I am so thankful that we have the ASA keeping a weather eye over the beauty industry – I get a little update every week, and amongst the usual suspects there are occasionally some surprises in there. It really was a surprise to find NEOM Candles falling foul of the regulatory body, but it’s not as simple as you might think. Basically, NEOM are no longer allowed to call their candles organic, for the very simple reason that there is no organic standard for candle wax. This state of affairs is more indicative of the various organic bodies than it is of NEOM, although you have to ask whether, knowing there is no standard, any candle should be labelled organic.
NEOM products are certified with the Soil Association at 70% or above so the issue is only about the candles, and no other products, which are and can be labelled organic. The candles are 100% natural. NEOM say that they’re disappointed by the ruling because the candles meet the generally agreed definition of an organic product. It is only because organic certification bodies do not certify candles that there is nobody to officially verify the claims. The organic bodies really need to sort this out, for the sake of the brands as well as consumers.
It’s not so long ago that Dior Mascara and L’Oreal Revitalift fell foul of the agency. I’m hoping that it hasn’t escaped anybody’s notice that Rodial once again have had an on-line ad banned by the ASA because they couldn’t supply evidence to back up their claims – I think it’s their 8th time. NEOM could supply a raft of evidence, but because no regulatory body could back it up, they’ve ended up with a slap on the wrist.
So, it shows that no two ASA rulings are the same and that beauty is a quagmire of inconsistency. Personally, I’d be finding some kind of level of ‘wrist slaps’ ranging from a tap to a punch. And, I know who I’d be punching. And before the Rodial crew jump all over this post, the last time I posted, one of their senior employees labelled me Boring Bullish Bitch on Twitter but lost his sense of humour when called out on it, and lovely Mrs Rodial made fun of the question of Size Zero cream with this charmer: MrsRodial1:08pm via TweetList Pro “We should do a money back guarantee if @rodialskincare #SizeZero doesn’t turn you into anorexic withing 10 days of applying #lolz#bbloggers“. (Even the day before yesterday, I was tweeted by a Rodial rep to ‘Bore Off’ for retweeting the ASA story that’s in all the papers.) It pretty much went on like that for an entire evening but I’ll spare you the gory details. All I can say is that NEOM wouldn’t do that, Dior wouldn’t do that and L’Oreal wouldn’t do that.
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Gutted for the lovely Neom. Does this mean they have to relabel & package all their candles -or is it not as strict as that? And isn’t their brand Neom Organics? So can they still call it a Neom Organics candle even though the candle isn’t organic per se?
Tee hee at the rest of your post!
No, they can’t use the word Organic in association with any candle, but can continue to do so with the rest of their range.
Love these posts from you – so informative & I don’t think you’re biased against Rodial – it’s just that they’re a controversial brand who insist on ridiculous lies & advertising claims – the fact that they’ve been pulled up on this time & time again just proves this! x
Ridiculous lies? Haven’t you tried snake serum? How can it be a lie? I’ve used this and will continue to do so as its the only product I’ve ever actually thought makes a difference! I follow *british beauty blogger currently but won’t be in future! Too many times I’ve seen *hater comments that I don’t believe a good blogger would be so tied up in…… Maybe she should reconsider?
I have commented on previous Rodial posts that Jane has written and will continue to do so as I do not believe that Rodial are in any way an ethical company and think that their approach to women is frankly disgusting.
She isn’t involved in what I would describe as hater comments or trolling. She writes very clearly her reasons for not liking specific products as well as the company as a whole. Her criticisms are not unfounded, as shown by the ASA ruling. She does not engage in pointless mud slinging at specific people. She does not call them names. She merely explains why in her opinion certain products, names and advertising are unacceptable.
In contrast the actions of the Rodial employees (who you will note are not named with the exception of the company founder) are what I would consider to be trolling. Responding to a retweeted story, which was published widely in both online and digital media, with “Bore off” is insulting and unnecessary, As for calling someone a “Boring Bullish Bitch”, how is that necessary? If they had addressed the points Jane had made then maybe a grown up conversation could have been had but their reaction was closer to the actions of a playground bully.
