Avène Brand Review: Are They Clean & Sustainable?
Avène is a popular French brand with roots going back to 1743. It’s owned by French multinational pharmaceutical brand Laboratoires Pierre Fabre.
The brand is popular worldwide, with representation all over Europe and the US. All Avène products are manufactured in France and distributed all over the world from there.
They promarily focus on skin and body care products, but their namesake product is the Eau Thermale (thermal spring water). Over 150 clinical studies were performed and published on the water, and it’s been used around the world as a skin care product.
The effectiveness of the thermal water is outside of the scope of this review; instead, we’ll be focusing on the three pillars of what we believe makes a brand conscious: ingredients, sustainability, and animal welfare.
Ingredients (Rating: Iffy)
Avène doesn’t claim to be a clean brand, and their lineup of products contains a few ingredients that we recommend avoiding.
Fragrance is a common ingredient in Avène products, and at Better Goods, we don’t recommend products with undisclosed fragrance. Fragrance can contain a large number of potentially harmful ingredients, none of which need to be disclosed due to “trade secret” protection laws for manufacturers.
Another example of an ingredient of concern we found in the brand’s products is the inclusion of triethanolamine (TEA), which has been linked to organ system toxicity and is a known contact allergen.
We also found several ethoxylated ingredients (PEG-40 castor oil, polysorbate-20) which can sometimes be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, potential carcinogens.
Mineral oil is also a common ingredient found in their products. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum, and at Better Goods, we don’t recommend skincare products with this ingredient.
While Avène’s ingredients aren’t awful, the common occurrence of chemical fragrance and a few iffy ingredients requires us to give them a ranking of “iffy” for their ingredients.
Avène products used to contain parabens—questionable preservatives that have been linked to cancer. However, due to customer concern, the brand is removing them from their products as they rework the formulations.
The brand carries two sunscreens in their lineup: a mineral sunscreen and a chemical sunscreen, both of which are SPF 50+.
The chemical sunscreen product contains several offenders on our “avoid” list of ingredients, including octocrylene and avobenzone. These ingredients are damaging to our oceans and coral reefs, plus have been found to actively absorb and accumulate in the bloodstream.
Sustainability (Rating: Avoid)
The majority of packaging the brand uses is virgin plastic and they claim that the packaging is all recyclable, but in today’s reality, most plastic sent to recycling facilities is not recycled. This isn’t necessarily the brand’s fault, but there’s not much to be said for the brand’s dedication to sustainability.
Avene has a section on their website detailing their “Zero-impact Commitment” to the oceans. This page talks about how they’ve been formulating their sun care products to be safe for the oceans. However, as discussed above, their sunscreen has several chemical ingredients that have been proven to be harmful to coral reefs.
The brand isn’t doing much in terms of sustainability, and for this reason, we give them a rating of “Avoid”.
Animal Welfare (Rating: Avoid)
Avène is neither a cruelty-free or vegan brand. Because the brand sells products where animal testing is required by law (namely, China). For this reason, they cannot be considered cruelty-free, and the brand itself even admits that testing is done on animals for some of their products.
The brand might offer some vegan products, but they’re not a vegan brand.
Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Bad” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Avène as follows.
|INGREDIENTS||Iffy – Avène is not a clean brand nor do they claim to be. The products contain a few ingredients we recommend avoiding.|
|SUSTAINABILITY||Avoid – Sustainability and environment is not a priority for this brand. Most products are packed in plastic and there are few meaningful initiatives in place.|
|ANIMAL WELFARE||Avoid – The brand sells products where animal testing is required by law, and is not a vegan brand.|
Overall Rating: Iffy
Avène is a brand that contains some iffy ingredients, receives a sustainability rating of “avoid”, and is not cruelty-free. While they are reformulating their products to remove parabens, their sunscreens still contain harmful chemicals that damage coral reefs. Avène should make more of an effort in terms of sustainability and animal welfare before we can consider them a conscious brand.