I saw an ad on my Facebook page the other day. I’m sure you did too. Any parent with a child was targeted with Johnson & Johnson’s new marketing campaign for their “Baby Bedtime Bath Wash.” You know … the one with the pretty purple bottle where they tried to passively convince parents everywhere that natural is just a “trend,” that natural doesn’t mean “safe,” and that they’ll never compromise your child’s safety to be natural.
It was a great ad, they just failed to mention that their product is loaded down with harsh chemicals, toxins, and carcinogens, that they couldn’t care less about the safety of our kids, and made claims that simply aren’t true.
Let me break down this ad for you and by the end of it, you can decide whether or not this product should even be in the remote vicinity of your child:
Claim #1: “Some natural ingredients that work for adults are too harsh for babies skin.”
I think we can all agree that there are some natural ingredients in existence that would be too harsh for a baby’s skin … but we have no idea who Johnson & Johnson is comparing their product to or which ingredients they’re talking about.
Are we talking dandelion juice and lavender oil, or the heavy hitters like shea butter and coconut? Exactly which natural products are we using that are too harsh for our babies, because from where I’m sitting, the skin care section of any health store offers numerous “natural” options … none of which have been called to the rug for being too harsh.
Yet the very product in this ad contains harsh chemicals, skin irritants, ingredients known to cause developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicities, and my personal favorite … carcinogens. None of these ingredients should go anywhere near anyone’s skin, let alone a baby’s.
The “Think Dirty” App (that you can download on any iPhone) rates Johnson and Johnson’s Bedtime Bath a NINE … meaning the ingredients contained in the very product featured in this ad have “potential serious negative long-term health effects.” (You can look up any of their other products – all of which yield horrible ratings.)
We’ve got fragrance, Peg-80 Sorbitan Laureate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Peg-150 Distearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Benzoate, and more.
Let’s just break down just one ingredient from the list, shall we? The word “fragrance” represents an “undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate.”
Fragrance is associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system and has been classified as an immune system toxicant and allergen by The Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers, Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, The Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers, and numerous studies. There are over 6,578 studies in PubMed on fragrance and let me tell you, it’s not good.
This is just ONE of the many ingredients in this product. If you still think you’re not being misled by Johnson & Johnson, let’s move on to claim #2.
Claim #2: “We’ll never sacrifice safety to be all natural.”
Johnson & Johnson has mastered the art of marketing and misleading. Maybe they won’t sacrifice your safety to be all natural, but they will sacrifice your child’s safety to make more money, which is why there are over 100,000 pending claims and 17 trials in state and federal courts this year over products that have allegedly caused injuries and death. Recently, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $110 million for failing to disclose the cancer risk from its baby powder and another product. Baby powder … is also used on babies.
They’ve had numerous lawsuits filed against them and their subsidiaries, allegedly knew that their products contained cancer causing ingredients, and sold formaldehyde free versions of their baby products in Europe (but not here). What up J & J? Why are you holding out?
Claim #3: “Natural may be the trend, but safe will always be our bar.”
“Natural” isn’t a trend. “Natural” has been around since circa day one and natural is always better than toxic, synthetic, and carcinogenic. Toxic was trendy for like five seconds until people realized that toxic is harmful.
Now we’re simply going back to our roots. Companies can either get on board with what the people want or spend more money to push misleading ads manipulating the word “natural” to get consumers to buy more of the same.
If safety were the bar, Johnson & Johnson wouldn’t wait for litigation to force them to change their products or practices, they would create safe products from the start and give us what we want.
Safer “Natural” Options You Can Choose Instead
Here are some natural options you can choose from that don’t have harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients:
- Baby Mantra – Rated “1” on EWG’s Skin Deep, “4” on Think Dirty, is Natural Products Association Certified, and is free of toxins, artificial fragrance, preservatives, dyes and chemicals.
- Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shea Butter Shampoo & Body Wash – This product is super affordable and contains 100% fair trade ingredients, moisturizes with coconut oil and shea butter, contains lemon balm, neem leaf, and lavender oil, and is an impressive “3” on the Think Dirty App. They also have a bubble bath that is formulated for babies and one for everyone else.
- Nature’s Baby Organics Shampoo & Bodywash – Safe for babies and adults, contains no synthetic chemicals, moisturizes, and is made with certified organic chamomile, lavender, and calendula.
- California Baby French Lavender Shampoo & Bodywash – This product is a “3” on the Think Dirty App and is hailed by parents of kids with sensitive skin and eczema.
It’s all very simple. Some natural ingredients aren’t best for babies … but natural ingredients are always better. If a company really cares about you and your kids, they’re going to make products that contain natural ingredients that ARE safe for a baby’s skin. Until then, we know that there are at least a bajillion safe, “natural” options to choose from.