Honest diapers are super popular and are right on the periphery of mainstream brands, positions that until now were held entirely by Pampers and Huggies. Honest has some of the best prints in the game, and if you want baby to look sharp, these diapers should be a strong consideration. They are on the pricier end of the spectrum and have middling Performance and Eco scores. However, they do receive a Sensitive badge on top of their excellent style and are deserving of a look.
- Style – Honest diapers have some of the coolest patterns and designs of any diaper.
- Lack of transparency – Despite the brand messaging, Honest does not disclose all the ingredients used in its diapers.
- Cost – These aren’t the priciest diapers, but they are quite expensive for middling performance scores.
- Company Background
The Honest Company is an American company founded by celebrity Jessica Alba in 2011. Their brand emphasizes the elimination of potentially harmful chemicals that are often present in consumer goods and can damage the environment. Honest has several dozen consumer products and are expected to launch a beauty line soon.
Honest diapers fell to a slightly below average score for performance, with slightly below average absorption and average leakage scores from Baby Gear Lab.
This is the “performance” measurement that matters most to babies. Bad absorption is what causes diaper rash and other uncomfortable situations for babies. Absorption should be quick and complete, in order to pull moisture away from a baby’s skin and lock it away. The diaper’s topsheet is the material that sits directly against the baby’s skin and (ideally) acts as a one-way barrier by allowing liquid to pass through into the diaper but NOT back out to the baby. The diaper’s Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) core is the material responsible for absorbing and holding moisture. It expands considerably as it absorbs moisture, which is why a wet diaper feels so bulky and full. These two layers are responsible for the “quick and complete” absorption — quick transfer through the topsheet and complete absorption by the SAP core. If one or the other is not up to the task, the diaper’s overall absorption score will suffer.
During Baby Gear Lab’s testing, the Honest diapers were below average when it comes to absorption. Poor absorption means that liquid is not properly pulled and stored in the core of the diaper, which can cause skin irritation, diaper rash, etc.
This is the “performance” measurement that matters most to parents. Leakage problems mean parents are cleaning up wet cribs and the dreaded car seat blow-out. Diapers should form a comfortable seal around the baby’s legs and torso to keep the urine and poop in place between changes. There are a number of factors in the design, construction, and material choice of the diaper that will impact leakage. This is also an area where user error plays an important role. Proper sizing and fit are critical before assessing the pros/cons of one diaper vs. another when it comes to leakage. Oftentimes, there is a parental learning curve with a new diaper brand and leaks will become less frequent as you become more familiar with the brand.
The Honest diapers performed a little better with leakage, with average scores during Baby Gear Lab’s testing and our analysis of customer reviews. The tests for leakage and online reviews both indicate that leaks are a possibility with the Honest diaper, but as we’ve noted with other diapers, all diapers will perform best when parents get sizing and fit correct.
Every baby is unique, but one thing they all share is that their skin needs a lot of extra TLC. A baby’s skin is significantly more sensitive and permeable than an adult’s, which means that the chemicals and materials that you put on your baby’s skin need to be vetted and understood. We assess each diaper for potential allergens and known toxic chemicals. We also do our best to help you understand the relative risk of each factor and will not scare you into buying only the most expensive diaper.
The Honest diapers scored in the middle of the pack when it comes to designing a baby-healthy diaper. We see positives like a totally chlorine-free manufacturing process and no perfumes or latex, but then you also see added lotion and a large printed area using inks. Their score is also dinged by only partial transparency into the ingredients used (and not used).
While transparency is key to a diaper brand’s reputation and understanding what goes into making their product, independent third-party certifications are absolutely necessary is holding the industry accountable. A good diaper brand tells you what is/isn’t in their diapers and a great diaper brand proves it.
Honest diapers have the following third-party certifications related to baby health and sensitivity.
- BRC Certification – BRCGS is a leading brand and consumer protection organisation, used by over 29,000 certificated suppliers over 130 countries, with certification issued through a global network of accredited certification bodies. BRCGS’ Standards guarantee the standardisation of quality, safety and operational criteria and ensure that manufacturers fulfil their legal obligations and provide protection for the end consumer.
