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 beauty store.
Checking The Ingredients…
When I got home with my goodies, I dug out my ingredients to avoid list, and was happy to see there were very few 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. This is still something I would like to see more regulation around, but for the rest of the ingredients it was good to see transparency.
Just to be sure, I decided to look up each ingredient individually on the EWG Skin Deep database, which is a useful tool for anyone wishing to understand sustainable beauty in more detail. I was a little hesitant about the inclusion of tin oxide in the lipstick and bronzer, as well as magnesium aluminium silicate in the bronzer, but I found that both come from naturally occurring minerals with low cause for concern.
What Does Natural Beauty Mean to You?
As with all natural beauty products, I think it really depends on where you draw the line as to whether you class something as natural or not. Unlike the term ‘organic’, which is protected by law, ‘natural’ can mean literally anything and can be slapped on any product’s packaging without any checks.
On top of that, non-living ingredients can never be glassed as organic. That means substances like clay, sea mud, and water are all inorganic. However, they’re still natural in my eyes.
When it came to looking into the ingredients in these products from The Body Shop, I was surprised at the amount of unrecognisable chemical names – in comparison to other green beauty brands I like to purchase from, there was a lot I couldn’t decipher without looking up.
Overall, it’s a mediocre 6/10
I think The Body Shop is a great place on our high street that has pioneered more ethical beauty – campaigning for wildlife, taking a cruelty-free approach, and providing an easily accessible place to get products that are somewhat kinder to the planet.
For a brand as a whole, I’m still impressed by how much The Body Shop has 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.
I think there still could be some improvements made in their ingredients, their packaging, and their processes overall, but it’s a good first stop on the way to creating a more sustainable beauty regime. If you’re looking to get into more sustainable beauty, try my guide to where to buy sustainable beauty, where I list my favourite online shops and brands, or keep up with my sustainable beauty section for new product reviews and routines!
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.
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