NOTESWell-Kept Beauty

No More Secrets. What Natural And Organic Labels Really Mean

NOTESWell-Kept Beauty
No More Secrets. What Natural And Organic Labels Really Mean

Several years ago, we (beauty enthusiasts) were starting becoming more conscious about the ingredients in our cosmetics. While some of us will only use natural or organic products, others stick with the traditional way of beauty. No matter which products round out your beauty collection, our need for more awareness led to the growth of the “natural” and “organic” beauty market and ethical labels. 

Initially, ethical labels were useful in increasing awareness, however today many experts have voiced their concerns about the defectiveness of the labels. Why?  Because we (the customers) still tend to be a little perplexed about what is and what is not a natural or organic product. A recent report from the London based firm Organic Monitor confirmed  -  customers are confused and the industry is divided. 

How authentic are these labels? Can they be relied upon 100% or are they mere guidelines?  Here is a look at some of the most common labels we see on a regular basis and important notes from the Organic Monitor. 


LABEL: NATURAL


  • What We Think It Means

All natural

  • What It Actually Means

Not so much

  • Regulatory Standards 

There are no legal standards for the term “natural” and no regulatory agency that certifies what natural is or is not for cosmetics.

  • What To Look For

Look at the  ingredient lists as some companies and brands create their own internal standards for “natural” claims.


LABEL: ORGANIC


  • What We Think It Means

Completely without synthetic, artificial, or chemical substances

  • What It Actually Means

Depends on USDA Organic Labeling Categories. While the FDA doesn’t define or regulate the term “organic” as it applies to finished cosmetics producsts, the UDSA does regulate the term “organic” as it applies to ingredients that may be in the formulas.

  • Regulatory Standards

USDA-accredited organic certifying agents monitor the word “organic” without the USDA seal (or other qualifying context), which may not adhere to certified standards. There is no legal definition for “organic” for cosmetics.

  • What To Look For

Again, look at the ingredient lists as some companies and brands create their own internal standards.


LABEL: GMO-FREE


  • What We Think It Means  

No genetically altered ingredients

  • What It Actually Means  

Ingredients that have not been knowingly genetically modified. GMO-free labels are voluntary, as there are no federal regulations enforcing GMO-free claims, compliance or monitoring unless ingredients fall under UDSArules and regulations.  “Non-GMO Project Verified” is a third-party standard that verifies compliance for products with the best practices of GMO avoidance.

Regulatory Standards

Since there is no regulatory oversight, some companies have internal GMO-free standards and “Non-GMO Project Verified” is a trustworthy mark for food that may be used in beauty products.

What To Look For

If a products claims to be GMO-free and does not  have a stamp that is linked to a verified source or organization, it may be best not to believe the claim.


LABEL: NO ANIMAL TESTING


What We Think It Means  

No ingredients have been tested on bunnies or other animals.

What It Actually Means

Ingredients that have been previously tested on animals that are now banned or frowned upon may be used. Thus, no new animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers.

Regulatory Standards

There are no federal laws nor a legislative ban on animal testing. The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, which is made up of eight national animal protection groups, including the Humane Society and the American Humane Association, work to promote a single, comprehensive standard.

  • What To Look For

The Leaping Bunny Program is the most thorough and monitored cruelty-free standard. Companies that are granted its seal of approval agree to strict standards not to test on animals and not to even buy ingredients from companies that do. If a you see a product that claims “no animal testing” or “cruelty-free” and it does not have the Leaping Bunny logo or does not appear on the Leaping Bunny list it is best to assume that the claim many be false.


CREDITS


  • Organic Monitor
  • FDA, Cosmetics
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • USDA
  • The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics
  • Leaping Bunny
  • Image: Pinterest, Unknown