Personally I refuse to use anything by Rodial because I disapprove completely of their marketing tactics. It doesn’t matter to me how good the products might be, they always aim their marketing at the lowest common denominator. They aim to belittle women and promote unhealthy behaviour. How can they justify anything called “crash diet” when crash diets have been so widely proven to be the unhealthiest form of dieting? And after all the publicity over whether the advent of the size zero phenomenon, is calling a cream Size Zero not just insulting to women? As for Mrs Rodial’s tweet that they should offer a money-back guarantee if size zero doesn’t turn someone anorexic within ten days of using it? I get that she was being sarcastic but anorexia and related eating disorders are never, ever a joking matter. They kill people. How can she joke about that?
There is so much pressure from the media for women to be slim. And all these creams and lotions and potions offering slimmer, smoother thighs, bums and tums don’t help because they are snake oil. They sell a false promise. But the Rodial marketing, calling them Tummy Tuck, Crash Diet, Skinny Sticks, Size Zero… It’s hideous. It just adds to the idea that these are things we need to be attractive.
I was pleased and unsurprised when Rodial were smacked on the wrist by the ASA but very displeased that NEOM were as they are a company I know and trust. They communicate brilliantly with their consumers and I know enough of Nicola Elliott, the founder, to be sure that her perspective is on supporting women through the use of aromatherapy and scent rather than belittling them through shock tactic names and publicity seeking marketing.
But to Louise and Stacey (who comments later on) maybe you missed something but this blog is entitled “British Beauty Blogger”. That means it is Jane’s opinions on whatever she chooses to write about. If that happens to be Rodial then so be it. It is her choice. It doesn’t make her a bad blogger or unprofessional; this is her blog and she can write what she damn well pleases! It’s one of the joys of blogging, you aren’t constrained as to what you have to write about as you would be if it were a print media with an editor to justify your decisions to.
Oh gosh. Rodial do not sound like a very classy act to me. Perhaps I’ve got no sense of humour either. But I don’t think anorexia is that hilarious.
I really don’t think @mrsrodial’s tweet was intended to be taken this way. It was simply a comeback to ridiculous claims about her brand. I follow her on twitter and love her updates and happen to think Rodial is a great brand. One of my favourites to be honest, and a great price. I thought you were supposed to review products as a blogger. It is absolutely evident that you don’t like this brand and frankly, it just shows unprofessional ism on your behalf……
I absolutely respect your right to love any brand you want. As a blogger, there is no remit.. I am not *supposed* to do anything: it’s always what crops up on a daily basis.
But fighting fire with fir is what children do…… This article claims that brands are acting on what’s been written about them. Freedom of speech. And I like a brand that are involved on a personal level with the public. No wonder ‘Dior wouldn’t do it….. Loreal wouldn’t do it….’ They’re CEOs aren’t interested in feedback! They’re interested in the £££££ nothing but…..
Can I jump back in – one anorexia joke I might raise and eyebrow at, disapprove and forget about later. But backed up with products with such “tongue-in-cheek” names as Crash Diet and Size Zero, I really think it IS “intended to be taken this way” – as a joke. But I really don’t think it’s funny, and that’s my opinion. Just as Jane is quite right to have an opinion and to express it on HER OWN blog.
Gutted about Neom, that does seem really unfair. Although hopefully anyone with one single brain cell with totally see that they’re in an entirely different league to Rodial. I totally agree with you by the way – being a journalist who has spoken to former PR people at both Rodial Nip + Fab nothing would surprise me regarding what they get up to or how they do it (I know for a fact most people would be shocked if they knew half of what goes on) I just think those two brands and the people behind them are in a league of their own. ASA need to clamp down a lot harder, and perhaps sort things out so things are a little fairer on more respectable brands such as NEOM. Bring on the pro-Rodial ranters….
