5 dead certain ways to tell if a brand is green, organic and non-toxic! [Ad Absurdum #2]

The abundance of brands and products offered is quite a challenge for a consumer. Here’s how to really, really tell if a brand is organic.

There’s a fist coming at you but the ring says “hug and kiss”. Confused yet?

1. The brand’s range is sold in a nice looking (online) shop next to other organic and eco things.

2. Their producs are photographed next to delicate flowers (like orchids) or to herbs and healing plants.

3. Their packaging is either green, recycled-looking, beige, brown, and/or has green leaves and bunnies and daisies printed on it. Extra points if the caps and lids look like wood or are wooden! Yay!

4. Their slogan, product name, or product slogan simply says so. Their brand name and/or product names contains words like organic, clean, non-toxic, pure, herbal, plant-based, gentle, natural and other nice sounding words and combinations like “inspired by nature” or “nature-based”… words, unprotected by laws and regulations.

5. The products look and smell just heavenly (or more so like nature itself, *cough*). And everybody knows… What you see is what you get!

Ha-ha! Gotcha!


Now tell me, when did you actually notice I’m messing with you?

Stay alert, Adventurer. Fakes and frauds lurk e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.


Read the fine printed ingredients list, double-check it with the database of your choice (sometimes an additional research is due) and discard anything in the front of the package. Not an infallible but a good rule is: the less ingredients, the better. Good example: the cleansing face mask and the face steam bath by Dr. Hauschka with only 5 resp. 4 ingredients.

If a product is positioned as upscale and/or natural anti-aging, you’ll want to see that most or even all ingredients are so-called “active ingredients”. Good examples (with non-affiliate links to the companies’ International websites for your convenience): the aforementioned seasoned green pioneer Dr. Hauschka; exlusive organic brands such as Anika Organic Luxury, May Lindstrom, Dr. Alkaitis, or Tata Harper.

Look for a brand that’s not only engaging in saving endangered striped rhinos in Southnorthwest Whatsthenamia or supporting fab sounding green projects, because that will come naturally with most brands that mean it, look for a brand that invests in proper research. A good example: the i+m Manufaktur from Berlin who have found a way to stabilise their high-quality virgin oils they only work with to make truly nature-based anti-aging products.

Not infallible either, but: Look for a small(er) brand. And I’m not talking about an Etsy seller DIY’ing stuff in their kitchen here! This might sound like a “what?” but if a brand has been purchased by a major player in the beauty industry, it’s very unlikely that it won’t change for the worse, organically speaking. It might get better and glossier ads, fancier packaging, a revamped logo and even add products to the range that you’ve been painfully missing before (they had a reason, believe me) – but the ingredients list will suffer.
If a green company has grown so much that it carries a dozen brands itself, their product lines might as well have enjoyed some optimisation, just due to production changes, due to the market research etc. So let’s maybe add: Look for an independent brand.

Ultimately, you’ll want to look for a brand that puts all their effort (aka time and money) into the product. Now, this doesn’t mean that they package their products in reused yoghurt pots and hand-write their product labels! There’s a whole industry supplying you with the most gorgeous glass bottles in blue and black (UV protection) or sweet metal jars with fancy mirrored lids etc. etc. etc.
It means that the company is unlikely to do (a lot of) ads. If they advertise, they’re very unlikely to hire a class A celebrity and to fly to the Maldives/Paris/the moon in order to shoot a 2 minutes commercial. Good examples: Weleda, Santé, Lavera (running ads and event/fashion cooperation to get the word out), Santaverde, Farfalla, Alva (I haven’t seen any of recently)…

Remember: there are toxins being found everywhere, and yes, even in products for babies. Allergenes and irritants are found in eye care products. Cancerogenic ingredients lurk in intimate care products. And even certified organic products can be somewhat on the dark side (organic certification bodies have all different criteria and you can sneak quite a bit of unhealthy stuff in – and get away with it if you know how to play the cards). Let alone allergies! People can be allergic to almost anything.

It’s good to be attentive.”

Take care, Adventurers! But don’t forget to smile (or to ask YOUR beauty question here).


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

15 Responses

  1. It really is good to be attentive. I have been caught out more than once by supposedly organic goods. I was almost caught out by the first part of your post too.

  2. vastlycurious.com

    I am glad I kept reading cause I wasn’t buying the first part! Buyer beware and yes READ the fine print! Nice post!

      1. vastlycurious.com

        I did !!! It’s so true! Advertising is built to lead the unwary …is that a word ? 😉

          1. vastlycurious.com


            My Avatar is a 2″ steel lioness. I am a Leo and my name is Katt so it seemed to make sense ! Thanks!

  3. I use a mix of products (not all green and natural sorry!). I used to buy much more ‘natural’ stuff but following a conversation in a candle shop of all places I changed my habits. I was looking for natural candles and the shop didn’t have any but the owner pointed out that saying something was made with natural wax didn’t mean anything unless the percentage of natural wax was also given. I stopped having such faith in the word ‘natural’ on products.

    So thanks for your very useful guide. 😉

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