5 clean beauty certifications to know about. Third-party certified what now?! Raise your hand if you have seen several different seals and logos on the packaging of your beauty products. Now raise your hand if you know what they mean… no one…?
All the different certifications we see on products can be super overwhelming as well as confusing. With so many different stamps and seals, it is hard to know what they all mean and stand for as well as which ones to trust.
We all just want to have safe, effective beauty products that we don’t have to worry about containing potentially harmful ingredients. So, I have compiled a list of several different clean beauty certifications to be aware of. By understanding what these seals stand for, we can hopefully make better clean beauty buying decisions.
Clean Beauty Certifications
The EWG, Environmental Working Group, Verified mark ensures that:
- the product does not contain any of the ingredients listed under EWG’s ingredients of concern.
- there is a complete list of all ingredients labeled on the packaging, including fragrances.
- there are good manufacturing practices in place.
EWG uses their Skin Deep two-step rating system to evaluate products. The first part is the hazard score rating the level of known or suspected hazards of ingredients from 1-10. 1-2 indicating low hazard, 3-6 indicating moderate hazard, and 7-10 indicating high hazard ingredients.
The second step of their rating system includes the amount of data that is available regarding each ingredient. The rating system ranks the amount of data from none (least amount of published data), limited, fair, good, to robust (a high amount of published data).
Natural Seal Personal Care
The Natural Product Association, NPA, created the Natural Standard and Certification for Personal Care Products to help consumers identify between advertised “natural” products and truly natural products.
When you see this seal it means:
- the product is made with natural ingredients using raw materials from natural resources and manufactured using good manufacturing practices.
- the product does not contain any potentially harmful ingredients outlined in the Natural Standard
- no animal testing
- ingredients should be biodegradable and packaging should be environmentally conscious.
Ecocert Natual and Organic Cosmetics
Ecocert Natural and Organic Cosmetics is a certification for natural and organic cosmetics that are in accordance with the international COSMOS standard and/or the private Ecocert standard (btw a standard is like a set of rules and regulations or guidelines, in case you were wondering… I didn’t know what it meant either).
When you see this seal it means:
- Organic – at least 95% of the plants in the formula are organic as well as at least 20% of the organic ingredients are in the total formula
- Natural – all the ingredients are from natural origins but the product can contain other ingredients that are specified on their approved ingredient list
- recyclable packaging
- responsible sourcing and production
- no GMO
MADE SAFE is a program under the non-profit organization, Nontoxic Certified. Certified MADE SAFE simply ensures that the product is made with safe ingredients. A product with the MADE SAFE certification has its ingredients screened against any known harmful chemicals from their ingredient database.
When you see this seal it means that the product does not contain the following ingredients/side effects:
- Behavioral toxins
- Developmental toxins
- Endocrine disruptors
- Fire retardants
- Heavy metals
- High-risk pesticides
- Reproductive toxins
- Toxic solvents
- Harmful VOCs
(list from madesafe.org)
Quality Assurance International (QAI)
The QAI is a third-party organic certification provider that can certify a product to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and/or to the NSF Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients.
USDA-Certified Organic NOP
If a product contains ingredients that are organic agricultural ingredients, then the product can be USDA-Certified Organic in one of four ways.
100 Percent Organic
The product contains only organic ingredients.
The product contains at least 95% organic ingredients while the remaining ingredients must be approved products from the National List.
Made with Organic Ingredients
The product contains at least 70% organic ingredients. The product may not display the USDA seal on the packaging but may say that the product was “made with organic ingredients” on the packaging.
Less than 70% Organic Ingredients
The product cannot display the USDA seal and cannot use the word “organic” on the packaging. It can display in the ingredient list if an ingredient is USDA-certified organic.
When you see this seal it means that the product contains at least 70% certified organic ingredients. The difference between the USDA and NSF certifications is that the NSF will allow non-food grade organic ingredients to be certified as well as different processing methods and added preservatives for efficacy.
Lots of info, I know. But take a breath and don’t get overwhelmed, woosah. There will be no test on matching each logo to the appropriate definition. This post is intended to be something for you to refer back to when needed. Make sure to pin it for later so, when you are out shopping and come across one of these logos, you can easily pull this post up.
If you have any questions about any of the info listed, please feel free to comment below and I will try and find the answer. Or if you know of any other certifications I have missed (I’m sure there are loads), definitely share in the comments! We are all in this together. Making sustainable, clean beauty choices for a positive impact.