dis-Honest “natural” claims

This is a proposed Class Action Complaint against The Honest Company (“Honest”) for falsely, misleadingly, and deceptively labeling its products as “natural,” “all natural,” “naturally derived,” and/or “plant-based,” and for falsely, misleadingly, and deceptively labeling these products as containing “no harsh chemicals, ever!” when these products in fact contain a spectacular array of synthetic and toxic ingredients (collectively, the “Falsely Labeled Products”).

Yes! The Honest Company (of Jessica Alba fame) was presented with at least one Class Action Law Suit for selling products they said were natural, but which actually contained synthetic ingredients!

Instead of allowing the suit to proceed, both sides have agreed to settle the original dispute to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. What does that mean?

Consumers are able to submit claims and potentially receive a check or a Settlement Credit. Learn more here: http://www.thcmarketingsettlement.com/home


Does this mean other companies which market their products as natural, can be sued?  It sure does!

So all those companies which claim that no one regulates the term natural, or they use this term loosely when they sell you their soap, cosmetics, household cleaners, or other products – just might want to educate themselves about what natural means – and more importanly – does NOT mean!

Read the Labels

Much of what we read on the front panel of our cosmetics is marketing. When making a decision about what products to buy, it’s not unlike reading food labels – is this product sweetened with organic cane sugar or conventional, even GMO, corn syrup?  The actual calorie count may be the same for both but which one do you want to feed your family? Use the same logic when choosing cosmetics.  Read the Labels. The reality is you can’t sell a shelf stable product that contains water (and that includes the naturally occurring water in ingredients like aloe vera juice or hydrosols) unless the product contains ingredients which work as antimicrobial preservatives. You can’t sell a shelf stable lotion without ingredients which serve as emulsifiers.

Buzz words to watch out for are “nontoxic” or “chemical free” – because every ingredient in the wrong dose can be toxic and every ingredient is 100% chemicals.

So…lets review the ingredients in the NYR Organic Invigorating Seaweed Conditioner Hair Conditioner that I sell.

Independent NYR Consultant 250x250

Aqua (Water), Cetearyl alcohol, Persea gratissima (Avocado) oil*, Cetrimonium chloride, Lanolin, Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) extract*, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf extract*, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil*, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) oil*, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) peel oil*, Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) leaf oil*, Potassium sorbate, Citric acid, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

*Organically produced ingredient.

Citric acid, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool are natural constituents of essential oils listed, they are listed in the ingredient panel in italics, as required by the EU Cosmetics directive. They are not chemicals added to the product. They are disclosed as occuring naturally in the essential oils. Companies which label according to FDA cosmetics regulations, are not required to disclose these chemicals.

This product is Certified Organic by the Soil Association, and the product is made with 91% organic ingredients.

So what is “Cetrimonium chloride”. We answer that question on our Ingredients Glossary page.

“Cetrimonium chloride, made from plant-derived fatty acids, is used in our conditioners. It is a cationic (positively charged) surfactant that carries nourishing ingredients into the negatively charged broken hair shafts. In order to be effective a conditioner needs to remain on the hair shaft. What helps it stay put is magnetic attraction that works in the same way the positive side of one magnet sticks to the negative side of another. The positively charged ion in conditioners like cetrimonim chloride ‘stick’ to the hair shaft, which is naturally negatively charged, to keep nourishing ingredients on the hair and help repair the hair proteins. Cetrimonium chloride also has preservative properties.”

What about “Lanolin”? From the same Ingredients Glossary page:

“Lanolin is extracted from wool after a sheep has been shorn. This wax-like substance yields a nourishing oil that is high in sterols and is a very good emulsifier, moisturizer and humectant. We use it to thicken our hair conditioners and some creams to help skin and hair retain moisture. Although it is an animal by-product, obtaining it does not harm the animal. Health concerns about Lanolin are based on the presence of contaminants such as pesticides, which the sheep may have been exposed to. Our high quality lanolin meets the high standards of USP grade.”

NOTE 3 “We use standards developed by leading animal protection campaign groups and our continued commitment to animal welfare has been recognized by campaigners from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), who awarded us a ‘golden rabbit.’ The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) also commended our stance on the issue. We support the animal welfare charity FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) dedicated to the scientific development, acceptance and use of methods that can be used instead of animal experiments.”

If you have questions about this or any other product sold by Independent Consultants for NYR Organic, email me! I am happy to get an answer from you.

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Cosmetic Labeling

Well…I went to my first Farmers Market of the summer on Sunday. I tried not to be confrontational…just “helpful”.

When I was told a certain product contained “no toxins” I politely asked “what toxins are those“? She actually meant allergins not toxins.

Then I asked if the raw materials were certified organic – and was told “No, organic certification is too expensive – but these ingredients are actually BETTER than organic.” BIG SIGH… really? I was so hot I could not even argue, but I did tell them they should recommend to their supplier that they check out BayState Organic – they have great prices, and also check into the rebate program because up to 75% of the costs of organic certification can be refunded!

So that said, I want to highly recommend this book by my online friend and author, Kayla Fioravanti, which not only covers how to make cosmetics but how to properly label them for sale!

The rules don’t change just because you are small… consumers deserve to know what is in the products they buy, and they have a right to know how to contact you if they have an adverse reaction to their product – so the laws for labeling cosmetics must be followed even if you are selling from a farm stand, a boutique, at a market or online!

Making Cosmetics

There is so much to know when you make cosmetics like soap, lotions, salves, balms, scrubs…from proper chemistry and safe preservation to the FDA regulations for labeling the finished products. It does not matter if you sell one or two products to friends, at the local Farmers Market or on EBAY, everyone has to follow proper cosmetic formulation rules in order to produce a safe and healthy product and the FDA regulations apply to everyone!

Here is my MUST READ list. I am fortunate that my past career working for the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild and later running the Natural Ingredient Resource Center, and selling advertising space for The Herb Quarterly magazine, introduced me to these authors personally. I highly recommend any and all of them!