Which means I need to find out the ingredient listings to their products and look up suspicious ingredients individually, which I'm happy to do. Of course, how do I find out the ingredient list if I don't already own it? Well, I figured I should check the Aveda website. Well, none of their "earth-sensitive products" has the ingredients listed. Sure, it tells you what the key ingredients are, but it's relatively worthless since they are cherry picking what's listed and only including the happy sounding earthy ingredients and none of the ones I might consider a tad more questionable.
Since there are a lot of Aveda's products I would like to research, having the ingredient list online would be incredibly helpful. I wouldn't necessarily expect this of most companies (like Lancome where you have to inquire on each specific product), but since it's Aveda, I figure maybe I'm just not seeing it or looking in the correct spot.
When you visit the Aveda site, a window pops up inviting you to "chat live with an expert". Okay, I think, now I'm getting somewhere. Engage:
[Customer Service Person name and exchange abbreviated for privacy and boringness.]
Welcome to Aveda Online. How may I assist you?
Deanna: Hi. What's the ingredient list for Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener?
AA: Let me give you the contact information for the dept that can provide you with that ingredient list. Consumer Communications can be reached via phone toll-free, at 1.800.328.0849 M-F between 8am-5:30pm Central Standard Time or via email at ConsumerCare-US@gcc.aveda.com.
AA: They have access to all of the up to date ingredient information and would be happy to help.
Deanna: How come your website doesn't include the ingredient listings for your products? I'm surprised since Aveda generally touts the ingredients of its products.
AA: It does list the key ingredients. I am sure Consumer Communications can best answer that for you. They will be happy to provide you with any information you need.
Deanna: I'm sure they can. It's just really inconvenient. Thanks for your help, anyway!
Okay, so I'm not going to bug someone repeatedly about the dozens of products I want to research, I might as well set up shop in an Aveda store and do some note-taking.
I poked around their site a bit more and found a section on green ingredients, describing how they are "continually seeking to increase the use of naturally-derived ingredients in our products". Sounds good - can we know about them please?
They have an ingredient glossary, but again, it only lists the natural ingredients, accompanied by beautiful pictures that make me want to eat my computer screen. But, what about the questionable stuff?
They talk about phasing out parabens and EDTA, but in which products? They mention they are promoting sourcing GMO-free ingredients, but are these ingredients in any of their products? Who knows.
Let's look at what I could find on the cosmetic safety database, products that I currently use? Their Control Paste Finishing Paste with Organic Flax Seed sounds harmless enough, no? I'm sure there's a flax seed somewhere in there but it's also chock full of parabens and registers a 9 on the skin deep database (on a scale of 0 - 10 which 0 being harmless and a 10 being high hazard). How about Aveda Hang Straight Lotion? Again, a crapton of parabens and rated a 7 (high hazard).
To give them some credit, perhaps the cosmetic safety database isn't up to date and they've since changed some formulas, but unless I camp out at a store or contact customer service, I wouldn't know one way or the other. The message I'm getting is that their products are earth friendly and they are eliminating some of the more nasty chemicals. They state a lot about their green ingredients, but why not list them on the site?
All in all they claim that their products must meet a threshold - that more than 50% of the molecular weight comes from natural sources. Which leaves a lot of wiggle room there for less "earth-sensitive" ingredients.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love Aveda, and it will be a sad day when I have to drop their entire product line for dubious ingredients. But the obfuscation of their ingredients is concerning and I am wondering how much of their corporate message is really just greenwashing?