This Love Beauty and Planet product is one of those classic cases of greenwashing. They entice you with their cute, trendy, nature-inspired packaging which compliments their partially recycled “ocean-friendly” plastic bottles. They invest in beautiful advertisements and marketing to convince the viewer their products are clean and good for both you and the environment. In reality, much of this product is packaged in virgin plastic and the ingredients are not as clean as they appear. Despite this brand preaching love and respect for our bodies and the planet, Love Beauty and Planet is part of the massively consumptive corporation and one of the largest plastic polluters in the world: Unilever. While the accessibility of this product is convenient, selling at $6-9 for a 13.5 oz bottle, I would still recommend a conditioner made by a smaller, more holistic, and sustainable company.
While I have issues with the brand and its parent corporation Unilever, it is worth acknowledging that their transparency of ingredients is pretty good. When you go to Love Beauty and Planet’s website you are able to see each of the ingredients included in their products and why they are a part of the product. But just because they are relatively transparent doesn’t mean the ingredients are very clean or good for you. All of the Love Beauty Planet products ingredients are advertised as vegan, cruelty-free, paraben, and silicone-free. Oftentimes greenwashed brands are guilty of citing irrelevant information to improve their green image. As explained by both Bloomberg (2019) and Fesmina Faizal (2019), companies will heavily promote their exclusion of ingredients. It is important to look out for “free of” statements highlighted on the packaging — it may look good, but usually, statements like this are meaningless with regard to the sustainability of the product. Love Beauty and Planet are definitely guilty of this, the ingredients are actually not very clean and upon further research. Also after reading some other consumers’ reviews of this product, some people are reporting itchy scalps and even hair loss after using similar Love Beauty and Planet products. So I am very skeptical of the quality of ingredients.
“Love Beauty and Planet started with one goal… to make you feel more beautiful and give a little love to our planet. We want to help make a little difference towards a happier, less wasteful planet, with every shower.” #smallactsoflove
This quote and hashtag are very representative of the way Love Beauty and Planet wants to be perceived. As a clean and ethical company that is good for you and the planet. One additional thing that really prevents me from leaning into and believing their intentions is the fact that the transparency behind how their products are made is really lacking. There is hardly any available information about where the ingredients and materials are sourced from as well as where they are manufactured and distributed. Their most advertised initiative related to this product is the packaging which they claim to be made from 100% ocean-bound plastic bottles which are gathered from 9.3 miles of the Taiwanese coastlines. The tricky thing with this is the definition of ocean-bound plastic is not specific- all plastic could be defined as ocean-bound. So Love Beauty and Planet entice consumers with their cute, trendy, nature-inspired packaging to complement their partially recycled ocean plastic bottles but in reality, you’re still consuming a product packaged in virgin plastic, and that plastic is still going to be being largely placed in a landfill and ultimately pollute or ocean.
Love Beauty and Planet is made by Unilever who has a terrible reputation for sustainability. In addition, it is extremely difficult to find information about their employee and labor rights. Their suppliers and smaller brands are supposed to abide by the “Unilever Responsible Sourcing Policy”. This policy ensures that all workers are paid fair wages, provided adequate and reasonable hours, are voluntarily working, and are at least 15 years of age. Indigenous and worker rights are expected to be respected but there are very limited details outlining how to enforce that ‘respect’. These vague requirements make me feel uneasy. Unilever is such a massive corporation you would think they could provide more information about their work practices. Love Beauty and Planet sounds like a brand that would be lovely to work for based on the name, but it is important as a consumer to reflect more deeply. When you’re buying products from Love Beauty and Planet, you’re indirectly buying into a corporate conglomerate (Unilever) that supports a lot of harmful environmental practices and is a massive plastic producer. The individual Love Beauty Planet products may not be the worst, but we need to pay attention to the practices of the parent brand which in this case, are not stellar, by any standard.