe that the brands who are proud of what they are doing and creating are making sure that it’s conveyed loud and clear on their websites. As a consumer I shouldn’t have to email to ask for more information. There are many who are doing it right but equally many who aren’t. And that could be a great shame for those who are actually doing things with integrity and honesty in their production but not quite succeeding in communicating it. Then there are brands that deliberately choose not to disclose anything on their websites…in my opinion? Probably the most foolish thing to do AND it raises major flags with me. The green beauty industry is most certainly going through some major shifts right now which means awareness is growing and everyone wants a piece of the pie. (If you haven’t read Tamara of Rainbow Feet recent eloquent post about it you should. Let me make it easy for you and offer this clickable link.) A part of me feels that some brands naively (and some not so naively) think that throwing a little “natural” here and a bit of “organic” there will suffice and yes, I’m sure there are those who may not be as discerning (and not into reading ingredients lists) BUT there are just as many of us out there who do a tremendous amount of research in our free time, and this is where I feel not disclosing full information about ingredients is a bit of an insult. And did I mention it was frustrating? Not sure if that is coming out from this post. Yes people, I’m taking it personally. I like to know where and to what my money is going. I understand the value of good marketing and for those brands who are doing it right, marketing can make a huge difference. However, a pretty bottle, fabulous packaging and design and flowery descriptions of  how organic and natural a product is without mentioning ingredients will not make me buy it until I’ve seen a list. And by list, I mean the complete list, not just the active ingredients (some which can actually be found further down and then you wonder how active it really is!). Why do I want to see a full list? So I can make a call on whether the product is suitable for me, for my skin, for my lifestyle. There may be certain preservatives I avoid, certain essential oils that I react to along with many other reasons and I would like to be able to make that judgement call from your website. Have I ever bought a product without scanning the ingredients list? Of course I have, I’m only human and especially BNWG (Before Nic Went Green) I couldn’t tell you what Helianthus Annuus is but the more knowledge I arm myself with, the more discerning I become. This post is not only for me but for those who spend their time deciphering ingredients lists because we care about what we put on our bodies for various individual reasons. It’s also a post for brands, giving some friendly advice about what we consumers expect to see on websites.

So this is a request from a discerning green beauty consumer, please list full ingredients for products on your website. Please don’t expect me to email you about it. If that’s what it takes, I don’t bother. If you’re proud to be natural and organic and you’ve invested in making products that are kind to our skin and to the environment, you’d want to let the whole world know. Once again, not doing this raises red flags. And in a day and age where we can just click our way to the next option, brands want to be doing this correct from the start. Or am I wrong? Please join me in the comments as I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way.

From a disgruntled Nic

24 comments

  1. lizthegreenspirit says:

    Meow Nic! 😉 Your rant is totally justified and I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve so brilliantly said! I sometimes do is send a quick email, and I’ve encountered two types of scenarios: – one where people don’t bother replying
    – one where people are genuinely sorry, say it’s an oversight and correct that mistake shorty after (usually it comes from very new brands that just opened their online shop).
    Obviously, scenario number one tells a lot (gimmicky, much) about the company. Another rather strange phenomenon I sometimes come accross, is the discrepancy between a product description and the actual ingredient list. Sometimes the oils/plants listed in the description are not even to be found in the ingredient list. Xx

    • caprinic says:

      Haha! When something riles me up, something riles me up! Yes, I’ve also experienced the same things when I contact (something I don’t bother doing as much anymore since I feel this keeps happening more and more…or maybe it’s just me!) The ones that don’t answer are most definitely ones to look out for…and like Andy mentioned on Twitter, there should be a law where brands have to state full ingredients on websites to avoid this frustration. Thanks for chiming in love! xx

  2. Galina A-P says:

    dear Nic, I thoroughly enjoyed our back and forth exchanges on the subject this weekend and share your sentiments on the subject. I do prefer truly natural and organic brands but do use main-stream brands as well, so my point is that if the brand chooses to enter the beauty market place they should engage with honesty with their consumer. If they choose to use let’s say paragons, fair enough, it is a choice, but don’t hide it and don’t call yourself ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ because you think it is a fad or trend that is gaining momentum. And you are right, ingredients should be available online, not just on product boxes and we shouldn’t ask for them to be published, they simply should be there for consumer to see and make an educated choice. We are all different but honesty is the best policy.
    Galina

    • caprinic says:

      Dearest Galina, thank you for engaging in this discussion and I couldn’t agree more with your comment. I do understand a brand’s choice to include not-so-natural ingredients and the ones who are honest also make sure to state the reason why. Again, entering with honesty is so important. Let’s hope there will be a change in regards to full disclosure on websites, especially in a day and age where many do their shopping online. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! Xx

  3. maisonpur says:

    My feelings are the same. The ingredients are the first thing I look at when I’m looking into a products or brand and I cannot stand when they don’t list them online and/or make them easy to find. Great post Nic!

    • caprinic says:

      I think many of us share this same frustration. I also find it puzzling as to why one wouldn’t want to list ingredients online when they anyway have to do it on the packaging. Thanks for joining the discussion Molly! Xx

  4. Organic Spirit (@OrganicSpiritAU) says:

    haha loved that first and last line! I wholeheartedly agree! I have been having this issue with brands for so long. It annoys the hell out of me. The whole concept of green beauty is transparency and the honour in that. I’m still waiting for a brand to get back to me because there is no information what’s so ever as to what they put in their teas. Apparently it’s natural. It’s made me distrustful and yes if your hiding your ingredients your brand looks shady. Green beauty is also about honesty. I’m so glad you touched on this subject babe!

