Mommy Greenest Approved

Mommy Greenest Approved: Pristine Beauty Breast Cancer Kiss Off

products that fight breast cancer without toxic chemicals on white backgroundHere’s something that pisses me off: Companies manufacturing with toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer that stick pink ribbons on their products in the name of breast cancer prevention. Each year, I hop on my soapbox to rail against this practice of pinkwashing—most egregiously by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which you can read about here. During the month of October, I regularly share three easy tactics to avoid pinkwashing in food and beauty products as well as the 17 easy-to-avoid chemicals in everyday products that Harvard University identified as causing breast cancer. But there’s one company that I don’t have to worry about: Founded by a breast cancer survivor who realized early on the connection between toxic chemicals and the disease, Pristine Beauty’s personal care products are carcinogen-free and donate to the fight against breast cancer on an ongoing basis. Plus, they’re really, truly awesome. Founded by a breast cancer survivor, Pristine Beauty’s personal care products are free of carcinogens and support the fight against breast cancer–and pinkwashing. And pink. Like 1950s movie star boudoir pink. In fact, that’s the theme of the whole line—a throwback, tongue-in-cheek nod to the postwar products and ads, which (ironically) kicked off this whole toxic era in the first place.

But Pristine Beauty is pink without Komen’s pink ribbons—because when you’re a breast cancer survivor with alliances to the Cancer Prevention Coalition and the Young Survival Coalition, who needs those? From their very first day of operation, Pristine Beauty has donated 10% to these organizations. This is pink without pinkwashing–because nobody needs that.

I first discovered Pristine Beauty skin and hair products nearly a decade ago, wrote about their delicious orangesicle-scented deodorant on EcoStiletto–since then, I’ve loved everything I tried. So when founder Blaire Kessler reached out with information on their antioxidant-rich Suga Suga Woo Woo! Facial Exfoliating Polish and super-hydrating, glossily gorgeous Movie Star Kiss Natural Lip Shimmer, I knew I had to share.

As Pristine Beauty is also offering free shipping through the month of October, consider this your opportunity to achieve the perfect pucker–and tell breast cancer to kiss off.

Feeling lucky? Three Mommy Greenest readers will win the Pristine Beauty kiss-off combination, worth $40. You can enter here, by answering the question, “What do you hate about pinkwashing?” in comments, below. I know this community will have some creative answers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was sponsored by Pristine Beauty and meets the standards I’ve established to endorse a brand as “Mommy Greenest Approved.” Click here for more about Editorial Standards.


  • Alona Y

    Using these toxic chemicals at all is infuriating. Then taking it a step further and putting pink ribbons on your products is just a whole nother level entirely. ARGH! How in the world do we have such lax laws and regulations to allow this to happen? I believe in consumer awareness but the catch is we shouldn’t HAVE to be so vigilant in uncovering these kinds of things in the first place.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Totally agree! But there are great products that support the fight against breast cancer, like Pristine Beauty. It’s too bad we have to be detectives when it comes to chemicals in products though!!

  • Jennifer S.

    I’m really torn on this subject. Part of me is happy to have attention to the cause and some donated money is better than none. And, unfortunately, I don’t expect companies to change their formulas specifically for the products they sell for the cause. But it is hypocritical that they use harmful products at all. Yes, it’s cheaper, public companies have to answer to shareholders re profits, etc., etc. It’s the whole system that needs tweaking. That said, it’s great that there are companies that do the right thing. All the time. Slowly but surely, I think more and more people will move their attention to them.

    But what gets me most upset? That this kind of pinkwashing behavior adds fuel to conspiracy theorists that believe that everyone/everything is solely “out to get us.” They’d say these companies purposefully are using toxic chemicals and trying to get people sick so that they continue to profit on such sales, that doctors give people chemo because they’re in it with pharmaceutical companies, etc. Don’t people know that doctors have lost plenty of their own loved ones to horrible diseases even after giving them the same toxic regimens because there aren’t better options? Do you really think that they do so because they’re “in” with pharma (which does spend untold billions trying to develop drugs for all sorts of medical maladies, many of which never make it to market so they’re always at risk of never making a penny on years of work?) I wish things were so simple, but I don’t always see everything as black or white — or all evil. Education is key; no one is making people buy specific brands, after all. So keep up the good fight, and people will evolve. Just not as quickly as we’d like.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Wow thank you so much for taking the time to think this out and share it here! I agree–education is key for everyone, doctors as well as consumers.

  • RC

    I too and very disturbed by the “racket” this Pink ribbon thing has become. You probably already know that the pink ribbon did not start out as pink. The pink ribbon actually started life as a peach colored ribbon and the first person to use it as a symbol of solidarity with those diagnosed with breast cancer, was a lady called Charlotte Haley. Charlotte just wanted to raise awareness, get the word out and she would hand out little cards, five at a time, with a message and a peach ribbon that she put on it. Not for money, but just to raise awareness. In 1991, the Editor in Chief of Self magazine and the Senior VP of Estee Lauder were getting things together for their breast cancer awareness month. They approached Haley and she said that they could not use her symbol since they were too commercial. They decided to consult lawyers and were told to change the color to pink and “steal” Haley’s idea! Thus a big money making machine was born of Big Corp! Samantha King, in her 2006 book, Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy tells how breast cancer has been transformed from a serious disease and individual tragedy to a market-driven industry of survivorship and corporate sales pitch.
    It is so shameful that it is used to lull people into thinking that they are really helping women with breast cancer instead of supporting corps that make the very thing that causes it!!

