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Nutriganics by The Body Shop: Not Everything Organic is Truly Green

11 October 2009 3,916 views No Comment

I was very excited to learn about the new Nutriganics line by The Body Shop. Touted as the first certified organic (at least in the UK) line of cleanser, toner, day and night moisturizers, serum, and eye cream, the line looks quite green, and the ingredients are quite decent.

However, when I checked the Body Shop.com, the line appeared to be not available for purchase in California and there was nowhere mentioned that it’s certified organic.

A closer inspection of the ingredients lists made me wondering of a few icky “buts” that actually kept my wallet closed. I often buy organic skincare even though I can replicate practically any organic product in my lab.

So here’s my concerns:

1. The use of synthetic fragrance. I know that Eco Cert permits the use of fragrances but I’d rather not have it in the true organic product. When I mentioned to the sales lady about the fragrance she started chitterling about the scent of thyme and mallow. Excuse me, but I happen to know how thyme smells. Nothing even close to the slick flowery scent of the cream. It was just too good to be natural. And the fragrance is mentioned close to the top of the ingredients list. Even before all the plant extracts. Which means that the average cream contains more fragrance than alfalfa, mallow, thyme, or prized “buddleja.”

2. The use of undecane/dodecane/tridecane. These are petrochemicals used to make the cosmetic product more spreadable and lightweight. Material Safety Data Sheet for undecane stipulates that this substance “may be harmful by inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption.” Anyway, what are petrochemicals doing in an “organic” product, mind me asking?

No wonder The Body Shop didn’t fit the Californian strict guidelines about organic labeling.

On the brighter side of the line, The Body Shop managed to escape the use of phenoxyethanol/ethylhexylglycerine duo, a staple “natural” preservative for all greenwashers. The products are preserved by mild levulinic acid and potassium sorbate. On not so bright side, both these preservatives are used in very high amounts so may cause irritation in sensitive skin.

Overall, nice step in the right direction for The Body Shop, but I’d recommend them being less skimpy with natural ingredients. I know. Organic plant extracts are expensive, but these products aren’t cheap either. I mean, why bother using grape seed extract if you are probably keeping its concentration to 0.003% (it’s listed last in the ingredients lists, even after the aromatic compounds…) Of course grape seed oil looks sophisticated on the label but in such a small concentration it’s rather useless.

My bottom line is: if I had to buy just one product from The Body Shop today, it would be their mineral foundation, not this line.

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