The Honest Co. built its reputation as an environmentally minded alternative to everyday consumer products such as soaps, lotions and cleaning products — winning over fans and media attention with its celebrity co-founder, actress Jessica Alba.
But the Santa Monica company’s image as a safer brand is being called into question by the Wall Street Journal, which commissioned lab tests that showed Honest laundry detergent contained a harsh chemical the company swore it never used.
The ingredient, sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, is listed as forbidden in the company’s Honestly Free Guarantee, which is posted on its website. The chemical is widely used in toothpaste, shampoo and detergent and blamed for causing skin irritation.
"We stand behind our laundry detergent and take very seriously the responsibility we have to our consumers to create safe and effective products," the company said in an e-mailed statement.