And with the advent of Pinterest, there’s no shortage of people’s recipes for their homemade X, Y, or Z.
My first thought, when I think about making my own detergent: am I brave enough to try it? Maybe an even bigger question: do I even have the time to try it?
There’s something so simple about going to my local grocery store, finding a regular bottle of Tide, throwing it in my shopping cart, and then moving onto to more important things. I can’t make my own deodorant: I have to write papers and study for tests, work at my full-time job, walk my dogs, and get my boys to baseball practices.
And once you DIY one household product, why not another? You can pretty much take everything and give it an “all-natural” makeover: furniture polish, dish soap, toothpaste, diaper rash cream, shaving cream, baby wipes, makeup (foundation, mascara, and eyeshadow, oh my!), shampoo, body wash, deodorant; the list goes on and on. Making my own, I’m told, is “better”: it’s more environmentally friendly, it’s probably safer for my family, it may save me money…
Where do I stop? How do I decide how much to DIY? When can I allow myself to buy something for convenience’s sake?
That’s where young mom and entrepreneur, Jessica Alba, and her billion dollar business, The Honest Company, come into play. The Honest Company promises to be a “a trusted source for stylish, eco-friendly baby diapers, wipes, bath and body care products, and non-toxic cleaning products.” People who care a lot about reducing their chemical dependency and environmental footprints, The Honest Company wants to be your new best friend.
Their name promises a lot—they’re not just an honest company, they are THE honest company, among too many companies that have less integrity. So what’s the deal? Is it even possible for a company in 2015 to be “all-natural”?
What Can You Buy?
Here are a few examples of things that The Honest Company offers in stores today:
- Organic baby formula: doctor reviewed and tested and “free from pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, gluten, wheat, carrageenan, peanuts and tree nuts, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors, added sucrose…” $29.95
- Healing balm: calming chamomile, organic coconut oil, and silky shea butter, all combined together in a flowery, whimsical tube. $12.95
- Multi-Surface Cleaning: a natural way to safely remove dirt and buildup “…from virtually all surfaces and items in your home.” $5.95
The Big Question: Do The Honest Company’s Claims Pan Out?
Well, for the most part.
There’s one allergen, methylisothiazolinone, that is found in nearly every shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion on the market today. The nonprofit organization the Environmental Working Group (leaders in today’s research of the impact that chemicals and toxins have in and on the human body) has shown that methylisothiazolinone can cause several allergic skin reactions, and is neurotoxic to animals’ brain cells in lab studies. This chemical is banned in numerous countries around the world.
Why am I bringing this up? Because one product in The Honest Company’s line contains this sketchy ingredient: their dish soap. I get it; it’s virtually impossible to manufacture a product that doesn’t contain at least one artificial chemical that could cause harm to some users. But let’s be real: maybe not all of The Honest Company’s products are as eco-friendly as they sound.
But on the whole, for a conscious consumer who doesn’t have the time to make their own everything, it’s good to see companies taking steps towards products with fewer complex chemicals. The Honest Company seems to be one of the few companies whose products are talking the talk and walking the walk. They have an easy to navigate website and a promise of “delivering the best family essentials to your doorstep.”
That appeals to me, as a mother and a person who believes that fewer industrial and artificial chemicals in my home is a good thing. And as awesome as it’d be to find the time to make my own lemon and honey face scrub every week, it’s not always a reality.
The Honest Company definitely sell products that are just as good (if not better) than other natural brand products out there. They’re aware that they’re not the perfect company, yet they seem to keep their focus firmly grounded in providing consumers with eco-friendly products.
Are their products more expensive than the store brand? Yes, for many items—and that may mean that this company is out of budget for many people, or a “splurge” item for payday.
But at the end of the day, this is an issue I care deeply about. If I could make my own cleaning products, I would: and that’s why finding a minimalist product on the shelves of my grocery store makes me pretty excited.
I’m not totally sold on every single product in The Honest Company’s lineup, but I’m glad to see a brand align with my values. I’m keeping an eye on this company, because I’m intrigued by their claims and mission. The Honest Company is successfully filling an important niche that few other companies have done—and that’s a big win, in my book.
Becca Tuck is a senior at Kennesaw State University studying Technical Communication. She’s a true crime show enthusiast, podcast junkie, and animal lover, who loves soaking in as much knowledge on linguistic phenomenons as she can. When not at the baseball fields cheering on her two favorite baseball players, you can find her on her website or on Twitter at @beccatuck85.