While I don’t believe in shining light on brands that are blatantly unethical, or pointing the finger at people on the Internet, I also think it’s important to debunk marketing lies, whether or not they’re told on purpose.
There’s been several controversies surrounding skincare YouTuber Susan Yara’s new brand, Naturium. The main one being something that violates FTC rules. However in this post, I only want to address what’s relevant to my blog: the “vegan” lie.
At minute 2:12 of her announcement video, Susan Yara claims that “the line is vegan and cruelty-free”.
While the line is mostly vegan, “honey” is listed in their ingredient glossary, where they state “nectar of flowers” as its source. Honey is also present in their Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
As we all know, honey is a by-product of bees, which makes it animal-derived. Honey is not considered vegan, and it’s a shocking ingredient to find in a brand that claims to be all-vegan.
Falsely claiming that a product or brand is vegan is a big deal. Unfortunately, “vegan” and “cruelty-free” are marketing buzzwords. Brands sell more products if they make these claims.
This is why I find it unacceptable when a brand makes a false vegan claim: they’re tricking consumers into purchasing a product under false pretences. Brands need to be mindful of these claims, and be absolutely certain that they’re truthful, before making them.
While I don’t think this “vegan” lie was told on purpose, I find it extremely misleading, especially considering the other unethical behavior coming from this brand.
Even after being under fire for their misleading vegan claims, Naturium still lists their Hyaluronic Acid Serum as “vegan friendly” on their website, with an asterisk for “cruelty-free honey”. Honey is not vegan, and it can’t be considered cruelty-free either.
Today, with “vegan” and “cruelty-free” labels being more relevant than ever, brands absolutely need to verify these claims before making them to millions of customers. And even if mistakes happen, they should be corrected.
Update: Shortly after this post was published, Susan Yara reached out to me for suggestions regarding their vegan claims. They have now removed the vegan claim from their non-vegan product, and their About Us section reads: “All of our products are vegan, except for our Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Serum 5% which contains ethically sourced honey.”