NO, Of Course I Didn’t Buy That “Organic” Shampoo & Then Tell The New York Times About It!

July 14th, 2010

Well, it is true that I did tell a New York Times reporter that I was “furious” about a so-called “organic” shampoo that was anything but organic – or even natural. I even sent him the blog post I wrote about it, which you can read here.  In the post, I wrote about how I picked up the “organic” lice shampoo and then realized it was anything BUT organic.


“But skeptic that I am, the first two things I do when I see anything labeled “natural” or “organic” is to check the ingredients list and to look for a USDA organic certification label. Despite the “organic” claims, I didn’t see a USDA label on the Fairy Tales bottles, but I did see a long list of non-organic ingredients including major no-nos like parabens and fragrance.

According to the Environmental Working Group, “parabens can disrupt the hormone (endocrine) system, and were found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied.” And the EWG reports that fragrance should be avoided in children’s products because of allergens that may contain neurotoxic or hormone-disrupting chemicals. (You can learn more about fragrance through this informative EWG video clip).”

So yes, it’s kind of a thrill to see myself quoted in The New York Times. But honestly, anyone who reads my blog posts or tweets knows that I would NEVER buy an “organic” product that does not have the USDA Organic Seal or the new NSF/ANSI 305  seal. (My original post pre-dated the introduction of the NSF seal).

That’s also why I wrote, “So dear readers, please look for the USDA Organic seal and READ LABELS on personal care products, especially those marketed to children or used by women during childbearing years.”


You may wonder why I was “furious” if I didn’t buy the product.  I’m still furious. I’m furious that companies greenwash and prey on mothers’ fears, urging them to buy products that are not what they are promoted to be – organic.  Mothers look for organic products because they (correctly) believe them to be purer and safer for their kids than products that are not organic. As I told the reporter, I’ve been saddened to see organics pioneers (many of them women) work long and hard to bring truly organic products to market – only to have  their USDA certified organic products shelved next to fakers – products with organic on the label but synthetic ingredients inside. Of course they’re cheaper! They’re easier to make!

I’m glad that Whole Foods is cracking down on this, but I’m not entirely optimistic that things will change without a major education campaign from the Organic Trade Association. Surveys have shown that consumers believe “natural” is better than organic – even though there are no standards governing the use of the word “natural.”

So – looking to go organic? Look for the USDA Organic label or the NSF/ANSI305 label.

Anything else? Well, it’s just Greenwashing at the Kiddie Hair Salon (not the supermarket, as quoted!)

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

11 Responses to “NO, Of Course I Didn’t Buy That “Organic” Shampoo & Then Tell The New York Times About It!”

  1. Mindful Momma on July 14, 2010 3:58 pm

    What a coincidence, I just wrote about the Whole Foods decision today too! Too bad they got it wrong about your non-purchase…but hey getting a mention in the NYT is something to brag about regardless!!
    .-= Mindful Momma´s last blog ..Links to Make You Think- About Body Care Products =-.

  2. Lynn on July 14, 2010 4:29 pm

    Hey thanks, Micaela! Actually, the reporter was really nice to talk to…and maybe I should be thanking him. He told me they would (GASP) print my age!! But they didn’t do that…now that would have been a disaster! :) I was all set to claim a typo…

  3. Condo Blues on July 14, 2010 5:39 pm

    How exciting that you were quoted in The New York Times! Do know what NSF stands for in the certification? I saw it and thought Not Safe For Work.

  4. Lynn on July 14, 2010 5:58 pm

    They just use the term NSF. Originally it was the National Sanitation Foundation. (And no, I didn’t know that – had to look it up here: )

  5. Ven on July 14, 2010 10:46 pm

    I really appreciate you putting out this information so that people can be educated when making choices about “organic” products. Some lines even deceptively use the word “organic” in some part of their productline even though their line is anything but! e.g Organix, Organica….

    I try to only use 100% pure products such as shea and cocoa butter, which you can read more about here –

    Keep up the great work!

  6. smilinggreenmom on July 15, 2010 9:59 am

    Wonderful post :) The word natural bugs me too…ugh, we need regulation so consumers can buy with knowledge!

  7. Brenna @ Almost All The Truth on July 17, 2010 11:00 pm

    Congratulations on getting quoted in The New York Times! I think that is one of my new life goals.

    I hate that we still have to be amateur chemists to be able to decipher organic and natural claims. I hate that I still have to educate my own husband on what to buy and what to stay far, far away from. I hate that it is so easy for companies and salespeople to convince shoppers that products are safe, organic, and natural when they are anything but.

    Whole Foods cracking down is a step in the right direction, we just have to keep the movement going.
    .-= Brenna @ Almost All The Truth´s last blog ..Serendipity Book Review… =-.

  8. Lori on July 22, 2010 7:35 pm

    Thank you so much for posting. We all need to be diligent in reading labels. Just because it is sold at Whole Foods does not necessarily mean it is healthy! Kudos to Whole Foods for taking a step in the right direction.

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