Dive Deeper Blog

Green-washing is Still Rampant!

It’s never been more important to be an informed consumer!  Sharks are in skincare, and consumers CANNOT trust the words on the front of a hand sanitizer or cosmetic package. 

Yesterday, I did my first Instagram live event for our friends at Shark Allies, announcing that Stream2Sea is the first consumer brand to sport the Shark Free Seal of Approval.  As usual, I was talking about the importance of reading your product ingredients and knowing what you put on your body.   We’ve identified products with squalene that say ‘natural’ and look like a nice eco-friendly product, but contain shark liver by-products.  That’s disgusting, but by educating passionate individuals, I believe we can encourage these companies to make change.  You can learn more about shark-safe products here

Then I woke up early this morning, and was looking at our hand sanitizer pricing.  I know it’s a bit expensive, especially when compared to the chemical-denatured stuff at the gas station.  I googled ‘natural hand sanitizer’ to check out what the competition was doing. At the top of the list was a ‘green, plant based’ product promoting their back to school special.  How can they sell a pure sanitizer for only $1.50?  Our food-grade alcohol with the required essential oils costs nearly that much alone.  Woman-owned.  Cruelty Free.  Made in the USA. Looks good.  I clicked on the link and went to the ingredients.

Simple, looks relatively clean if you don’t know what the ingredients are.  As a cosmetic chemist, three things jumped right out to me:

1. There are no legal denaturants listed.  The FDA requires ‘denaturants’ to make non-beverage alcohol taste bad.  This helps keep our kids and pets safe.  Either they are not included, which wouldn’t be legal, OR they are intentionally left off the label because many are scary.

2. Aminomethyl propanol is a SYNTHETIC high-pH ingredient that can penetrate the skin’s uppermost layers further depleting the body’s natural lipids, and exacerbating dry skin.   This is used to bring up the pH to thicken the third ingredient…

3. Carbomer.  Carbomer is a synthetic polyacrylic acid that is used in many skincare products to create a gel structure.  It needs to be pH adjusted to swell.  Widely used, with the safety widely debated.  Many, myself included, believe this ingredient contributes to microplastics in the environment. 

The informed consumer has to be super diligent today.  I wish it wasn’t this hard for everyone.  I’m sure many people have bought this, supporting the back to school sale, believing they were putting an all-natural product on their child.

I’m not going to debate if this formula is safe or not, but it is definitely NOT natural – and is the FIRST product that came up in my google search for natural hand sanitizer.  I originally wondered how they could sell an all-natural 2 oz bottle of high-quality sanitizer for under $2.00, but I now know.  They can’t and they’re not.

We don’t play games like these at Stream2Sea.  I feel as strongly about what we say on the front of the bottle as what we say on the back of the bottle.  Maybe one day we will have stronger regulations that don’t allow deceptive marketing tactics like these, but in the meantime, you need to read your ingredient labels.  You don’t have to be able to pronounce every ingredient or pick it off a tree for it to be safe.  But if you don’t recognize the ingredient, do a quick google search.  Be informed.  If you are still confused or need guidance, reach out.  I’m happy to help.


Autumn Blum
Formulator & CEO
Phone:  (863) 473-4223  Ext: 108  |  Toll Free:  (866) 960-9513  Ext: 108
Stream2Sea  |  PO Box 907  |  Wauchula, FL 33873  |  USA
From Stream2Sea – Protect WHO you love 


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