How Honest is The Honest Company?

How Honest is The Honest Company

How Honest is The Honest Company

Marketing Claims:

The Honestly Free Guarantee means (in a nutshell) that “You can rest easy knowing The Honest Company DOES NOT USE health-compromising chemicals or compounds.”

The Honest Company’s definition of “non toxic” is “chemicals that are generally safer for humans and the environment.” While most manufacturers only look at the acute toxic impact of a chemical, The Honest Company also assesses “chronic impacts, exposure routes, unique windows of vulnerability, and a wide spectrum of potential health impacts including carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, allergenicity, neurotoxicity, and more.”

Each product has a “Honestly Free of guarantee” of what that product does NOT contain. The Honest Company keeps a master list of toxic offenders that they will never consider using in their products (and the list keeps growing as they stay on top of the new research in toxicity). Here is a short list of their worst offenders and how the free free guarantee will appear on a label.

Honestly Free Of Guarantee

Honestly Free Of Guarantee



The Investigation:

The positives: The Honest Company has certified organic to food standard products such as Organic Baby Powder, Organic Shave Gel, Organic Body Oil, Organic Lip Balm, Organic Belly Balm, Organic Nipple Balm, Organic Breathe Easy Rub. These products are the same as eating organic food, so these products are good in my book.

However, you will notice that a lot of the ingredients listed in the other products in this range, are synthetic chemicals. A lot of these chemicals are examples of “green chemistry”. Chemicals made under the principles of “green chemistry” have less of an impact on the environment and are generally seen as healthier alternatives to known toxic chemicals.

My concerns are greatest with The Honest Company’s cleaning products. The cleaners in this range contain chemicals such as the following:

  • Phenoxyethanol – is a glycol ether and used as a preservative in products.This ingredient created from benzene and ethylene oxide, both of which are known carcinogens. (source) and (source).  Research shows that Phenoxyethanol is a reproductive toxin and also it affects the ovarian function in the next generation after exposure (source)
  • Methylisothiazolinone – is a known neurotoxin (source)  and has been repeatedly shown to cause contact allergies (source)
  • Sodium Coco Sulfate -The Honest Company claims to be “Honestly Free of SLS”. I have learned from Stephanie Greenwood’s chemistry background over at Bubble and Bee Organics that Sodium Coco Sulfate is very similar to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS starts out with a single fatty acid called lauric acid. Lauric acid goes through chemical processes to create SLS. To create Sodium Coco Sulfate, a blend of fatty acids, rather than a single of fatty acid, is used. In both cases the fatty acid(s) is(are) reacted with sulfuric acid, then sodium carbonate, to create the finished product. So the finished product, Sodium Coco Sulfate is actually is a blend of sulfates, one of which is SLS. Instead of listing them all, it is just called “Sodium Coco Sulfate”. Sodium Coco Sulfate will still have the same concerns of nitrosomine formation, which is a known carcinogen. (source)

I have similar concerns with additional chemicals found in The Honest Company products such as Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propylene Glycol and Benzisothiazolinone.


The Verdict:

Although there are some products within the range that meet my approval criteria, there are several more that don’t.

When I look at a company, I am looking for them to have integrity in everything that they do – through the complete product range to how they do business. Looking at the big picture gives you a better understanding of the of the values driving that company. Consumer dollars speak, and I much rather put my money behind companies that are completely congruent with everything that they do.

For these reasons, The Honest Company does NOT receive my seal of approval. I have requested a statement from The Honest Company regarding my concerns, and I do hope that I hear from them soon.

What are your thoughts? Would you rather support a company that is completely congruent? or are you happy to pick and choose products?

Posted in Babies and Children, Cleaning Products, Personal Care Product
9 comments on “How Honest is The Honest Company?
  1. Celine says:

    Yes I’m concerned about it too and whether get behind a company that really used non-toxic ingredients. Unfortunately I fail and sadly nothing I find in the stores even in the coop where I am at as 100% non toxic. I do what I can and buy less toxic stuff then some of the other stuff. It’s not perfect stuff but I’ve found much worse. I would love if it wasn’t only non-toxic in the store but organic because the natural ingredients in the products still get sprayed with pesticides. If the ingredient has coconuts in them or plant based products. Also I would love to get away from gmo cleaning products as well since it’s not good to dump that down the drain. I like Dr. Bronner’s the best but use it for soap and not for cleaning.

  2. Sarabeth says:

    I am allergic to Methylchloroisothiazolinone & Methylisothiazolinone. The Honest Company posts their ingredient lists online. I wrote the company & asked if their baby wipes contained either chemical & they told me they didn’t. I ended up with a horrible reaction that lasted over three months. They refuse to admit it was their product. MI can be airborn and when applied to other products, “safe” products are affected as well. Honest Company is anything BUT honest. I will never touch any of their products again.

  3. Nikki says:

    Thank you for the “honest” review 😉 Do you know if the company Neal’s Yard Remedies is legit? They use essential oils and claim to be organic. In my own little quest to find truly safe products I narrowed it down to that company and Ava Anderson Nontoxic, but would love to know your thoughts on either of these brands.

  4. kibby byker says:

    I love people who have integrity and ‘man up’ when their products aren’t as pure as they lead us to believe.

  5. Brittany Price says:

    did you get anything back yet from the company on your finding i am very intrested in knowing what they had to say

  6. Brittany Price says:

    also do you recommend any sites or companies that have nothing but good healthy product? can you please email me with a list of companies?

    • Hi Brittany,
      You can see my list of “Dr. Suzanne Approved Healthy Products” on my blog. Check back often for new products reviewed or sign up for my newsletter to never miss a review!

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