Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dear Burt's Bees: an open letter.


I've used Baby Bee Diaper Ointment on my babies for more than twelve years.  With a little one (or two) in diapers that entire time, that has added up to a LOT of ointment!  I usually buy in bulk, enough to last for a year or more.  When I ran out recently I bought a single new, chubby tube.  It was cute, handy at the store, and I didn't realize it was 1/3 smaller than the last of the tall, skinny tubes I had just emptied.  I noticed the fragrance of calendula when I first applied it, and loved the thought that you had improved your product.  Your ointment has been my go-to for whatever rashes my babies' skin can throw at me . . . and I always see dramatic improvement immediately.

Until now.

I've just struggled with a firey-hot, skin-peeling, angry red rash on my littlest guy for two weeks . . . still using the Baby Bee Diaper Ointment, slathering it on thicker and thicker, thinking it never failed me before, that it must be the different diapers I just bought, and with the addition of calendula to the formula, should work even better.  I tried two different brands of diapers, switched back to cloth, and none of it made a difference.  Two nights ago in desperation, after running out of that newly-purchased tube of ointment, I bought a tube of Bordeaux's all-natural stuff . . . and the rash is gone.  In bewilderment, I found the empty tube of Burt's Bees ointment where I had tossed it into the diaper changing caddy, and read the ingredients, only to discover that comfrey is no longer a part of your formula.  That renders the ointment so much less effective . . . and in this latest case of mine, completely ineffective.  Calendula smells wonderful, has great healing properties, but it lacks the powerful anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties of comfrey.

I'm so disappointed.  (That's an understatement.)  The wonder product I've given as shower gifts (many times) and urged friends to try (many times!) is now unreliable.  Your product size has dropped by 1/3 (local stores now only sell 2oz tubes), the price has increased by 1/3 (now $8 instead of $6), roughly doubling the price per ounce from $2 to $4.  I know that prices are increasing everywhere . . . but the drop in quality combined with the increase in price frustrates and disappoints me.  I'm fine with the economy raising prices . . . but don't short me on quality!  Your customers deserve better than that.  My little ones deserve better than that.  You've lost another customer, as this is the last product change I'm going to risk being snuck in while I'm not looking.  And I'm sad about that.

My experiences with your company have shown a slow but steady shift from truly natural, safe products to less natural, less safe ones.

Your toothpaste, for both children and adults, were our all-time favorites.  When I contacted you about discontinuing them, I was handed marketing-mumbo-jumbo about the products "not being the best they could be".  When I responded with more questions about what really happened, radio silence ensued.  There isn't anything like it on the market, and now I'm making my own toothpaste.

Looking at your creams and lotions, I've watched industrial preservatives (like sodium benzoate) sneaking in . . . along with ingredients I consider questionable (such as soybean oil -- hello, gmo's), and other ingredients that, while not strictly "SLS's", sure act like them, as known skin irritants with unknown long-term risks.  I'm sad that it seems profit motives have pushed your company away from the truly all-natural, edible products with which you began.

And, the final blow: faceless portions of apparently unclothed models for advertising.  Sorry.  I'm firmly against objectifying women to make a profit.  Prostitution lite, anyone?

Happy trails, Burt's Bees.  Adios.

1 comment:

Birrd said...

Yes, Adios, Burt's Bees, and I'm pretty sad about that because I've loved many of their products for a long time. However, ten years ago when they were my mainstay, there was very little else on the market in terms of natural body care products that worked, smelled good, and were edible. The nice thing is that there are a lot more options available now.