    • caprinic says:

      And I’m glad that you chimed in with your thoughts Rowie! I think the more we put pressure on this topic, hopefully the more we can help change the current situation. Clearly many of us feel this way and transparency and honesty should be honored. Hope the company gets back to you about their teas! You’re taking valuable time out of your day to email, they should reciprocate. Xx

  5. julie (@dreamlivemaui) says:

    hahaha key ingredients right! NOP. I’m totally with you! Thant why i process nothing on my website too. I promise to put all the ingredient list and i avoid a lot of chemicals ingredient. But customer like me and all other should read themselves the list. and choose themselves to buy or not. Totally not understand the sense to not being transparent. My mistake on time is to write on my blog a post about one brand who not write ingredient on her website in the same post of the product! I didn’t want to harm. But i think i have it. You do it perfectly Nic. xx

    • caprinic says:

      I agree with you Julie, at the end of the day we must all read the ingredients lists and decide for ourselves…but for that to be possible, these lists need to be fully disclosed! More than avoiding certain ingredients out of personal preference I think one of the main reasons many of us now look to see what a product contains is to check for any allergic substances, anything that can give us negative reactions because we may be sensitive to them. Not clearly displaying this can be dangerous as well. And since a brand essentially creates products for retail and to be bought by us consumers, our voices should be heard and respected. Thanks for adding to the discussion Julie, this is always an interesting topic until it becomes mandatory for everyone to fully disclose their ingredients on websites. Xx

  6. Sam says:

    Hi Nic,
    I actually have a different view. Especially concerning small and fledging brands.
    If the ingredients are listed on the website as on the packaging, then it is very easy to copy the formulas far and wide.
    If they are only listed on the packaging, and only in a few shops, then a copy cat has to make the actual trip to said store and photograph each box.
    I am all for transparency but small businesses need to protect themselves too.

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Sam, thank you for joining in the discussion and I respect your different point of view. That said, I obviously disagree since I believe there is so much more behind a formula than seeing it fully listed on a website. The one and same ingredient can vary in quality meaning the end result will not be the same. And should someone really want to copy then they will make sure to get hold of ingredients lists by buying the actual product. There needs to be transparency in this area with more awareness growing and the green beauty industry itself expanding. It’s simply not enough to bandy around words like organic, natural, wild harvested if consumers can’t see the ingredients that back up this claim. Unfortunately it raises red flags.

  7. Charlie says:

    Transparency and honesty are so important now for a variety of reasons; allergies, intolerances, personal preference and it doesn’t take much to add a full ingredients list to your product pages. Like you I click straight off when I don’t see ingredients lists. To me you are saying you have something to hide. I don’t have time to email you or tweet you. I want to know now. With a saturated market place, you can’t afford for a potential new customer to be lost simply because you failed to list your ingredients. Great post Nic xx Hope you’re well lovely xx

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Charlie! Thanks for tuning in on this important topic and we share the same thoughts and reasoning behind why we want to see full disclosure on ingredients. I really couldn’t agree more. Which is why we also know you only stock brands that act with transparency and honesty 🙂 xx

  8. Malin/BilboBlueEyes says:

    I agree. I don’t but anything without seeing a full ingridientlist. There are many reasons for why the companies should post their full inci on their website like you meantioned. I just want to add that with many allergies to a lot of ingridients I never take a chanse on a product without a full inci. I get very irritated on companies that think that we, the customers are stupid and don’t care what we buy.

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Malin, thank you so much for your thoughts on this important topic. I couldn’t agree with you more about the importance of full disclosure ESPECIALLY for those with allergies. And yes, one does take it personally when companies aren’t transparent…at the end of the day it’s our money going towards their creations and so many of us are becoming more aware that brands can’t really afford to ignore this.

  9. Ashley Davenport says:

    Yes, yes, and yes! I have a friend who sells a newer cosmetic and invited me to a party where I could sample products. She said that everything was non-toxic and void of harmful chemicals so I I told her I would be there. When I looked at the company online, they only listed a few organic ingredients for each product, but I knew that it wasn’t the full ingredient list. It turned me off so much that I almost cancelled, but asked for her to have a printed ingredient list at the party instead. Sure enough, more than half of the products had some of the worst ingredients listed. I left with eyeliner. That was the only thing out of her entire “non-toxic” product line that was safe. I will never buy from them again.

    • caprinic says:

      Hi Ashley, thank you for joining in the discussion. I’m sorry to hear that your friend wasn’t up front with you about the ingredients in the cosmetics line she was selling…again, we should all be allowed to make the choice of what we want to put on our skin so for goodness sake just be honest, right? I would have more respect for a brand if they said, hey we use some organic ingredients but also use these other ingredients which are not so clean for x,y,z reasons.

  10. Tamara Brittain (@TamaraBrittain) says:

    Ok I think you have got it covered, but with regards to products being copied, sw basics has the shortest ingredients lists I’ve come across, with them all being posted online. They did just fine in my eyes. Honestly, just say what’s in your products, people who don’t care about ingredients would buy anyway, but you might actually attract those who do. Cause I’m definitely not spending time emailing brands that don’t have all the info on their website.

    • caprinic says:

      Thank you Margot. And needless to say I completely agree. Disclosing full ingredients lists means we have the freedom to choose what is best for us, by us. More transparency is certainly needed in this area. Xx

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