A lot of my friends are skeptical, willfully ignorant or too lazy (their words, not mine) to recognize that a ton of the products they use daily is potentially harming them. They can’t figure out why such and such face cream makes them break out in a rash, and go out to buy another – which contains the same irritating ingredient.
There are lots of reasons why people try to justify why they use conventional products instead of trying something more natural-based. The biggest are definitely skepticism, ignorance and laziness, but let’s go deeper and try to refute each specific choice with an argument as to why it’s not really valid anymore.
So, why are people hesitant to go green?
I’ve been using this for years and nothing’s wrong with me.. it’s safe
Well, true – you’re not going to automatically and absolutely get ill from your moisturizer or facial wash. But why risk it? Parabens, pthalates, and sulfates all have bad reputations and researchers have found potential ties from these ingredients to conditions as minor as skin irritations to illnesses as serious as cancer.
Basically, there’s no point in using stuff laced with potentially harmful ingredients when there are safer alternatives available. Why use a body butter with 4 different parabens when you can opt for a gentler version without them?
The law hasn’t recalled them, so why should I stop using them?
The law. That’s a funny thing – see, the FDA recently said that parabens were perfectly safe and fine and we shouldn’t worry about them. But most of us in the natural and green beauty community read otherwise. When organizations that test for ingredient safety also happen to be behind the companies that use them, it’s hard to take their word for it. Read my other article on it for more insight.
Who blindly trusts the government on everything? They’re made up of humans too, and we’re not perfect. Why believe they are?
It’s so much cheaper though!
Yes, there are lots of natural beauty products that seem pricier than their drugstore counterpart. But there are also conventional products whose prices are about the same or are more than your average greener version. You don’t have to spring for a 50.00 face cream – read the ingredients first and then decide if its worth the extra cost. It’s usually an exclusive ingredient that jacks up the price, so feel free to pass on it if you don’t feel it’s worth the extra money.
If you’re willing to plunk down 50.00 on a neutral eyeshadow palette without a second thought, you can do so on a comparable natural version.
It’s too inconvenient to buy them.
Some of us don’t live near natural beauty boutiques and stores, and so many retailers choose to do business online. Sometimes it is sort of difficult to just drive up to one and walk out with a bag full of goodies. But that’s no excuse! Drugstores stock plenty of natural brands to try like Burt’s Bees, Yes to Carrots, Avalon Organics and Alba Botanicals. If you do happen to live close to a natural beauty store, stop on in and stock up when you can! Don’t forget that speciality stores like Sephora also carry a few green brands like Josie Maran and LaVanila.
I have to find reviews before I buy, and there isn’t that many reviews for natural products.
Conventional beauty products only seem like they have more reviews because they’ve been around much longer and are sold at more stores. Quantity wise, there are a lot, yes. But the natural beauty blog community is growing rapidly every year, and these days you’re sure to find one who has tried the brand or product you’re dying to know more about. Scour retailers, official company sites, Youtube videos and general review sites like MakeupAlley – you’re bound to find some sort of feedback.
Greenwashing is rampant. I can’t be bothered to pick apart who’s real or not.
Yes, greenwashing is indeed an unforunate phenomenon among the ‘green’ beauty industry. Companies know that consumers are looking for more wholesome ingredients and adopting a more crunchy lifestyle, so to draw in the naive or busy buyer, they slap on some buzzwords and images of fruits and call it a day. Their marketing’s very clever and it IS tough to differeniate between the truly green and the not-so-clean. Pretty packaging is pretty – how can you resist? I admit that colorful images of fruits and flowers always, always catches my eye.
The easiest way to combat this? Read the ingredients. Take along a small, pocket sized list of beauty ingredient no-nos and scan the list. If you spot anything you don’t like, put it away. Another option is to get recommendations from authentic natural beauty retailers and just choose among those brands. If one can’t be bothered to even do that, then just buy the conventional stuff.
Only the person involved can stop being lazy or take a few moments to read a few words.
I trust the big names who’ve been around for decades. Most natural companies are too new for me to trust.
Loyalists are hard to convert. My Mom used to be a loyalist, but has recently switched to just using whatever works. She’s also getting more familiar with greener beauty products and have started buying them more often. But before that, she was using Dove, Neutrogena and other drugstore products for many, many years.
It can be tough to make an investment with a new company who you don’t even know will work, but no one’s asking you to dedicate your life to them. if a skeptic finds a company whose values they agree with and their products look enticing, they can check reviews and just buy a few trial sizes to test them out. Put them on probation, so to speak. Or, why not go with older companies like Juice Beauty, Miessence and Dr. Bronner’s?
It’s ok to stay loyal to a fave old brand, but keeping an open mind and welcoming new brands can open up a wide array of products one would never have dreamed of! However, some are just too stubborn and just refuse to turn away from what works.
To be honest, I dont care. I’m gonna die someday anyway, so I wanna look good while I can!
Beauty before health. This is an ‘argument’ I see pretty often to justify their use of potentially harmful products. Commonly found with arguments between the safety of aluminum in antiperspirants versus using natural deodorants, this claim is one where I usually just shrug my shoulders and resign to their decision. It’s tough to change their minds – their apathy and attitude is not easy to sway.
I won’t throw out threats of “watch out, you’re gonna get super ill at 40!” because that’s not nice – instead, educating them is key. If they still wish to remain lazy and skeptical, then move on.
So, how do we make them “see the light”?
Notice that most of the motivation behind consumer skepticism for trying natural beauty come down to ignorance or laziness. You solve ignorance with education, but laziness is not so easy to counter. You can try buying them a few natural beauty products as gifts and have them try them out, such as mascara, eyeliner, or body cream/lotion. You don’t want to force them to change their ways overnight, but give them the opportunity to do so and let them decide. Continue to use your products and mention how great they are. This works – I’ve changed a few minds this way.
Don’t get discouraged if some of your friends and family refuse to see your point, and don’t belittle them either. The last thing you want to become is a snob! I’ve accepted that some of them just don’t care, and just leave it at that. If you manage to convert even one person, it’s still a victory. :)