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Green Beauty Conversations by Formula Botanica

May 14, 2018

We recently came across a New York Times article on the risks of making 100% natural claims in food and beauty. The article in question drew attention to the fact that there has been a spate of lawsuits against natural and organic skincare brands and retailers (particularly in the US).

These lawsuits came about largely as a result of there being no legal definition of the word natural.  They specifically targeted brands who made claims about being 100% natural, all natural or having ‘all-natural ingredients’.

The reason why we found this topic so thought-provoking, is because it showcases how much confusion there is around the term natural and the problems it causes in the green beauty sector. We discussed this topic in our podcast on What does natural skincare mean? and addressed the fact that the definition of natural can take on very different meanings depending on who you talk to.

This confusion and lack of clarity over the word natural is ripe for exploitation as well as misrepresentation. Now imagine expanding that term further to include 'all-natural' or 100% natural, and you see why so many consumers are confused.


In this podcast you will learn:

  1. What the recent spate of lawsuits against natural brands and retailers could mean for the green beauty industry moving forward.
  2. Some examples of recent lawsuits and what the issues were with their claims.
  3. Why some of the 100% natural claims made by natural skincare brands are problematic

Key takeaways:

  1. Recent lawsuits that targeted brands for using synthetic preservatives are fuelling fear around the safe use of preservatives.
  2. Always make sure you examine the marketing terminology you are using when you sell your products.
  3. Before you start selling or marketing, define what natural means to you.
  4. Some law firms are ‘robo-filing’ almost identical lawsuits, which may start to spill over to the green beauty sector.


We felt that it was important to openly discuss this issue within our community and talk about what steps a green beauty brand can take to protect its business. We have seen lawsuits start to spill over from the food industry into the natural beauty industry, so we feel this is an important topic that indie formulators need to discuss openly and honestly.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few misnomers and myths that circulate within the green beauty sector (Listen to: Are you looking for chemical-free cosmetics?). It is important for us as a community to work at questioning what they are, to determine if they are misleading and to assess if they open up the industry to further litigation.

We hope that you find this episode interesting and thought provoking and please do get in touch if you have any feedback.

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