Neutrogena Naturals makes it officialHome » Blog » Lynda Brendish » Neutrogena Naturals makes it official
Neutrogena plans on launching a new Naturals range in New Zealand, but is it the same old greenwashing? Lynda Brendish sees how it measures up.
A while back I disovered the Neutrogena Naturals range on a trip to the US, and I posted on my own ethical beauty blog predicting (hoping!) the range would soon come to New Zealand. Turns out I was right, and I recently went along to a product launch to find out more.
There are a few impressive things about the range right up front:
- Transparency of formulation; i.e. not only is the ingredient list easy to understand, but Neutrogena makes no bones that some of the ingredients - 4-6% usually - aren't naturally derived, but are required for the product to work
- No parabens, petrochemicals, dyes or phthalates
- Sustainability efforts including a solar-powered server for their website (admittedly a somewhat tokenistic step), recycled packaging and plastic, and support of the US charity the Nature Conservancy.
- All this, and it's affordable! The moisturiser should go on shelves at around $14NZ when the range is finally released here.
At the launch, I had the chance to learn a bit more about the range and J&J's plans for its launch in New Zealand.
First, the Kiwi launch date of the range has been pushed back from February 2013 to September 2013, apparently due to overwhelming popularity in the US. Although it means a longer wait for New Zealanders, it's heartening to see consumers embracing this range, and hopefully it provides motivation for other brands to follow suit.
While this is currently the only Neutrogena range to be free of phthalates, parabens etc, Johnson & Johnson has recently committed to removing these and other controversial ingredients from all their products by 2015 - a move which the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics called "a major victory for public health". The statement from J&J's Kiwi branch below outlines the move:
Johnson & Johnson is proud to be the first and only major company in the industry to publically commit to remove a number of commonly used ingredients from our products. These ingredients include: certain preservatives, phthalates, anti-bacterial agents and fragrances... Our plan is to complete the phase-out of ingredients by 2015..."
You can find out more about J&J's position on its Safety and Care Commitment website.
In the US, the range supports The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to water conservation. In New Zealand, the brand is "in negotiations" with NZ Landcare Trust to support water sustainability projects here - nice to see them making an effort to support local causes as well.
The products themselves feel nice and light; they work as well as I've come to expect from the normal Neutrogena range - which is to say pretty well. I gave my extra tube of purifying scrub and the face soap to a friend, and she loves the way it works on her combination skin without drying it out.
Despite the obvious improvements, there's no reason to let Neutrogena rest on its laurels and ignore the shortcomings:
- No certified organic or fair trade ingredients. This would be the obvious next step in improving the credibility of the products. However, certification is expensive so if it comes, it probably won't be without a price increase.
- Uses palm oil (and as far as I can tell, not even sustainably sourced palm oil). This is very problematic, - although, J&J has committed to 100% sustainable palm oil sourcing by 2015 (itself not without criticisms).
- J&J will be importing this product from the US, where it's manufactured. That's a whole lotta carbon miles for a facewash...
- A green server for your website is all well and good, but I'd like to see evidence of J&J attempting to run any of its manufacturing plants off renewable energy. That would be really trendsetting.
Regardless, this is a positive move overall for the entire skincare industry and Neutrogena has shown itself to be a leader in the field. The company has endeavoured to go beyond mere greenwashing, and actually put out a product transparent in its formulation, with consideration of the environment in packaging and manufacture - and at a price point we can all afford. But while the brand has made more progress than even some well-known 'natural' brands, there's always room for improvement.