Using the cleanest, safest products and eating clean can be daunting, to say the least. The term “green beauty” alone can be confusing and finding products that are indeed “green” can overwhelming. The cosmetic industry is highly under regulated, which means that a company can tout products as being all natural or clean when they are far from it.
To muddy the waters even more there are so many different terms, all natural, green, clean, etc. I am guilty of interchanging them constantly. Each one can have such a personal interpretation, too. What is “natural” to one person may not be considered “natural” to another.
Here is a breakdown of some terms and logos that appear on products you buy and who, if anyone, is regulating them. Some of the terms and logos you may have seen on food, some on beauty products and some on both.
The cosmetic industry is highly under regulated, which means that a company can tout products as being all natural or clean when they are far from it.
By far the most confusing and overused term. When I think of all natural I think of a product completely free of chemicals and synthetic ingredients, but that isn’t always the case. This term should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, but the FDA only has a set of guidelines for manufacturers to abide by. The FDA does not have to approve, review or verify any claims before a product ends up available for purchase. The guidelines are, usually, only enforced after an offense has taken place.
This is why and how so many products labeled “all natural” can contain a multitude of chemicals or unnatural ingredients. There simply isn’t an efficient system in place to regulate. Below is a link directly to the FDA’s website and their stance on product labeling claims.
The FDA does not have to approve, review or verify any claims before a product ends up available for purchase. They only have a set of guidelines that are, usually, only enforced after an offense has taken place.
Ahh…This is the gold standard of clean. Any product that is labeled USDA Organic is guaranteed that at least 95% of its ingredients were grown without chemical pesticides, insecticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones, or genetically modified organisms (GMO).
When cosmetics are involved the UDSA only regulates the term “organic” for individual ingredients in a product, such as an oil or aloe. The term “organic” doesn’t guarantee that all the other ingredients are organic unless the logo is present.
A product that is labeled Vegan contains no animal ingredients or ingredients derived from animals. In cosmetics that would mean ingredients like milk, beeswax, honey or lanolin have not been used. Although the product may not contain any animal or animal derived ingredients it does not guarantee that the product is cruelty-free.
Logialharmony.net has a great video explaining the difference between cruelty-free and vegan which is linked below.
The term vegan is not regulated so you have to know your ingredients. Ingredients such as Cochineal Dye, Carmine, Guanine and Tallow are all animal derived.
Although the product may not contain any animal or animal derived ingredients it does not guarantee that the product is cruelty-free.
If your looking for vegan products that are the real deal, you’ll want to look for the logo below from Vegan Action.
Vegan Action is non-profit that does have a certification process and their logo appears on products that have gone through their vetting process. Their site is linked below and is another really good resource.
Once again this is a term that is not regulated. You may think that a product that is cruelty-free hasn’t been tested on animals, but that isn’t the case. The term cruelty-free only applies to the finished product.
The ingredients in a product may have been tested on animals, the manufacturer may have used a supplier who had tested their ingredients on animals, used another manufacturer’s animal tests or used animal testing information from another country. For example, a nail polish can be labeled cruelty-free because the entire formula as you buy it wasn’t tested on an animal, but each ingredient individually may have been tested on an animal.
The logo below is issued by PETA. PETA also has their own database of cruelty-free products, linked below.
LEAPING BUNNY CERTIFIED
Theleapingbunny.org was created provide a comprehensive definition, logo and certification for consumers to find animal-friendly products. They guarantee that no new animal testing has been used in any phase of the product development.
The key here is the word “new.” Virtually every ingredient, even water, has been tested on animals in the past.
The Leaping Bunny ensures that each individual ingredient has not gone under additional animal testing where as the term cruelty-free only applies to the finished product.
Virtually every ingredient, even water, has been tested on animals in the past.
NON-GMO PROJECT VERIFIED
Non-GMO Project is North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products. Their goal is to educate consumers on GMO’s, the dangers of GMO’s and be a resource for finding safe non-GMO products.
Their site has some great info from very basic info about GMO’s, to where to shop and even recipes. I would highly suggest utilizing this resource.
There are many resources to help you on the road to clean. We LOVE the Think Dirty app for our phone, just scan the bar code of a products and they give you a clean rating from 1 to 10.
Overall, it comes down to knowledge and being informed when you shop. You really have to trust the company and if you’re curious ask. Contact the manufacturer, their response, or lack of response, will usually give you all the info you need!
What do you look for when you shop? What are some great resources you use? Drop us a line below and let us know!