Bad times for Neom but urgh Rodial… talk about making their own bed… over and over and over…
Sorry to hear about NEOM Organics candles as they are amongst our favourite and we hope the Soil Association will widen its banding soon to include this category. However, this does highlight the problem of organic standards in beauty and personal care products. Our client Dr Bronner’s which has its HQ in the US has been campaigning on this for many years and particularly clean labeling. There is a useful chart on Dr Bronner’s website which compares the US and European Organic & Natural personal care standards which is worth a look at. As you will see, standards vary considerably! http://www.drbronner.com/usda_organic_body_care.php
Nice to know that Rodial are basically killing their brand with this kind of nastiness. It’s that kind of unprofessional behaviour that gets them a reputation as a bunch of creeps, and those things spread. First it’s a little ‘dirty secret’ among the blogging community, then they’re saying nasty things on Twitter (which the entire planet can read, Rodial!) and the next thing you know, people will stop buying their products. (Because IMHO nobody would actually believe that a cream will make you thin. Weightwatchers and half of Harley Street would go out of business.)
Again, I think you need to think about this. Rodial’s cream doesn’t make you thin! It is designed to smooth the texture of the skin to give a great toned look. Maybe, you know, since its your job, you may do some research before slating this amazing brand! I’m heavily involved in the beauty industry and wouldn’t dare pass a nasty comment about a product before doing my research and actually using the thing in question. I hate that I read this about things I like. I’ve studied Skincare for the past 7 years at university level and can say that the claims are true! It usually does what it says on the tin, with some playful wording of course! That’s why Rodial are winning! That’s why they get my cash!
And yet Maria tweets she has dropped a dress size using it? Explain…
Triple action formula…..Ingredient PRO-SVELTYL – encourages the reduction of stubborn fatty deposits = smaller waist. (Couple of brands use a similar technology to my knowledge) Use it bbb seriously, it’s cool. Me and friends have fell in love and are waiting for the next release. Whatever they call it. #don’t judge a book by its cover….. I know your opinions can’t always be the same as mine, I enjoy reading your blog but sometimes I don’t think certain brands get fair treatment… I’ve used some stuff in the past that really deserved to be slated, but not this 😉
I have always rated their Glam Balm, and have said so many times. But, you are right, I haven’t used the product yet.
First off very upset for NEOM as a lovely brand and the PR team are a delight and completely get bloggers ……….. but jeez Rodial enough with the spam – yes fake comments under aliases names etc they amount to bullying – I will not engage or point fingers as I am not the jerk whisperer and Jane is completely right with her comments about the Rodial brand.
your now looking foolish Rodial
My feelings on the matter are well-known. A couple of things in response to some commentators though.
The joy of being a blogger is that there are NO rules. You cannot be dictated to. By anyone.
And Rodial has no clinical trials to prove scientifically that anything ‘works’. If they did they wouldn’t have been hauled over the coals by the ASA so often.
As for Maria’s tweets – which I saw at the time – where is the joke in anorexia? And where is the joke in taking the piss out of people who have paid over the odds for your product?
It’s rude, it’s insulting and to a lot of people, offensive.
So sad for NEOM. Love the products and the company and Nicola. Very unfair.
Stacey, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, but thank you for your comments; debate is always welcome x
Gosh, Rodial and their little gremlins are all sorts of classy aren’t they?
I do feel bad for NEOM but you can kind of see how ASA’s hands are tied. Maybe this will push for a review of the wax thing.
Having made comment somewhat controversially myself about them, I do find it rather churlish that representatives of Rodial take it upon themselves to personally attack individuals about, as you rightly say, your absolute right to speak as you bloody well feel. This is the very essence of blogging/bloggers and why I find bloggers so exciting, and a really valuable part of comment and opinion about so many things, not just beauty. It saddens me that any brand would condone that kind of attack, and make no attempt at even a half decent apology. However much they disagree with your opinion. Poor show.
I guess they just feel really protective of the brand… but it’s kind of not what you say but how you say it I think. xx
What I hate the most is that every time you express your opinion about Rodial on here, or anyone else comments expressing their opinion, they get jumped on by Rodial employees/associates, essentially telling them they’re wrong.
I actually liked a couple of their products for what they were (names aside.. I understand they’re going for tongue in cheek, but all I think is bad taste), but these bullying tactics – which Im sorry Rodial but if youre reading this, thats how it comes across – have turned me right off the brand. Also as someone who has suffered from an eating disorder I think for the head of a company to make a ‘joke’ like that is truly disgusting, and I certainly won’t be buying any Rodial again.