- HACCP – HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
- GMPC – Good Manufacturing Practice for Cosmetics (GMPC) guidelines provide guidance for manufacturing, testing, and quality assurance in order to ensure that a manufactured product is safe for human consumption or use. These are required in the EU and highly suggested in the US.
Transparency of ingredients, unfortunately, is severely lacking in the diaper industry. The lack of regulations in the US means that manufacturers are able to hide hazardous materials and obfuscate ingredient lists behind words like “fragrance” or “ink”.
The Honest diapers received an average score for transparency and we’d love to see more from a brand that prides itself on eco and baby conscious decisions. Honest offers a partial disclosure list for their diapers, with comments on fragrances, lotions, and chlorine.
Honest diapers were average when it comes to the quality of their ingredients that go into their diapers and the manufacturing process.
Unfortunately, we can’t ask a newborn how one diaper fits over another. We can, however, ask parents to gauge the comfort of their child and get a good sense for which diapers are the most comfortable for different babies. Our scores for comfort are subjective measures based on real-world testing and analysis of thousands of product reviews (i.e. asking and listening to parents). Diapers are meant to be universal, but in reality there are differences between diapers that will make the fit and comfort better for one body type over another. Honest diapers, for example, are significantly more narrow than Naty’s line of Eco diapers. This means that a longer, thinner body type might work better in Honest diapers — or it might simply mean that you’ll need to size-up on Honest earlier. We try to provide all the context you need in making the right decision for your child, as well as the right decisions on when/if to size up.
Honest earned an average comfort score. The high in this metric is 9, with about nearly half of other diapers scoring higher. However, we found that many of our top scorers did not do much better in this metric, indicating that comfort doesn’t translate to functionality and/or performance.
We assess the eco-friendliness of the various diaper brands with a complete lifecycle philosophy (cradle-to-cradle). As best we can, we look at the manufacturing, supply chain, materials, and disposal of each diaper brand to give a full picture of their impact on our environment. Some of this relates to climate change (e.g. energy intensive production, long-distance supply chains, etc.), while others relate to the health of our environments and ecosystems (e.g. chlorine used in manufacturing, landfill compostability, etc.).
Honest does not have third-party certifications to prove its commitment to being a sustainable, eco-friendly brand and company.
Many of the ingredients using in diaper production find their way back into our ecosystems — whether through industrial by-products, off-gassing, or landfill disposal. For example, all diapers will claim to be “cholorine free”, while the details vary significantly between an “elementally” cholorine free (ECF) process and a “totally” chlorine free (TCF) process. ECF pulp production results in the release of dangerous chemicals into the environment such as halogenated organic pollutants and chlorinated compounds, which TCF pulp production is (as you’d expect) totally free of these risks.
Honest diapers use the TCF pulp production processes, which completely eliminates chlorine and its by-products from the local environment impacts. Additionally, its use of plant-based materials in many spots throughout the product give the diaper a high score for raw material selection.
Honest diapers are manufactured in Mexico, closer than most other diapers manufactured outside the USA.
A baby can use more than 2,500 diapers in their first year, with 10+ diapers used each day as a newborn. The costs can add up quickly and every family’s budget is a personal consideration in picking diapers.
Honest diaper pricing is as follows:
- Honest Size Newborn costs: $0.34 per diaper
- Honest Size 1 costs: $0.29 per diaper
- Honest Size 2 costs: $0.32 per diaper
- Honest Size 3 costs: $0.37 per diaper
- Honest Size 4 costs: $0.41 per diaper
- Honest Size 5 costs: $0.50 per diaper
- Honest Size 6 costs: $0.56 per diaper
You can usually spot an Honest diaper from a mile away. They sport many different patterns and designs, usually on colorful backdrop. The patterns range from Pandas to race cars, from strawberries to anthropomorphic breakfast foods. These are super fun and Honest should be given credit for upping diaper style.