The State of the Organic Industry

About a year ago, we wrote a blog defending our decision to use organic products. We here at Sally B’s have all been in the situation where someone has questioned our dedication to avoid using toxic chemicals, but we are happy to report that those situations are becoming less common. Instead, we are seeing a consumer shift; consumers are becoming more conscious of the products they are buying and companies are becoming more responsible with ingredient selection. The non-toxic conversation has hit the mainstream, and it would not surprise us if the same friends that once questioned your organic integrity were now using organic products themselves.

While the government has made no move towards modernizing the FDA’s Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (which was last amended in 1976), third-party organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) can be congratulated for pressuring industry leaders to move away from toxic chemicals. Take, for instance, personal care giant Johnson & Johnson. They recently made strides to eliminate formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in baby products and to reduce traces of 1,4 dioxane from both their baby and adult products. There is still a lot of cleanup ahead for Johnson & Johnson, but according to EWG Executive Director Heather White, these changes are a direct result of customers demanding a cleaner product. Next on the EWG’s list: pressuring Revlon to remove cancer-causing ingredients like parabens and formaldehydes from their product formulations.

Consumer influence can be seen in other areas as well. “Greenwashing” – deceptive marketing messages aimed to mislead consumers – is becoming more prevalent in personal care aisles. Companies are spending millions of dollars to appear organic. While not necessarily a “win,” it is a true testament to consumer influence and proof that the non-toxic personal care industry is on the rise. Imitation is the best form of flattery, after all.

Retail giant Wal-mart is making a monumental move to combat chemicals and greenwashing. Last fall they announced a plan to eliminate 10 toxic ingredients from store shelves by refusing to purchase cleaning products, cosmetics, and personal care products made with those ingredients. They have even called for more transparent ingredient lists from manufacturers. Many of us self-police our products, but Wal-mart is helping to remove some of that burden from the consumer.

Over the past year, we have discovered a countless number of blogs dedicated to organic skin care, watched several milestone media stories about the potential dangers lurking in personal care products, and had a front row seat to our expanding customer base. We are thrilled that you have made the decision to take a stand for your personal health and use non-toxic, organic products.

We are far from seeing a complete removal of toxic chemicals from personal care items or new legislation passed, but we are optimistic that the changes we have seen will continue. Until we see stores and companies across the country phase out conventionally sourced, potentially hazardous products, we still have work to do. We must continue to educate ourselves (and others!) and support those who are fighting the fight and advocating for change. Here’s how you can help:

  • Sign up for email blasts from the Environmental Working Group, Leaping Bunny (we believe the use of animal based ingredients is just as bad as chemicals), and the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. Stay informed and share the information!
  • Download the EWG’s Skin Deep App, a fantastic shopping app, which returns a product’s toxicity with a simple smart phone scan of its barcode.
  • We also love the Think Dirty app, another shopping guide that helps you to shop clean. 
  • Continue to “vote with your checkbook.” Refuse to purchase products made with chemical ingredients and spend your money with responsible companies who are dedicated to your health and wellbeing.

We hope that next year we’ll be back with even better news about the state of our industry!

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