So no Rodial PR products for you to review then……ah well !!!!
Love it when all the Rodial lapdogs come out to play. How intriguing that mere customers would be so up in arms about some negative blog posts – in fact, downright suspicious.
Those of us who find the products lacking are within our rights to say so and to call the company out on their outlandish claims. The purpose of a blog is for the owner to express her opinion – that’s why Jane’s readers come here, to read her opinions about various products, whether we agree or not – so those of you Rodial “customers” attacking her for doing just that are demonstrating the true colours of the brand and it’s followers.
The claim that Dior and Loreal are just after the money implies that Rodial isn’t. Hilarious. Most entertaining – keep it up please!
As an aside, I’m astonished that studying skin care for 7 – 7!!! – years at the “university level” is even possible. Wouldn’t you, by that time, be some sort of real scientist, and beyond believing that a cream will make you thin?
BTW, “freedom of speech” is great but it means that you also have to suffer the consequences of what you say in the name of this “freedom”.
When I previously read your update about Rodial and their Size Zero cream, I can’t say I approved of the name and I definitely understood where your concerns where coming from. Aside from that, I didn’t think anything more of it.
Since your last post, I found out in December that the sister of an old friend from school died as a result of anorexia. No matter how little I’d known her in recent years, it still hits you hard when someone you know dies. So naturally my view has changed. No, it is no laughing matter and Mrs Rodial should be ashamed of herself for that ridiculous tweet.
An acceptable way through this for Neom might be to call their candles ” Candles from Neom Organics” and alongside the product information such as weight, ingredients list etc put a simple sentence that says that there is no official organic classification for candle products.
On the subject of skin creams, I have spent a lifetime encouraging the reduction of stubborn fatty deposits, but sadly they only ever respond to diet and exercise.
The ASA is neutral and unbiased; they can’t ban ads willy-nilly even if they are Rodial. No matter how many science names are made up by a brand, if they have no proof to back it up, they can’t make the claims. End of. If you agree with the names etc or not is totally personal, but if years of research went into product development, I’d expect proof. The ASA gives chances to provide evidence and make a counter case, and as far as I know they only act after a complaint.
In the case of the Dior ad, I believe it was L’Oreal who made the only complaint and that was about digital enhancement, not false/unproven claims. Shame, since the ad was beautiful.
Honestly, if a company really puts effort into R&D, I expect them to have scribbled some notes to have been able to show the ASA if required, especially with a track record like theirs!
The twitter and product names and whatnot I won’t comment on. Perhaps if they were a little more professional Rodial wouldn’t have either. Ahem.
Neom shows that clearer regulations are needed and possibly international standards. Hope they didn’t have to pay a fine and can “just” recall and relabel existing stock and update it for the future.
I’m quite shocked by some of the comments. I’ve not used Rodial so think I’m pretty unbiased – some of the comments here sound suspiciously ‘vested interest’ to me. I agree that they sound as though they’re written by Rodial associates. I’ve never really seen people get *this* worked up about a different opinion about skincare before.
As ever, thanks for some valuable info, BBB. I find your posts really helpful. I have no idea whether Rodial ‘works’ for some people or not but I can’t say I’m impressed by the dearth of evidence and apparently aggressive attitude to nay-sayers.
Neom organics will always be just that to me, regardless of what the packaging says as they are the only natural candles I have purchased that actually fill the room with scent.
I used a few Rodial products for about a year, then realised I was wasting my money and moved on to more natural beauty products. I’m not keen on my skin feeling coated. Each to their own, I know many people that swear by the brand, especially those with very dry skin. Personally after seeing their responses through social media I will happily wipe my hands of the brand.
Hi All, team Neom here. We just wanted to thank you all for your support and to Jane for writing such a fair piece. Just thought it might help to hear our thoughts direct.
We are really disappointed by this ruling as we proved that our candles meet the generally agreed definition of an organic product i.e. something that is 100% natural and free from any chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides. We were able to provide supporting certificates to prove this but the decision was made that because certification bodies do not certify candles, there are no bodies to verify our claims. Obviously this is a really disappointing decision and we are going to approach the various certification bodies and ask them to consider recognising candles.
