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Live Clean: Are they Greenwashing?

Live Clean: Are they Greenwashing?

In a past life when I was a self-proclaimed beauty blogger, I somehow managed to get on the PR list to receive Live Clean products. Let’s just say that I only received one box from them. I’m not totally surprised because I’ve always been curious whether Live Clean is greenwashing.

I guess when you post skeptical reviews it doesn’t really resonate well with the brand who sent you free product. Note taken.

There’s something I’ve noticed about Live Clean

Live Clean products all have a very familiar scent. Even though they have a wide variety of scents like coconut milk and argan oil. They all smell quite similar. One can only assume that it is the proprietary ingredients within their parfum/fragrance. Which clean beauty bloggers love to hate.

Researching Live Clean

As part of my search into whether Live Clean is greenwashing, I looked up some reviews. In 2013, a blog post by Coffee With Julie stated that Live Clean products were available from Terra20. Terra20 is a bulk and sustainable living store. They have a very strict requirement for ingredients in the brands they sell.

With so much “greenwashing” in the marketplace, we all need to be vigilant about vague, misleading and baseless green claims. Here at terra20 we do our best to ensure the green validity of all of the products we sell: we review, check and investigate all of our vendors’ certifications and documentation.

Terra20

As a consumer looking for Live Clean’s certifications, I feel misled.

I’ve combed through the Live Clean website searching for more information on their certifications. On their “Our Story” page they have a lot of beautifully curated marketing buzzwords like: eco-conscious, hypoallergenic, plant & naturally derived along with certified organic botanicals. 

Unfortunately none of these cleverly chosen marketing terms hyperlink to any sort of description or proof. They’re simply there for aesthetics.

I reached out to Live Clean twice

In an effort to find out more about the brand, I reached out to Live Clean. With no response in return. It seems that they lack any value of transparency for consumers. Or they don’t trust someone with sustainablysavvy in their email address… 

So I turned to the brand that owns Live Clean: Hain Celestial Group

Hain Celestial Group is a major brand for “natural” and healthy living choices. Some of the other personal care brands they own include Alba Botanica, Avalon Organics and Jason.

The Hain Celestial Group’s website boasts about their $3 Billion+ sales in over 70 countries. Clearly to drive interest by investors. But they also have a page dedicated to sustainability. I am starting to think that things are looking promising.

But wait

Let’s just say I was not impressed with their 2018 sustainability report. They mention that Live Clean is Leaping Bunny Certified, sold in recyclable packaging and have certified organic ingredients. Yet, they provide no third party certification mention.

Within the same report they state that Avalon Organics is certified organic by the USDA or NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients. Yet, why doesn’t Live Clean mention the same?

pinterest image for live clean greenwashing

More hot air around sustainability

Their most recent statement on their action plan to combat climate change was dated in March 2016. And their Greenhouse Gas and Water Footprint hasn’t been updated since 2015. It’s been five years since they’ve updated their plans. Lots can change in five years. For instance: I finally grew out my bangs.

A note on Live Clean’s “recyclable bottles”

Many of the personal care products that Live Clean sells are packaged in a clear or white plastic bottle. It’s definitely not the worst option and they are not completely incorrect when they say that those bottles are recyclable. However, within their men’s care line they package in black plastic.

Black plastic is rarely recyclable. As Rebecca, the communications coordinator at Quinte Waste Solutions put it: black plastic is like the toilet paper of plastic. It’s not meant to be reused.

Back to the question at hand: Is Live Clean Greenwashing?

It’s really hard to say. Without any formal third party certifications we cannot assume that their claims about having organic ingredients is true. We also can’t assume that it isn’t. Live Clean uses a lot of great marketing buzzwords that aren’t regulated. Unfortunately this industry is rife with unregulated terms that can sway consumer decision.

Should you still purchase Live Clean products?

Live Clean is a widely available and reasonably cost-effective option for most consumers. In my opinion it is a better choice than Pantene or Herbal Essences. Sure, they have some questionable tactics and lack of information but on the whole they do seem like a relatively reasonable brand. Perhaps Terra20 knows more than we do.

If more expensive personal care options are not within your budget I don’t think you should feel badly about opting for Live Clean.

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