The Honest Company Hydrogel Cream

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Melanie Namkung
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The Honest Company is known for the clean ingredients in their products, deeming it safe and sustainable. The Hydrogel cream is a best-seller and even has two beauty awards. However, the company does not appear to live up to its sustainable image. The Hydrogel cream contains an ingredient known as Squalane, which is most often sourced from sharks. There is no label indicating that the Squalane in this product is plant-derived. Label transparency seems to be the main issue as the company has faced lawsuits in regards to the ingredients in their products. Greenwashing is present as the company does not live up to their word but continues to use their “sustainable” qualities as the main component that sets them apart from other competitors. There is barely any information regarding the production process, making me suspicious about their ethical practices. The only sustainable aspect of the product is the packaging. The packaging is made with recycled material and can be recycled once more. Overall, the lack of transparency speaks for itself. If the company cannot be honest about its practices with their consumers, there often is a reason behind this. The product may excel in serving its role as an excellent skincare product, but it sure cannot do the same as a sustainable one. 

What it's made of:


The main concerning ingredient in the hydrogel cream is Squalane, which is a type of hyaluronic acid- a feature that appeals to customers due to its hydrating and moisturizing qualities. Squalane can come from shark liver and is the major reason why “more than 50 shark species” are killed. Squalane can be sourced from plants, but it is found in much higher concentrations in sharks. The only way to ensure that Squalane is not sourced from sharks is through labeling. Products should indicate that all ingredients are plant-derived or provide a certified vegan label, both of which are not provided on the hydrogel cream. The packaging of Honest products are made with 100% post consumer recyclable materials. According to the company’s website, they plan to use tree-free paper that is 100% recyclable by the end of next year.

How it's made:


The company is not very transparent about their production process. They state that they value the importance of upholding the rules of the Good Manufacturing Practices, which is a broad and vague outline of their production process. The company does not provide any details, making it difficult to believe whether these guidelines are indeed upheld.

Who makes it:


The Honest Company is committed to selling organic products that are safe for their customers and the environment. They have partnered with many philanthropic organizations in order to give back to communities that have been affected by major crises, such as COVID, by providing essential products. Their concern for the environment extends to their headquarters, which is LEED certified: a global certification that recognizes the efforts to create an eco-friendly structure. On top of that, the company provides green amenities such as public transportation and bike commuting for their employees. In regards to their ethical practices, they do not provide much information, but they do state that they “try to maintain conflict-free sourcing.” However, this comment does not provide any details and any sense of confidence. Despite the sustainable image they advertise, the Honest Company has faced a couple lawsuits as the ingredients in certain products were labeled as organic but believed not to be organic. There has also been additional complaints from customers reporting that mold was found in some of the baby wipe products and that the baby powder was causing eye and skin infections. The company states that they uphold label transparency, but clearly this is hard to believe for there have been many negative accounts and claims regarding their ingredients.