The calendar on the wall says it’s Friday! That’s payday here at Bad Science Debunked headquarters, which means it’s time for a crowd favorite: another group shopping trip to FoodBabe.com. Vani Hari, the “Food Babe”, earns a sales commission from purchases we make on Amazon.com after visiting her web site, even if she didn’t recommend the products. It’s rewarding to have an altruistic science researcher like Vani throwing her weight around. A portion of each purchase goes to help struggling penguin colonies at the North Pole.** Or something like that.
Food Babe loves Aubrey Organics and John Masters hair care products and raves about the effects they have on her shiny mane.1 Not coincidentally, the blogger who has been caught selling over thirty-six items that contain the same ingredients she says will kill you also happens to feature both companies prominently on her FoodBabe.com shopping page.2
But Vani Hari hates carrageenan. Apparently confusing the safe food additive with degraded carrageenan, she falsely links it to cancer. Oh, and don’t get any of this so-called toxic substance on your skin! Vani adamantly tells whoever is listening (and many who are patiently trying not to) that toxins in beauty products will be absorbed by the skin, the body’s largest organ.6,7 But hey! Have you heard Hari talk about John Masters and Aubrey Organics hair care products? They’re the bomb!
I see someone in the back of the room raising their hand excitedly. You know what’s coming, don’t you?
Both John Masters and Aubrey Organics use carrageenan liberally in their product lines.
Yes, this is Food Babe, so hypocrisy is the order of the day. Let’s have a look at some products and the Babe’s sales pitches for them, shall we? Here are the ingredients for John Masters Honey and Hibiscus Shampoo:3
Carrageenan! Even though John Masters misspelled it, there’s carrageenan in this shampoo. But Vani Hari says this is a toxin! Food Babe, could you enlighten us on the John Masters hair care products that you claim to have so carefully researched?
“John Masters hair products are simply spectacular”–Vani Hari2
“Spectacular” is certainly one way of describing a skeleton in your own closet, isn’t it?
It doesn’t get much better with Aubrey Organics. Your honor, the prosecution would like to submit into evidence a bottle of Camelia Shampoo:4
As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!” There’s carrageen in this Food Babe product as well, and she claims it’s carcinogenic. But remind the audience… how do you feel about Aubrey Organics products, Vani?
Aubrey Organics Hair Care – They have the most fantastic products that are all safe!–Vani Hari1
“There is a safe shampoo and conditioner for every type of hair from Aubrey”–Vani Hari2
Food Babe throws out accusations of “toxins” with all the care of a cartoon character tossing a boomerang into air and turning to grin at the camera. We all know what’s coming. The loud “thunk!” is the sound of the Babe’s words cycling around to strike her in the back of the head. She essentially claims the products sold on her web site can cause cancer.
“One of the findings has to do with a carcinogenic ingredient all these products have in common, a substance derived from red algae called carrageenan” (emphasis mine)–Vani Hari8
Oh dear. Better not get anything containing carrageen on your skin. Educate the masses, Vani:
“Your skin is your largest organ! What you put on your skin, is absorbed into your blood.”–Vani Hari9
But fear not. There’s nothing dangerous about carrageenan or the shampoos offered by John Masters or Aubrey Organics. Buy them with wild abandon.
Just don’t buy from Food Babe.
I’ve purposely omitted Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo, singled out by Food Babe as a featured item in her online shop, because I used that product in my first “reveal” of Hari’s carrageenan sales earlier this week.5 As I pointed out at the time, Vani Hari is demanding that a certain carrageenan vendor retract their factual claim that she’s profiting from fear mongering over this safe compound. Today, I’m pointing out more Food Babe carrageenan sales to preempt claims from #FoodBabeArmy members who might say that the first catch was just a mistake.
How does Hari hide her hypocrisy from her army? Observe. I tweeted her a polite note about the carrageenan:
I received a reply that I must admit was not entirely unexpected:
**There are no penguins at the North Pole.
(1) Holistic Hair Care: How & Why
(2) Food Babe Shopping
(3) John Masters Honey and Hibiscus Reconstructing Shampoo (retrieved 09 Aug 2016)
(4) Aubrey Organics Camelia Shampoo Ingredients (retrieved 09 Aug 2016)
(5) Food Babe Is Selling Carrageenan
(6) Be A Drug Story Beauty Dropout
(7) So Fresh And So Clean–Skin Care Tips
(8) Watch Out For This Carcinogen In Your Organic Food (FoodBabe.com)
(9) So Fresh And So Clean–Skin Care Tips
Food Babe screen captures, John Masters product/ingredient, and Aubrey Organics/Amazon.com product/ingredient images are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
“Be Vewy Vewy Quiet” parody by Mark Alsip/Bad Science Debunked. Partially derived from content based on/used under parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
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Hey love what you are doing. Foodbabe should be shamed for this blatant hypocrisy. While it’s industry backed, I thought you might find some real science on carrageenan of interest. Shockingly it supports carrageenan safety not Foodbabe’s fear mongering.
Thanks for reading and for the info Nick. I, and I’m sure other readers, will appreciate the info link!
guar hydroxypolitrippywaah?….I can’t pronounce that!
Finding it interesting & refreshing to read articles about the BS I find on the web in the name of science on a daily basis. No I am not a doctor but I do have an undergraduate degree in biology, a lot of chemistry under my belt and a master’s in environmental science. I am not perfect and of course I am no genius but generally I am gobsmacked at some of the things I find and even mor flabbergast at how many people willingly fall onto the bandwagon. I had one friend who would send me fear mongering emails of this type on a daily basis and each time I pointed out the holes in the nonsense. Eventually she stopped communicating with me over this (& well my dislike in the cannabis cures everything/alcohol is legal but causes harm argument). I wish her well but I wish she’d not partake of the Kool-aid that is so readily available. Actually my one wish is that Americans would do their due diligence before jumping on the bandwagon. Thanks for at least putting seeds of doubt into the minds of those that blindly assume that anyone using Dr. is legitimate and that you have to really look at what is being said and SOLD. Hopefully they will make the leap to question everything, including me!!
Thanks for reading an commenting! I look at my writing as a vaccine. It may (unfortunately) be that those like your friend are too far gone to be reached, as are so many here in the USA. But I’m finding them to be a minority. Most of the people I encounter here have never heard of Food Babe. If I can reach them first, when they do come across her infectious nonsense, they’re perhaps better prepared to resist. This is an approach I’ve found to work. 🙂