The Honest Company: Not Quite So Honest?

By now, we’ve all heard of Hollywood starlet Jessica Alba’s venture into commerce as founder of The Honest Company. For many, this is because Honest Co. can’t seem to stay out of the news!

The Honest Company, which promises ‘honestly safe, effective essentials for family and home,’ is no stranger to having their claim of clean and all natural products brought into question. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal ordered two independent lab tests which turned up the cleaning agent Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in their liquid detergent. While The Honest Company maintained that they did not use SLS (but rather, Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS), calling The Wall Street Journal’s reporting “reckless,” many felt the company was splitting hairs, as SCS contains a large amount of SLS.

Last week, after relentlessly arguing its effectiveness, The Honest Company announced they would be introducing a new, SCS-free detergent. “Our internal R&D team, led by Dr. Laurence Dryer, consistently works to innovate across our entire product line while adhering to The Honest Company’s uncompromising safety standards,” wrote Honest Co. in a statement to the press. “As part of this process, we are continuing to work on a new breakthrough cleaning line, including dish care, laundry and household cleaners, utilizing an advanced sugar-based surfactant technology to further improve the efficacy of our products.”

While this seems like a general step in the right direction, it may just be too little too late – after all, The Honest Company hasn’t always done great things for their reputation over the years. For a company on a mission to provide gentle yet effective product lines, this isn’t the first time they’ve put out a product that is seemingly, well, the opposite.

“Hazardous” Formula

Back in April, The Honest Company was hit with a lawsuit claiming that its Premium Infant Formula was being falsely labeled as organic. In fact, the product allegedly contained ingredients that could be deemed “hazardous.” As per a spokesperson for the company, the infant formula had been cleared by the FDA and met all safety and nutritional standards in addition to being certified organic by an independent third-party.

“Ineffective” Sunscreen

Last summer, The Honest Company came under fire for selling “ineffective” sunscreen. Several users began sharing photos of their sunburns online, despite using the SPF 30 sunscreen as instructed. Again, The Honest Company stood by the product, with Jessica Alba personally addressing the issue in a blog post on the company site.

While their responses to controversies (and many a lawsuit) in the past has been lukewarm at best, this time around, The Honest Company may actually be open to major change. Here’s to hoping they haven’t already lost the trust of their consumer.

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