There’s no denying the allure of The Body Shop – their cosmetic boutiques are beautifully crisp and clean, with a natural, earth-friendly vibe. But are their beauty products all they’re cracked up to be?
I recently visited The Body Shop on Oxford Street to find out whether their beauty products are as natural as they purport themselves to be. On my visit, I purchased their Colour Crush Lipstick in the shade ‘Hot Date’, along with a bronzer, and a face and body brush for application. All in all, this set me back just under £30 – not bad for a high-street shop in general. I was also informed by an assistant that the brush was made of synthetic bristles, as are all of their brushes, and that The Body Shop does not believe in animal testing – another tick in my book.
When I got home with my goodies, I then dug out my ingredients to avoid list, and found very little nasty surprises. The main issue for me was the perfume in the lipstick – an unnamed ingredient which does not help in discerning whether or not the chemicals used could be harmful.
Along this line of thought, the inclusion of tin oxide in the lipstick and bronzer, as well as magnesium aluminium silicate in the bronzer alone did lead me to looking up the bulk of ingredients on the EWG Skin Deep database, finding that both come from naturally occurring minerals with low cause for concern.
As with all natural beauty products, it really depends on where you draw the line. Non-living ingredients can never be glassed as organic, thus substances like clay, sea mud, and water, are all inorganic. However, in comparison to other green beauty brands I like to purchase from, I was surprised at the amount of unrecognisable chemical names – I usually can decipher latin names for plant-based ingredients, and these were surprisingly few and far-between, hidden at the bottom of the ingredients lists.
For a brand as a whole, I’m still impressed by how much they have stuck to founder Anita Roddick’s vision – all of their range is cruelty-free, and they are actively against animal testing, as well as actively campaigning for human rights, ethical trade, and protecting the planet (you can find out more about all of these on their Values page). Of course, a lot of this is bloated business-speak without the same degree of implementation as smaller brands – their environmental policy summaries reducing emissions and minimising packaging for example, yet the bulk of the packaging I received was made from plastic. But for a high street brand, they could be a lot worse.
When initially writing this blog, I wrote that The Body Shop’s parent company L’Oréal was not cruelty-free. Since then, L’Oréal has sold The Body Shop to Natura Cosméticos, a Brazilian beauty products manufacturer. As a result, they have increased their cruelty-free campaign, as their parent company claims to have “eliminated animal testing for all our finished products […] and also for our raw materials and active ingredients” in 2001.
Overall, I’m going to say that I’m happy to continue using the items I purchased at The Body Shop, and I would definitely recommend it as a brand to start converting to if you are not already a natural beauty fan, but realistically there are many much cleaner independent brands that wholeheartedly believe in natural cosmetics and their benefits.