Conventional Cosmetics and Greenwashing: Know what you are buying

Conventional Cosmetics and Greenwashing: Know what you are buying

Hello, mes chers readers and welcome back to my blog!


Today is another passion of mine to discuss why we should avoid conventional cosmetics and my view on them…

First of all, may I ask you: why do you buy conventional cosmetics?

I know. You could reply: why are you asking this question?

Well, I have rarely purchased anything of conventional skin care or makeup since I started to buy cosmetics with my own money. And what I mean by conventional is brands such as Bobbi Brown, Mac, Clarins, Clinique, Benefits…anything you can find in Boots or Superdrug basically (in the UK).


Get out of the “Cosmetic BrainWashing”


That is what I am calling the Cosmetics Brainwashing:

“Get this new face cream, it will take your wrinkles away instantly!” “This new eye cream will work wonders against those dark circles, we promise!”

Yeah ok, and how can it make my skin look better?

Oh, I see, it says on the package the key ingredient is Argan oil right?

Can I just check the ingredient list for a second?


Hum sorry, where is the Argan oil I can’t see on the list?

Oh wait for a second, I see it now, it’s just before the last ingredient of the list.





What’s are the ingredients before that?

Water, parabens, petrochemicals, carcinogenic ingredients…and then Argan oil. For me that says it all. Why would you purchase a product which is mainly made out of water, plastic, petrol and a tiny, tiny percentage of an active ingredient?

Let’s take an example of Clinique face cream. Believe it or not, it was very hard to find the full list of ingredients. Clinique’s website itself does not show it. I found on the following:

Water\Aqua\Eau, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Trisiloxane, Trehalose, Sucrose, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Silybum Marianum (Lady’S Thistle) Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Caffeine, Sorbitol, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylyl Glycol, Oleth-10, Sodium Polyaspartate, Saccharide Isomerate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Tromethamine, PEG-8, Hexylene Glycol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Red 4 (CI 14700), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)

I am gonna make it short and simple. Anything that sounds Chinese to me (no offence of course) and does not have a botanical name, I usually avoid (I am making assumptions here only to make things more simple but obviously this is not completely true, a future post will be coming detailing more about ingredients and how to read them).

The actual first good stuff in this cream is in the 10th place and it’s the Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract. The next 5-6 ingredients are the ones you should also be looking for. These are the ones that make an effect on your skin. A real effect. Not a fake one, like the silicone one.


Pollution for your skin and for the environment


Would I be happy to put silicone on my skin? Hmmm, not really. What about this Butylene Glycol we saw in the ingredient list above?

Butylene Glycol, as Propylene Glycol, is colourless petroleum plastic product. It’s used as a preservative in cosmetics in small quantities.

These guys, however, in large quantities, of course, can dissolve and clean industrial surfaces. Dissolve through stainless steel. HOLLY SH**. But that’s not all of it. They easily penetrate the skin and weaken protein and cellular structure. They can cause skin irritation, skin allergies, dermatitis etc.

These components can apparently be used in small doses but how much exactly? We are using many different products with similar ingredients. What are the long-term effects/toxicity on our skin or in our body?

Let’s not forget that everything we put on our skin, will finish in the drains, which will finish in our oceans…I find this even to be a stronger argument.

Shall I continue my little argumentation on why switching to more natural products or you had enough? Cause I am not finished πŸ˜€ ahah!

I basically meant here is that these ingredients (SLS, propylene glycol, parabens) are unnecessary for my skin and the environment and natural alternatives already exist. Why not just start from that?


Pollution of our minds


Talking worldwide, the market for Cosmetics is something in the region of tens of billions of pounds per year. Lots and lots and lots of money. Yup.

And personally, thinking of supporting a multinational company such as EstΓ©e Lauder, which tests on animals and makes millions of pounds clearly out of water and petrochemicals, no thank you.

This is the big problem we are currently facing, where big corporations keep growing, making so much profit and just making us look like fools.

We don’t need marketing, super nice special advert to think clearly on where we want to stand and what we want to buy.

This is why I want to support small local businesses. Where I help to make an impact on someone’s life and hard work. And the products I will buy are actually natural, made of actually good stuff and have an impact on my skin.




I could also spend more time talking about the Greenwashing. This is also a big phenomenon in the Green Industry where brands said to be “natural” are far away from being so.

May I name Coco and Eve, Kiehl’s, Origins, Bio-Oil…

This is all down to us making sure we know what is in the product. And it is as simple as checking the ingredient list.



I hope this post helped you a little more and convinced you towards a more ethical, natural, organic and conscious buying in regards to cosmetics. If you are interested in more ethically and local brands, check my last month post:

Also, if you want to make sure the product you buy is good quality and all truly natural, there is a nice app called Think Dirty that will do the work for you:


  • Adoptez la Slow Cosmetique”, de Julien Kaibeck, editions Leduc, 2017.

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