How to Avoid Greenwashing

How to avoid greenwashing

I’ll be honest, I don’t have the best filter. I’m sure there’s been many times when my husband has been sitting next to me at parties cringing at my ‘say it how it is’ outbursts. I absolutely don’t mean to offend, I just don’t like beating around the bush and on that same train of thought I don’t like speaking behind someone’s back. Having said all that I’m probably not a great person to invite to a ‘selling’ party. Even those companies like Arbonne and Jamberry, I don’t believe they are as non-toxic as they claim and I say it.

Recently I was invited to an online Jamberry party and the first thing I did was ask ‘do these contain phthalates’ lots of back and forth ensued and I was never convinced these nail wraps are non-toxic. Jamberry nail wraps are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), also known as vinyl. Vinyl in its ‘natural’ form is hard, so plasticisers are added to make it soft and flexible. Without even researching that alarm bells started ringing when I heard vinyl. Add in plasticisers and the last thing I think is non-toxic.

It’s happened many times with many different products and companies, when I ask questions people tell me they’ve done independent research and their products aren’t harmful. As I’ve said before, for every research article there’s one with opposing findings so at some point you have to decide for yourself what you believe.

I’m sure some people want to believe these nail wraps are non-toxic and that’s what they’re being told so they believe it. Not me however, I’ll continue to ask questions until I’m convinced and unfortunately this time I’m not convinced. I’m still waiting to hear back from the product team but it’s been crickets so far, which also makes me think they may be hiding something.  Man-made PVC/vinyl wraps which contain plasticisers (most of which contain phthalates as I discussed in my post about synthetic fragrance) yeah that doesn’t sound very non-toxic to me. And if you’ve done your research and you’re convinced they are non-toxic then great, I’m absolutely not saying you have to take my word for it.

Companies can, and do, market themselves or their products as non-toxic when there’s compelling evidence (or even just common sense) that the products are toxic. Just the other day I saw in my Facebook feed another nail wrap product being marketed as ‘free of nasties’ when in actual fact there was an ingredient in them which I would consider very nasty.

I get so upset with this because a lot of the time people don’t do their own research, and don’t get me wrong that’s not a bad thing. Really I think why the hell should we have to research if non-toxic claims are true, it’s really frustrating that companies can get away with these claims. I could talk (type) about this all day but I’ll stop there. My point is, don’t believe everything you read, you don’t always have to be a chemical expert to see that something isn’t non-toxic, PVC/vinyl/plasticisers – they sound pretty toxic to me.

I actually think all nail polish/wrap is never going to be 100% non-toxic (there are definitely some better than others), and if you know that but decide to use it anyway then that’s totally fine. As I’ve said in a previous post I use hair dye which isn’t completely non-toxic but I do it knowingly, I feel that I only use it once every couple of months and I’m pretty non-toxic in all other areas and that’s what I’m comfortable with.

I guess what I’m trying to say is nothing is black and white and if you’re striving to lead a toxin free life you’ll need the tools to decide for yourself whether something is non-toxic, then you can decide if you still want to use it or not. The best way to avoid greenwashing is simply by being curious, ask questions and do some research.

A great tool I use is the chemical maze app on my phone, it was $11 and can be used for all ingredients (both food and skin care). It’s super simple to use, just type in an ingredient you’re not sure about and it comes back with some information as well as a green happy face (ok), yellow indifferent face (maybe not the best) or a red sad face (best to avoid).

You’re also very welcome to join my Facebook group if you haven’t already, I’m there a lot so you can always ask me or the other members for advice.

Amy x


  • Amy

    Hi Fiona, it’s called chemical maze :)

  • Fiona

    The app you mention sounds great – what’s it called

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published