Is Good Molecules as “Good” As Its Name Implies? We Investigate
What if the skincare brand you swear by is not as clean and sustainable as it claims to be? The quest for transparency in the beauty industry has never been more critical.
Enter Good Molecules, a skincare company that pledges affordability and science-backed products. But is it all hype, or are they genuinely committed to clean and sustainable practices?
Launched in 2019 by Nils Johnson, the same visionary who gave us the cosmetics e-commerce platform, Beautylish, Good Molecules has made waves in the skincare market.
The mantra driving Good Molecules is “See the difference in your skin,” a bold declaration of the visible results their products are designed to deliver.
Drawing consumers in with a vibrant and playful aesthetic, the brand’s palette dances in bright and pastel hues, exuding a youthful and fresh charm. Inspired by the captivating world of chemistry, their logo cleverly incorporates bubbles designed to mirror molecules, signifying a strong commitment to scientific foundations in their product formulation.
Yet, it’s time to pull back the curtain and scrutinize whether their ethical claims stand up to rigorous analysis. Join us as we dissect the brand’s ethos, products, and sustainability practices to see if Good Molecules really live up to their ‘good’ name.
At Better Goods, we rank brands on our three pillars: ingredients, sustainability, and animal welfare.
Brands are rated on the three pillars as follows:
This ranking is for the best of the best. Only exemplary brands will receive a ranking of best for any category.
This ranking is for brands that are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.
This ranking is for when we find something we find iffy. Not a good sign.
This ranking is reserved for the worst of the worst.
Ingredients (Rating: Iffy)
Good Molecules gives comprehensive details about products. The brand lists the product’s size, pH, vegan status, and other details. It offers options to purchase the product in travel, full-size, or multi-packs.
Good Molecules also provides a detailed list of ingredients for each product. Some products include information about the percentage of each ingredient in the formulation. Product pages also tell customers what version the current formulation is, which shows that Good Molecules improves upon products.
Good Molecules has a detailed ingredient directory on its website, which shows transparency. This ingredient directory lists each ingredient used in the products. It also lists the products with that ingredient, which helps shoppers filter products based on formulations. Some products have gluten-free options. Current formulations have relatively fewer ingredients than some other cosmetics brands we’ve reviewed.
While the directory explains the benefits of each ingredient, it does not explain potential side effects. For example, Good Molecules states phenoxyethanol is anti-bacterial preservative, but does not mention allergies or respiratory issues as potential side effects.
We reviewed the ingredients in 29 of Good Molecules’ current products. Most of the ingredients in the current formulation have little to no hazard. However, besides PEGs and phenoxyethanol, we found a few other products we recommend avoiding:
- Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are included in the directory. Good Molecules makes a vague statement about PEGs, claiming “they can vary widely in size and function.” PEGs are often found in cosmetics because they can stabilize formulations. However, they can be contaminated with carcinogens like 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. Also, some products claim to have no added fragrance, while others do not. This lack of consistency is noteworthy.
- Licorice root extract can cause cardiac and respiratory symptoms in high doses. However, licorice root extract is only in 0.01% of the product. This is a low concentration, which indicates safe usage.
- Chlorphenesin is an antimicrobial preservative that can cause allergies and immunotoxicity.
- Behentrimonium Methosulfate is safe to use in small quantities and when rinsed off, like in the Good Molecules bar soaps. However, it can cause irritation and allergies.
- Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate is a PFAS. PFAS are dubbed “forever chemicals,” which have been connected to serious health issues. They don’t break down easily and can accumulate in the body. Its presence in a Good Molecules product concerns us. PFAS can appear in cosmetics, garments, and nonstick cookware.
- Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is present in some products at 0.11% concentration. Retinol can cause redness and irritation, so we advise a patch test.
- Rosa canina seed oil, lemon, lime, and orange oils are natural fragrances that can cause irritations and allergies.
Sustainability (Rating: Iffy)
Good Molecules states on its website that its products are “safe for the planet.” However, the company does not expand on its sustainability and recycling initiatives or go into detail about how their products are environmentally safe. Many products are manufactured in South Korea, which does not lower Good Molecules’ carbon footprint.
Animal Welfare (Rating: Good)
On Good Molecules’ product pages, the company states that it never tests products on animals. It labels some products as vegan.
Good Molecules is truly a cruelty-free company, according to expert Cruelty-Free Kitty. The brand does not test ingredients on animals at any stage of development. Third-part suppliers follow the same standards. Good Molecules does not sell their products where animal testing is legalized.
Cruelty-Free Kitty reports Good Molecules has some animal-derived ingredients, so it is not a 100% vegan company. Some products have vegan labels, so customers can filter the results.
Final Brand Ratings
Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Avoid” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Good Molecules as follows.
|Ingredients||Iffy||Good Molecules is transparent about its ingredients. Products have their pH listed along with the percentage of ingredients. The company has a comprehensive directory of ingredients. However, when we reviewed 29 of Good Molecules’ products, we found harmful substances like PEGs, PFAS, chlorphenesin, licorice root extract, and retinol. The company only lists the benefits of the ingredients in the directory and not the potential side effects.|
|Sustainability||Iffy||In Good Molecules’ mission statement, the company claims its products are “good for the planet.” However, it does not detail its sustainability further. Most products are manufactured in South Korea.|
|Animal Welfare||Good||Cruelty-Free Kitty confirms Good Molecules is a cruelty-free company. It’s not 100% vegan, but some products have vegan labels.|
Overall Rating: Iffy
Good Molecules is a skincare company that challenges customers to try its products to “see a difference in [their] skin.”
While the company is transparent about its ingredients and includes a detailed dictionary of ingredients, we found some potentially harmful ingredients, including PFAS, PEGs, and phenoxyethanol. We also found ingredients that can cause skin irritation and allergies like retinol, natural oils, chlorphenesin, behentrimonium methosulfate, and licorice root extract.
Good Molecules claims its products are “good for the planet” but does not elaborate on how they’re eco-friendly, which is iffy. It’s a cruelty-free company that is not 100% vegan, but labels some vegan options for customers. The brand’s products are at a more affordable price point than other brands we’ve reviewed.
For these reasons, Good Molecules receives a brand rating of Iffy.