In recent years, the call for more clean beauty products within beauty retailers has become immensely popular, and many stores have vowed to step up to the plate in terms of commitment to better-for-you products. Sephora is one such company that has made steps to provide customers with more “clean” products. But before you run to your local Sephora in search of the latest and greatest in clean beauty, here’s what you need to know about the class-action lawsuit being filed against this major retailer.
Last week, Sephora found themselves in a bit of hot water after a class-action complaint requesting a jury was filed in New York on the grounds that the company’s Clean at Sephora program misled consumers in terms of how “clean” these products really are. Originally introduced in 2018, Clean at Sephora is an initiative within Sephora locations and online that labels products free of harmful ingredients with a green seal that reads “Clean at Sephora,” ensuring customers that any marked products are of high quality. According to Sephora’s website, “Clean at Sephora is a curation of the very best in clean,” exclusively using their Clean seal to highlight products that have “the highest standards across the industry.”
The class-action lawsuit being filed against Sephora has arisen primarily as a result of the discrepancy between what consumers understand to be clean beauty and what Sephora is labeling as “clean.” According to the suit, the average consumer’s understanding of clean beauty products aligns with that of the dictionary definition of clean which reads as “free from impurities, or unnecessary and harmful components, and pure,” and thus, in the context of beauty, means that products are free of harmful or synthetic ingredients. However, the plaintiff found that “a significant percentage of products with the ‘Clean at Sephora’ [seal] contain ingredients inconsistent with how consumers understand the term,” one such example being the Saie Mascara 101 which, despite having the Clean seal, includes “numerous synthetic ingredients, several of which have been reported to cause possible harms.”
What lays ahead for the future of the Clean at Sephora program is unclear, but this lawsuit brings to light the issues with greenwashing that continue to infiltrate the beauty industry and serves as a reminder to always do our own research, especially when it comes to our personal care products. Stay tuned to NewBeauty.com for details as the lawsuit develops.
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