I was pretty disappointed with the lack of transparency from Hempz on their products. From the outside, Hempz looks like a company that would value sustainability and at least mention how their product affects our environment. Other than the hemp oil that they use, they use many other ingredients that also have an impact that are not mentioned. I really do appreciate that they made the effort to become cruelty free through the Leaping Bunny this past year. I feel that striving to be certified cruelty free does reflect on their values and shows that they are willing to improve and do the right thing. I also think it is great that they don’t use cheaper outsourced labor in other countries with less labor laws. I really want to give this lotion a higher score because I think it has the potential to be produced sustainably, but Hempz just left so many unknowns to my questions and concerns.
All of Hempz products including the Original Herbal Body Moisturizer are vegan, gluten free, paraben free, and as of the end of 2020, cruelty free. They also seem very proud of their products being “made with 100% pure natural hemp seed oil and infused with natural extracts”. This all sounds really good! If I saw this product without digging in any deeper and only listening to their great marketing, I would totally buy it! Looking into the product though kind of made me disappointed and very questionable about their products. Here is a full list of the ingredients for the Original Herbal Body Moisturizer:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Isopropyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum), Nylon-12, Polysorbate 40, Benzyl Benzoate, Sodium Benzoate, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Benzyl Cinnamate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Amyl Cinnamal, Eugenol, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Red 4 (CI 14700), Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Methyl 2-Octynoate, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate.
This is all the information that is provided about the ingredients in their products. Nowhere on the Hempz website does it say where any of these ingredients are derived from or even what exactly they are. I can only recognize about nine of the ingredients listed including water. The rest of the ingredients sound really chemical-y to me and definitely need more investigation to know what they actually are. Here are some things I found about some of the specific ingredients:
Dimethicone, a type of silicone: “Silicones do not biodegrade well (or at all); they have a negative impact on the environment.”
Disodium EDTA - “they might be a problem for aquatic life since they don't break down in the environment and have been found in waterways.”
Isopropyl Palmitate - the ingredient with the second highest concentration in this lotion next to water, Isopropyl Palmitate is derived from palm oil, which is the culprit of major deforestation in rainforests across the globe. Use slash and burn, lots of regulatory challenges, lots of corruption in this industry.
Many of theses ingredients, according to EWG are also toxic and carcinogenic, which completely goes against a claim on Hempz’s website: “We formulate all our products with non-toxic, plant-based ingredients”. They also claimed that they use all natural ingredients, which I feel like is really misleading and a case of greenwashing. Being “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing, there are lots of “natural” chemicals that should not go on your skin!‘
There are many good ingredients such as all of the extracts from different plants, but even with these good ingredients, it is not transparent at all where these ingredients came from. The lotion is paraben free, which is good to hear because parabens can be bad for the environment. The Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil used is derived from the hemp plant which is a pretty sustainable and this is the only ingredient that the Hempz website acknowledges in terms of its sustainability. I can’t help but feel, after learning about the other ingredients, that they are promoting these sustainable facts about the hemp seed oil in order to cover up how their other ingredients aren’t so sustainable.
I honestly feel like I cannot fully trust this company because they make confusing claims that seem to greenwash the consumer into thinking they’re buying something good for the Earth, when it is actually pretty questionable, and not very clear at all what you are getting when buying this product.
This lotion is made in the United States in a facility in California and shipped from their warehouse in Dallas, Texas. I couldn’t find anything available on their process of manufacturing. I wish they were much more transparent with how they make their product, other than that it’s made in the USA and cruelty free. They are certified through the Leaping Bunny internationally recognized certification which is pretty selective on who gets certified as compared to the PETA certificate, so I’m glad that being cruelty free towards animals is a value of Hempz.
The packaging of the lotion product is a clear plastic bottle with a black plastic pump. It does not say on the back of the bottle that it can be recycled. I would like to see a more sustainable packaging option for their products so that they con use less plastic that will just eventually end up in a landfill.
There is also no information available on who makes their products. It is all produced within the USA, a country with many regulations towards labor and workers rights. It is nice to know that the products’ labor is not being outsourced to other countries who do not have many regulations and therefore would be cheaper to produce because of the insufficient payment of workers. I think it’s really relatable and comforting when a company brings their employees into their products and are transparent about who is making your products. I think that is a great way to create connection with the producer and the consumer. This is something that Hempz is lacking. As consumers, I feel that it is very difficult for us to build that connection with Hempz when we don’t know who is making it and there’s a large area of uncertainty in the production line. It seems like there aren’t real people making this product and I appreciate when companies bring a bit of humanity into their process. One way they did bring a bit of humanity into their company was through saying that they support the LGBTQ+ community and have a PRIDE line of products (a line that is currently one product that is 50% off) where a portion of proceeds are donated to Resource Center and they have also made a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative. How much was donated to EJI is unknown and also what percentage of the PRIDE product revenue is donated is also unknown. Not having this information available upfront makes me kind of hesitant to give them a higher rating because everything is just so unclear and makes me wonder if they only mention these things to make themselves look good.