Nicola and the Neom team would be happy to chat through this if anyone needs extra info but as we say, Jane’s done a great job anyway! We will be fighting this decision, for the sake of correct labelling everywhere. x
I’ve often admired Neom in stores – I think you have beautiful products.
Reading Jane’s post I assumed that Neom body products were certified organic by the Soil Association. However, reading your FAQ I see that you use organic ingredients but none of your products are certified.
Is there a reason why? I’d have thought that since you do all the hard work in making products to organic standards and so frequently reference the Soil Association, wouldn’t it make sense to go that small extra step and certify your products?
I actually welcome the ASA ruling, although shame it had to be a nice company like yours that was at the firing end of it! It means that companies can’t call their products organic if they aren’t certified and/or contain a high proportion of organic ingredients.
I think the ruling will help to increase consumer confidence in organic products – there’s always a worry that companies are playing fast and loose with organic definitions and using the term simply to justify a premium price point, but without going to the effort and expense to ensure their products are organic.
Hi Denise – You are correct, all of our body care products contain a minimum of 70% or above organic ingredients, and these ingredients we use do happen to be certified by the Soil Association. We’re always as transparent as possible and on the retail cartons of our products we clearly label the percentage of the ingredients are certified organic and what percentage is natural. So for example our body lotions are made from 95% certified organic ingredients and 5% natural ingredients.
Unfortunately, as you mention, some companies do call their products organic when perhaps just 1% of the products ingredients are organic, which is completey crazy! Every product of ours is made up of a minimum of 70% certified individual ingredients. You are right though that our final, finished products don’t carry the Soil Association logo, this is for a few reasons – SA will only let you use ingredients that are on their ‘ingredient list’ (which changes regularly). For a company that is trying to be innovative, that is incredibly restrictive – we want to be finding and sourcing new ingredients, not just working from a list of existing ones – we can’t be progressive as a brand if we do that.
We think it’s important to be as transparent as possible and clearly state what percentage of our body care products are certified organic by the Soil Association and what percentage is natural, plus clearly state the ingredient list in as many places as possible, encourage women in general to start understanding ingredients like they do with food items. We also stick to a strict Neom promise that all of our body products do not contain any petrochemicals, parabens, PEGS, silicone, SLS, silicone, or synthetic fragrances/ingredients what-so-ever.
Hope this answers your question and really thank you for your post and feedback.
Just a few fact-checks here.
1. there is no ‘approved list’ from the Soil Association.
2. The SA does allow natural, non-organic ingredients to be used in certified products. Their only stipulation is that if said ingredients can be sourced in an organic form manufacturers have to use that version of them. That’s very different to what Neom are saying though.
3. Products are either certified organic or they are not. To be quite clear, Neom’s are not.
Marketing yourself as certified organic when you are not is greenwashing.
Thanks for your post Maggie. As you say the SA stipulate certain versions of certain particular ingredients must be used (which changes) and like we mentioned we often find this restrictive.
We do not green wash anyone, to the contrary we clearly state (in as many places as we can) what % is of organic (minimum of 70%- and the % is always certified by the SA) ingredients and what % is natural.
Can you give an example of where the SA would prevent you from using an ingredient that you want to use?
Jane’s original post states that “NEOM products are certified with the Soil Association at 70% or above”. A brand repeatedly claiming transparency perhaps should have corrected her on that point rather than let her (and her readers) believe it to be true.
Just to reiterate/clarify a few points here.
1. The Soil Association does NOT have a restrictive list of ingredients
brands must choose from. It is untrue to claim otherwise.
2. The SA requires that if an ingredient is available in certified organic
form, then the organic version must be used. If it is not available in
organic form the SA does NOT prohibit the use of it.
3. The SA will only ever prohibit an ingredient if there is a very good reason to do so. i.e. if it is genetically modified or deemed potentially toxic, such as nano-ingredients. If you choose to use such an ingredient, you do not have to certify that particular product.
Organic kitemarks from established industry bodies such as Soil Association, ECOCERT and USDA give customers the absolute reassurance that companies’ organic ingredient claims are true and verifiable. These bodies conduct annual inspections to product manufacturing sites to ensure compliance.