Baby Products, Brand, Household Products, Product Review, Review, The Honest Company

Product Review: The Honest Company’s Free Discovery Kits (Part 1 of 2)

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 1 vote

When a company chooses, in the context of the current climate of distrust towards all things corporation, to use the word “honest” in their name, either they are supremely arrogant or they are extremely dedicated to creating a new kind of corporate culture.

The overall feeling one gets from The Honest Company’s website is one of safety, coziness, and confidence.  The sky blue and warm orange on white theme, the simple fonts, the light and light-hearted pictures—all seem to want to convey trust in them.

As a certain beloved fictional character is often heard saying, I want to believe that The Honest Company is, well, honest.  So I decided to give them a two-pronged trial run: on the one hand, I would look them up and on the other, I would order their free “Discovery Kits” to test out.

In this, the first part of a two-part review, I will share some of the results of my research, the experience of ordering from The Honest Company, and my initial reactions to the samples.  Once I have tested all their samples a couple of times, I will post the second part of the review.

The Honest Company

Founded in 2011 by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan (who also serves as Chief Product Officer), The Honest Company (THC) states on it’s website that it’s founders “both wanted an ideal: not only effective, but unquestionably safe, eco-friendly, beautiful, convenient, and affordable – everyone should have it. [They] believed every baby deserved the best [they] can create for them.”  Another page of the website claims that customers can expect the following from THC: honesty, social goodness, support, peace of mind, and delightful designs.

To me, honesty means both celebrating the positive while acknowledging the negative.  And so, I was surprised that the site’s press section did not mention any of the negative press THC has received.  Doing so would have, to me, better reflected the company’s promise that “[w]hile [they] really do try [their] best in all regards, if [they] make a mistake or can’t live up to your expectations, [they]’ll fess up and keep trying to do better, no matter what it takes.”

Ordering and Cancelling

Ordering the free discovery kits online was very easy; the website features them clearly on its home page and is clear on what will happen once the order has been placed: that there will be a shipping fee, and that seven days after receiving the free discovery kit, customers are automatically registered for monthly bundles.  These can be cancelled only through a phone call, which I found a little annoying—I assumed it meant I would have to dial through a complex menu, be on hold for ages, and deal with a customer service agent trained to convince me to keep the bundle.

I almost didn’t go through with ordering the free discover kits because of stories I had heard about cancelling the automatic bundles.  But I didn’t feel comfortable signing up for something without having tested it thoroughly beforehand; and so, either I would get the kits and take the time to test them before ordering a monthly bundle, or nada.

Guys, the worry was, in my case, for absolutely nothing.  I called the number and it goes straight through, no complex, multi-layered telephone menu to navigate.  Waiting time was less than five minutes, after which a friendly agent suggested to move the date of the shipment by a couple of months so that I could both have the time to test the products and not lose the discounts that came with the kits.


Packaging is always a concern when dealing with any product that ships directly to one’s home.  The two kits were sent to me in the same box, a move I greatly appreciated.  The box is made of 65% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable.  A message at the bottom of the box encourages reusing and the flap style makes it easy to use as storage.

For the discover kits, a lot of packaging relative to what you get.  The diapers were wrapped together in plastic; the essential kit products in a little box also made of recyclables and recyclable, but not really reusable; and no extra filler was used because none of the items were breakable, which I also appreciated.

Despite all this care taken to decrease packaging, I can’t help but wonder how many boxes are sent out a month and how this affects the environment comparatively to picking up supplies at a store—which comes with its own environmental issues, including packaging.

Controversies Linked to the Company

A number of controversies have been linked to THC, including:

  • Using fear based advertising to make people buy their products; to be fair though, a lot of companies selling products to parents do the same. I personally feel that the website isn’t alarmist as much as it is bluntly informative, something I find very useful when shopping.
  • Using false advertising: that THC’s products might have less chemicals that others but that they contain chemicals nonetheless.
  • A subpar sunscreen: although supposed to have a SPF of 30, THC’s sunscreen was inefficient with users posting pictures of sunburns the product did not prevent.
  • An organic infant formula that contains 11 synthetic substance prohibited under federal law.
  • Several items, including the hand soap, the dish soap, the multi-surface cleaner, and the diapers, are marked as having only natural ingredients when they also include chemicals like synthetic preservatives and surfactants.

All of these allegations are sourced below.

THC has been standing by its products and claims that it is adhering, with regards to its organic products at least, to the standards set by the government; if customers have a problem with those standards, they should address the government and not them.  This really raises an excellent point: what is THC honest about?  If it is being honest about following governmental standards, which we know are deeply affected by lobbyists, why would we trust THC more than any other company?

Final Thoughts (For Now)

I don’t feel I have enough information as of yet to be able to make a firm decision about the company or its products.

I really want this company to actually honestly be trying its best, and if I knew that it was, it would have my full support no matter what mistakes it made.  Because in my mind, a company is allowed to make mistakes, as long as it is not being deceptive.  Not enough alarms have been sounded in my mind, neither have I yet to find enough red flags to believe that there is an actual layer of dishonesty that rules the company’s policies.

I do have a certain disdain for alarmist approaches and fear-mongering, but the way the messages are crafted on The Honest Company’s website were, although influenced by a drama-riddled society, not more alarmist that any I have come across.

The packaging is of concern but I could just go to places around here and actually purchase the products.  In Canada, Chapters for example carries products, as does sometimes Costco.  But again, because there are other environmental concerns when it comes to brick and mortar stores, I don’t know if that would be better for the environment or not.


{ Disclaimers }

I was not compensated for this review in any shape or form and received only the free Discover Kits that all customers are entitled to for the price of shipping.

I am not an expert when it comes to the health effects of a product on an individual or the environmental effects of products on the environment; I am just a concerned consumer trying to have the least negative impact on the global community.

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 1 vote

7 thoughts on “Product Review: The Honest Company’s Free Discovery Kits (Part 1 of 2)

    1. Thank you so much Sarah! It’s tough to be objective for me in this case to be (haha) honest, because I want this company to be what it says it is. And it’s hard to realise a company you like might not be respecting the values they are trying to project–I’m still trying to figure out, for example, what the deal is with Moleskine… Is there a company in particular you feel the same way about???

  1. Your post is so resourceful and thoughtful. I admire the time you put into it to test out these products and do your research on The Honest Company. I have been drawn to THC as well because I love all-natural and eco-friendly products. You and I have so much common ground. This was an enjoyable and informative read for me.

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