The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

Step Aside Nancy Drew January 15, 2010



nancy drew My next few posts will be focusing on some interesting tidbits of green information I discovered. The more I read about environmentally friendly, all-natural, organic products, the more I realize the importance of research. I consider myself a ‘green’ greenie and part-time sleuth these days.


Greenwashing.  “The practice of companies disingenuously spinning products and policies as environmentally friendly. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment” ~ Wikipedia



I was shocked to discover the following terms are almost meaningless.  Hypoallergenic, Allergy-Tested, Dermatologist-Tested and Fragrance-Free. These scientific words imply safety and natural purity but the reality is they mean almost nothing since they are unregulated by the government.   According the FDA there is no such thing as a non-allergenic cosmetic since everything can cause a reaction to someone.


Here is another marketing ploy. Against Animal Testing. Cruelty Free, or Not Tested on Animals. Often these labels do not mean what they imply. In some cases companies mean they do not test animals in their buildings…they outsource it to other labs. Sometimes it means that a product has not tested on animals in the last five years but the research is current.


Isn’t that interesting? I say interesting with the intonation a TV detective uses after discovering a clue <while raising one eyebrow>.   Surprising?  Not really…I guess.


flashplacement2 So what can consumers do about this?   Even though labelling is unregulated, there is still a chance what the manufacturer says is true.  The best way to tell is to look for this Leaping Bunny logo from The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC).  This is a great website for listing Canadian, U.S. and International companies that support cruelty free practices. They provide a free pocket sized shopping guide too.  Be careful to check for the real Leaping Bunny logo and not an imitation.  Yup, there are fake cute bunnies slapped onto labels out there.  Another trustworthy source is PETA  (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).  Click HERE to search for cruelty free companies and products.


You can also investigate your favourite beauty and personal care products to find out just how “natural” or “organic” they really are at the Environmental Working Group Safety Cosmetic’s Database (EWG).   Warning, do not attempt this if you are having a grumpy day…it will only make things worse.


There is Right to Know movement happening. The hope is that manufacturers will have to list all ingredients and disclose if a product is hormone disrupting etc. so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions. For more information about this, have a look at Toxic Free Canada website.


I feel duped and mad at myself for being so trusting.  That is in the past now and naiveté is sooo 2008.  I hope these little nuggets of green information help you with your future purchases.



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5 Responses to “Step Aside Nancy Drew”

  1. Finola Says:

    Thank you for this! The labelling laws in Canada are not what people think. I have been pondering a similar post about the term organic which you also mention….still more research to do though.

  2. Thanks Finola! I hope you write about your findings too…there is a lot of confusing information out there.

  3. XUP Says:

    Is it sad that I’m not even surprised? I remember reading a lot of crap about Body Shop when they first opened claiming to be all cruelty free and natural (load of crap). I’m even suspicious of President’s Choice line of organic produce and products. I just know there’s something underhanded going on when they can sell such good looking stuff and such fresh stuff so cheaply and still claim it’s organic. What’s the deal there Nancy Drew?

    • Finola Says:

      I worked at the Body Shop when I was in high school. Load of crap is right. When I worked there, they sold sea sponges for exfoliating….um, those ARE animals. And the whole natural thing was a sham too….That’s 20 years ago but they had no clue then and I stopped shopping there a long time ago.

  4. I am on the case…look out President’s Choice!

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