Style Quotient | Pinkwashing: Think Before You Buy Pink


Pinkwashing. It sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Pinkwashing is the practice of using the issue of breast cancer to sell more products. Countless brands add the color pink or the presence of a pink ribbon to marketing materials or packaging as an added incentive in the age old quest of getting customers to part with their dollars.

It's for a good cause, right?

Yes, raising public awareness and funds for breast cancer research are very important. However, in the beauty industry, the irony lies in the fact that they pinkwash cosmetics that contain ingredients that may actually contribute to the disease!

It's crazy to support the cause by perpetuating it! Why do these companies continue to pinkwash and think they can get away with it? More importantly, why would they want to?

Some of the largest, most well-known beauty brands out there – ones with the most aggressive pink campaigns and furthest consumer reach – are often the worst offenders. Products with limited edition packaging or bundled with gifts are strategically manufactured for pinkwashing to make the consumer feel more deeply about the product. These tactics persuade shoppers to stock up on products they normally use or entice them to try something new. It's a stroke of marketing genius, really.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Companies can still use pinkwashing as a business tactic and benefit the intended cause without questionable ethics by reducing or eliminating the toxic ingredients in their products – especially the ones with pink ribbons or labels – and still benefit their bottom line. In fact, there are some that do just that.

So, rather than focusing on the negative, I’d like to highlight a few beauty products that have been pinkwashed, but contain either low levels or no toxic ingredients at all, but still contribute money to organizations fighting the good fight.

Juice Beauty - Buy any Juice Beauty product in October and receive a free Pink Reflecting Gloss with the code THINKPINK. Juice Beauty will donate 1% of their October sales to the Breast Cancer Fund Heroes Celebration.

Suki - Purchase the new Eye Lift Cellular Renewal Cream and Suki will donate a portion to Breast Cancer Action.

Arcona - purchase Magic Pink Ice serum and Arcona will donate 25% for every one sold in October to Cancer and Careers.

For more information, check out Breast Cancer Action to learn more about their fight against harmful pinkwashed cosmetics and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for an article on Pink Ribbon Cosmetics.


Photo by Tony Frantz