The Mama & Baby Awards is now in its sixth year, and over that time a lot has changed. People are growing more suspicious of greenwash and more aware of the dangerous ingredients that pollute everyday products.
It’s unthinkable that companies can knowingly use toxic ingredients for the very products that should be formulated with the highest level of ethics.
Still, last July Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in damages to 22 women who alleged they developed ovarian cancer after using the pharmaceutical giant’s baby powder and other talc products for decades.
The lawyers alleged the company knew its talc contained asbestos since the 1970s, but failed to warn consumers about the risks.
‘The Beauty Shortlist Mama & Baby Awards serve an important purpose – to showcase the genuinely green, ethical brands and encourage all of us to adopt a more organic, low waste lifestyle. Sponsor and ad-free, the Awards’ mission is to provide an annual 100% trusted, expert-ranked, dependable guide to the safest, gentlest, overall best brands and products for parents and their little ones within a marketplace that can often be tainted with greenwashing.’
Founder, The Beauty Shortlist
Choosing natural baby products
We asked Fiona Klonarides, founder of The Beauty Shortlist, for her take on how the sector is evolving, and what we can do to help drive the shift to less toxic baby products.
Q: Has the growing demand for transparency extended to baby products as well?
A: ‘Transparency – and also the exposure of the insidious greenwashing that goes on in the beauty industry – has fuelled a healthy rise in eco-centric, organic and cruelty-free sales, however the baby market is sadly lagging behind. There are many delightful products out there if you know where to buy them, but we need much more assertive messaging out there for parents to start reading labels so they buy the cleaner, more sustainable, superior products – from brands with integrity – that their children deserve.’
Q: Do you see the mainstream baby sector improving?
A: ‘It’s interesting… Fingers crossed it’ll be here soon(ish). Brands like Garnier and L’Oreal now have their own in-house ‘natural’ ranges – Garnier Organic is the best and newest example. It’s vegan, certified by the Soil Association and made with recyclable materials so natural baby ranges from the multinationals could well come next.
‘There is a huge gap in the market, currently filled by the original nature-based pioneers like Weleda, but launches are driven by demand so we need to redirect consumers away from the big non-natural ranges cluttering the shelves of high street chemists and towards the gentle, ethical, clean natural brands – big and small.’
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to new mums confused about which products to buy?
A: ‘Look for certification logos like NATRUE or Soil Association, read labels (not the upfront marketing or main label – the INCI/ingredients here are key). One easy way is to buy from natural beauty websites that sell baby products like Naturisimo, SoOrganic or Big Green Smile.
‘Or, find a brand you love, like Aurelia Skincare or Weleda, and the smaller indies; there’s lots of untapped potential in the mum and baby market and it’s definitely one to watch! If it’s widely available and very cheap, chances are it’s not a good buy if you value ethical, pure and gentle products for your little ones. Not all natural products are expensive; if I were a mum I’d rather skip a couple of high street coffees and buy something pure for my baby instead.’