      • RC

        Well, then I am SO glad I shared with you. You know how sometimes you think that “they MUST know that already”??? Well, I almost did not post cause I thought you probably already knew that. But, something told me to post it anyways just in case others had never heard it. If you google pink ribbon, most of what pops up is about the “start” in 1991 by Estee Lauder campaign. Info about Charlotte Haley is hard to find in relation to it. But she is the REAL start of ribbons to raise awareness, a real advocate for the cause. I don’t think she would feel badly that she is not famous, but rather that the “idea” has become what it has!! As you say, Pinkwashing anything and everything to sell products full of junk! 🙁

  • amybelle2001

    What’s annoying about pinkwashing is that it’s dishonest, nonsensical greed. Dishonest because it’s misleading the consumer, nonsensical because the manufacturers allegedly support breast cancer research but are using ingredients/processes that contribute to that same cancer, and greedy, which is self-explanatory. In general, I don’t buy items just because the manufacturers allegedly support some charity because (1) I’m not sure the charity actually contributes in a significant way to the cause it espouses (I worry that the money goes to executives and then to marketing and then finally the bare minimum trickles down to research/aid) and (2) I feel that manufacturers use this as a ploy to bump up prices on the same product for no good reason other than profit.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      I totally agree. I like to research the brand’s commitment and see where it comes from–and what they’re pledged to. I think Pristine Beauty is a great example of a company doing the right thing!

  • antoinette

    I’m a breast cancer survivor and I’m sadden to know so many national breast cancer organizations actually contribute funds towards research, education and treatment support. I’m angered when the bc organizations support companies that have products that contribute to cancer. I’m very careful about what I buy and which organizations I support because I don’t just one penny of my donation to go to the cause and the other 99 cent to support the CEO.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, Antoinette. It’s so great that you do your research! Let’s keep supporting companies like Pristine Beauty which are doing the right thing 🙂

  • Cam

    The greed of the companies that do the pink washing upset me the most. Usually the ingredients that are the most dangerous are used because they are also the cheapest. And then they try to profit by pretending they care about an illness they helped cause. Very sad.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      I agree! It’s so sad, but I feel like the change is starting–people are becoming more aware and choosing better products that really do support the cause without carcinogens, like Pristine Beauty. Thanks for commenting!

  • Brittney Minor

    Companies really don’t care about what is in their products, yet they slap a pink ribbon on it because they will donate .10 to the charity! When ironically, their product may be putting people at risk for cancer.

  • Jessica

    What pisses me off most beyond the simple fact of pinkwashing, is why just breast cancer? Enough already! It almost makes it like a commodity, a trend, and a medical condition such as that should never be seen, or marketed as such.
    And really, let’s start bringing some awareness to other illnesses.
    I’m a nurse. I have seen, and have personal experience, with what breast cancer can do, but there is so much more the world needs to know about.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Yes this is true, there are so many other illnesses that deserve attention. I think breast cancer, because it affects so many of us, is just really visible.

    • LaRae Longbottom

      I so agree with Jessica’s Oct. 9 comment. Our family has even been directly effected by breast cancer, but
      I think we are doing victims of other forms of cancer and other scary diseases, in general, a huge disservice by focusing so much of our attention, time, and money on this one form.

  • Kelly

    The hypocrisy pisses me off! It’s appalling how companies sell products with ingredients that have been shown to CAUSE breast cancer! As the Gerson Institute calls it, ‘carcinogens for the cure.’ ‪

  • Kim Cage

    What really ticks me off is that so little actually goes into research! Seriously, by now you would think
    we would have a cure! Great to hear about this company!

  • Ellen DeFrancesco

    It’s just a marketing trick and at the expense of women. I live in Long Island and we have a HUGE rate of breast cancer. People try to do the right thing and support the “pink ribbon” but it’s doing nothing to help eradicate breast cancer.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Yes, I HATE that about pinkwashed products–pink ribbon + carcinogens do NOT help anybody! That’s why I love Pristine Beauty, it’s a win win!

  • Laura

    Oh my gosh the packaging is enough to make me want to buy it! Looks great for gift giving too!! Refreshing change from the usual Eco product look. 🙂

  • Josie

    It bugs me so much! How much of that money is actually going to where it should? it’s never a great enough percentage to make me buy a product

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      So glad to have helped you GET informed Itzel 🙂 It’s great that so many of us are starting to look beyond marketing to what products are really about!

  • jan

    I think that Pinkwashing trivializes the cause and leads to more of the buyer beware which shouldn’t even exist to the extent that it does. If a company makes a claim or uses a label, consumers shouldn’t have to research the validity of that claim/label.

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