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Is Garnier Greenwashing? What We Found In Our Investigation

Staff Guide

Apr 29, 2021

Garnier is one of the world's oldest consumer products companies. Founded over 100 years ago, the brand—which is owned by industry giant L'Oréal—has expanded into a large list of products available worldwide.

Let's take a closer look at the brand to rate them based on their sustainable practices.

Ingredients (Rating: Bad)

Without surprise, Garnier gets a bad grade when it comes to ingredients. As a huge brand over 100 years old, the company is entrenched in the traditional way of manufacturing products, and the ingredients are no exception.

Chemical fragrance, BHT, parabens, silicones, and chemical sunscreens are just some of the questionable ingredients you'll find in Garnier's long list of products.

Garnier Whole Blends

Garnier steps over the greenwashing line with their "Whole Blends" line of products. Claims for this line of products include that the products are "nourishing and gentle", "paraben-free", and "sustainably sourced".

While these products might be paraben-free, they're still full of chemical fragrance, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), cyclopentasiloxane—an ingredient heavily regulated in the EU—and more.

There is nothing particularly clean or natural about the Whole Blends line, and we believe the brand is trying to cash in on the growing demand for clean products without actually delivering on the promise.

Sustainability (Rating: Iffy)

Garnier is a massive company with an entrenched way of manufacturing and marketing products. The vast majority (if not all) of their products are sold in single-use plastics. However, the Whole Blends line uses recyclable PET plastic with 30% recycled plastics used.

On Garnier's website, they state that by 2025, the brand plans to use 100% post-consumer recycled plastics or bio-plastics. By 2025, all products will be "100% recyclable, refillable or reusable", which at first glance might sound good, but we don't believe the average consumer will want to reuse their plastic Garnier shampoo bottles.

Nevertheless, a large brand moving toward more sustainable practices is always good progress, even if not perfect.

They've also pledged to make all of their industrial sites carbon neutral by 2025, and they claim that they use sustainable sourcing for their ingredients. This takes into consideration the ethics, environmental impact and social impact of the brand. The specifics of this program are unclear, but it

We truly hope that in future years, Garnier will move toward being even more of a sustainable company, and that we'll be able to raise their ranking.

Animal Rights (Rating: Good)

Cruelty-Free

In March of 2021, Garnier officially became a cruelty-free brand. Up until this point, they weren't considered a cruelty-free brand because some of their products were available in China, where animal testing is sometimes performed on consumer products.

Vegan

Garnier is not a vegan brand as many of their products use animal-derived ingredients like honey and beeswax, but they have some products that are vegan.

Brand Ratings

Our rating scale ranges from "Best" (for having the best practices) to "Bad" (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Garnier as follows.

IngredientsBad - Garnier isn't a clean brand, and their Whole Blends line is guilty of greenwashing.
SustainabilityIffy - By 2025, the brand pledges to use 100% post-consumer recycled or bio-plastics. However, as of today, this is not the case.
Animal RightsGood - Garnier is a cruelty-free brand, but not a vegan brand.

Overall Rating: Iffy

As one of the largest—and oldest—consumer products brands on the planet, it takes a long time to make any significant changes in policy and sustainability. The brand has pledged to move to 100% recycled plastic packaging by 2025, and became cruelty-free in 2021, so seeing positive change in such an established company is a good thing.

However, their ingredients leave something to be desired. As the world moves toward conscious consumerism, using ingredients that are bad for us and our environment becomes more unacceptable. For this reason, we hope to see a future where brands like Garnier stop using ingredients like these altogether, and move toward sustainable packaging.

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