My Frustrations: The Green Marketplace

You know the expression, “opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one.”

Well, here are a few of my gripes with the market known interchangeably as non-toxic/green/all-natural beauty.

I say this with love and respect for all those who strive to bring ethical, eco, non-toxic skin and beauty products to consumers. I will always buy and support non-toxic, ethical brands!  But I still get cranky about a few things.  Namely:

 

  • How many times have I struggled, staring at a screen, trying to decide what color or shade would work best on my skin tone?  I’d hate to know the exact amount of time I’ve spent on doing just that. Selecting the right shade of a product is a bit of a gamble at best, and downright frustrating and time consuming at worst.  Unless you are blessed to live in a major city that has a green beauty store, you’re like me and have to rely solely on reviews and internet pictures…or, if you’re super lucky, samples. [And of the websites that DO sell samples, they aren’t all that cheap.  Usually one sample is around $3-5 and many charge shipping in addition. Recently I wanted a sample of a product.  The sample was about $6 and the shipping was more than that.  I chose not to buy the sample.]

 

  • If you buy a product online and the color doesn’t match, your skin has a reaction, or you just hate the performance, 9 times out of 10, you’ve just lost your hard-earned money. It’s happened to me multiple times, and all I can do is toss it or pass it along to a family member who *might* use it. Yes, some companies accept returns, but most don’t and even when they do, it’s a hassle.

 

  • Desire for pure ingredients versus the higher the price tag. What to do when the price of a product exceeds what you can reasonably spend, but the alternative products are not “clean” enough?  There is no compromise sometimes.  A few times I’ve had to decide between the more expensive clean product and the less expensive dirtier product.

 

  • Off the top of my head, I can think of two or three beauty bloggers that I trust what they say.  Like, really trust.  The rest of the beauty bloggers I take with a grain of salt, or sometimes with a very suspicious eye.  Right now, there are a couple of green beauty bloggers I’m this close to writing off because they seem so insincere.  There are quite a few green beauty bloggers that receive lots of PR packages (i.e. free products!) and the reviews are almost always glowing.  It must be a double edged sword for some of these bloggers. Most people feel driven to say gracious, complementary things about gifts.  Think about Christmas time when friends and family give you items you aren’t thrilled with – you wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings by saying something negative, right?  I’m sure beauty bloggers feel torn, too.  Sure, most of them will include a disclaimer that says something about “all opinions are my own” and so forth…but, really?  I’d bet money that if they were all 100% completely honest, free PR products at least sometimes skew their reviews, even if it was done unconsciously.  [No, I don’t receive any PR.  No, I’m not jealous.  Even if I were given PR products, I’d be seriously upfront about my honesty, at the risk of losing that PR relationship.  But…that’s ME.]

 

  • There has been a major push towards “self care” in the women’s beauty space. While a lovely and beautiful sentiment, part of its mantra seems to say, “buy this expensive green product because you’re worth it.” But for women/families on a budget, you really have to think long and hard and make decisions on what to spend money.  Yes, I actually do believe in self-care whole-heartedly and I know that self-care doesn’t always mean you need to buy a product.  Self-care can be as simple as taking a walk or a hot bath or doing yoga.  But let’s be real – a lot of self-care harkens back to using products.

 

  • Some companies will proudly tell you that yes, their products are very expensive because they are luxury, high quality, all-natural products – and I get that, but it alienates people, too.  Why can’t one company have high-end and more affordable products as well?  The short answer is, they could – they chose not to (for various reasons, I’m sure). Everyone is entitled to do their own thing, and I respect that, but it’s disappointing when lovely brands are leaving out an entire population of more budget-conscious women and men.

 

I have been using non-toxic green beauty products for at least 10 years.  That doesn’t mean I went 100% non-toxic 10 years ago, but that’s when I started transitioning.  I wouldn’t go back to the mainstream dirty beauty items of my teens for anything – I’d rather go bare faced than use toxic makeup and skincare.  So, yes, we’re all sisters-in-arms in this green beauty space.  This is all said with love and respect, but it’s also healthy and natural to vent about the things that could be improved upon.

7 thoughts on “My Frustrations: The Green Marketplace

  1. Andrea says:

    I love this! I can afford to buy the more expensive products (no family and have a job where housing is provided, so almost all my income is disposable), but it’s hard to trust opinions of people regarding a $100+ product when you know they likely didn’t shell out their hard earned $$$ for it. My younger sister is at university and therefore perpetually broke, and she is annoyed with me because she understands the need for green beauty but can rarely afford anything. Even the *budget* green beauty brands cost more than regular drugstore prices.

    • Brianna says:

      I’ve been on both ends – super budget conscious and plenty of disposable money The more I bought though, the more products accumulated and I just couldn’t use it all. Now I’m budget conscious again due to baby coming and impending maternity leave. Basically, all the experience with buying g has just made me a more savvy shopper. Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Ally B says:

    Thank you! This is wonderful and spot on! I found your blog after researching all natural skin care/makeup. I developed an extremely severe flare up of my eczema 3 months postpartum that refuses to go away (yay postpartum hormones). I can’t use what I used to use at this point and I have a desire for less steroids and non-irritating ingredients. Nor would I want to go back at this point. However, as I’ve started to delve into the world of green/nontoxic beauty, i’ve found it to me much more expensive than I thought it would be. There are some products aimed at people with eczema that sound wonderful, but that are quite the investment. Although I can afford it, having an infant makes this decision more difficult and I certainly don’t want to waste a lot of money on something that may irritate my skin (all natural doesn’t always mean it won’t irritate my skin). It’s frustrating because this is a matter of me trying to get my confidence back and heal my painful condition.
    My second rant is that I have dark skin, and for the life of me I cannot find much that works for my skin tone (similar to what you said). I’m used to this problem with regular cosmetics that frequently ignore those with darker skin tones, however it seems to be MUCH worse with all natural product lines. The selection for dark skin is horrible. I don’t know what to do.
    Hopefully things will improve. Also, I’d really like to know who the untrustworthy bloggers are, because i’m fairly new to this scene and don’t want to be lied to. I understand the issues this would raise though!

    • Brianna says:

      Hi Ally! I don’t personally have any experience dealing with eczema, so I’m sorry to say I can’t truly recommend anything in particular. I know that a lot of green beauty brands are quite expensive, but there are alternatives. I like shopping on iHerb, Vitacost, and Pharmaca for more affordable green brands. iHerb has a lot of products I wouldn’t personally use, but they have some good ones, too. Vitacost and Pharmaca are two good places to start, though. It must be frustrating to deal with finding makeup for your skintone – being super pale, I sometimes have this issue, too – some brands don’t carry light enough shades for me, so I know it can be frustrating. I recommend Shea Moisture for darker tone makeup – they are carried at Ulta, are fairly affordable for a clean makeup brand! As far as which bloggers to really trust, I have to say that’s personal opinion and something that just takes time as you “feel” people out. You have to search a lot and find people who sync with your personality and feelings. Good luck and hope to see you here again!

  3. Wonderlusting says:

    LOVE this. It’s spot on with many of my frustrations that I shared in my 2016 rant. Also thank god for bloggers because brands/retailers seems to be incapable of doing decent swatches (that’s how I found you BTW :).

    • Brianna says:

      Hi there! Thanks so much for the comment – it’s always nice to know others are on the same wavelength. I agree with swatches – I always look up blog swatches when I’m deciding what shades/colors to buy of makeup products. So often the brand website will look so different from the actual product! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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