Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wise Word: Cosmetic Labels

Label

Where?

What it means?

Is it verified?

Is it meaningful?

Leaping Bunny

Skin, hair, eye care products, mouth care products, sunscreens, fragrance products, makeup products.

It signifies that the product is made by a company that adheres to the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals (developed by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics ).

Yes. The CCIC verifies and the products have to be marked with the logo. Check the companies at www.leapingbunny.org

Yes. The logo indicates that the product is made by a company who pledges that its ingredient suppliers do not conduct or commission animal testing of their products after the date of the agreement.

Certified Vegan

Skin, eye, hair, shaving products, baby products, bath products, medications.

Contains no animal ingredients or by-products, use no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process, and not tested on animals by any company or independent contractor.

Yes, the Vegan Awareness Foundation.

Yes. These products should have the logo of the Vegan Awareness Foundation.

No Methylparaben or Propylparaben/

No Parabens

Skin, hair care products, baby products.

The product does not contain any parahydroxy-benzoate (paraben) preservatives.

No.

Yes. The claim is very specific. Check the list of ingredients.

No Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulphate

Skin, hair, eye care products, mouth care products, baby products, makeup products.

No standard definition. However the claim is very specific.

No.

Yes. The claim is very specific.

100% Vegetarian

Ingredients

Skin, hair care products, bath products, sunscreens, fragrance.

Avoids animal products for cosmetics

No.

Somewhat. Check the list of ingredients. Cosmetics are required to list their ingredients with the exception of fragrance.

Alcohol Free

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, fragrance products, mouth care products, and sunscreens.

It implies that the product does not contain alcohol.

No.

Somewhat. Check the list of ingredients. Cosmetics are required to list their ingredients with the exception of fragrance.

Biodegradable

Skin, hair, shaving products, bath products, baby products, sunscreens.

A product is degradable when exposed to air, moisture, bacteria or other organisms and that the materials will break down and return to nature within a reasonably short time after customary disposal.

No.

Somewhat. Some products may take longer to biodegrade. Note: Being biodegradable does not mean it is healthy or safe for you or the environment. There are toxins that biodegrade in even more toxic substances.

DEA Free

Bath products, skin, hair care products, eye makeup, baby products, sunscreens.

The product does not contain the ingredient diethanolamine(DEA).

No.

Somewhat. It is a fairly specific claim. However, many companies do not use this ingredient anymore. Check the list of ingredients!

Antibacterial/

Antimicrobial/

Bactericidal/

Germicidal/

Kills Germs/

Kills Pathogenic Bacteria

Skin and mouth care products, sunscreens.

The product contains substances that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Yes. FDA regulates the use of this claim on lotions, hand washes, soaps, cosmetics and other personal care products.

Somewhat. FDA did not approve the claim on any lotion.

No Animal By-products/ No Animal Ingredients

Skin, hair products, bath products, fragrance products, sunscreens.

No standard definition. It means that no ingredients are by-products from slaughtered or rendered animals.

No.

Somewhat. Check the list of ingredients.

No Detergents

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, feminine hygiene products, mouth care products, fragrance products, and sunscreens.

No standard definition.

No.

Somewhat. It may still contain harsh solvents or cleaning chemicals as an alternative to detergents. Check the list of ingredients.

No Parrafin/

No Paraffin Wax

Skin, hair, eye care products, sunscreens, makeup products.

The products does not contain any substances that are derived from petroleum, coal tar, wood tar.

No.

Somewhat. Check the list of ingredients and look for words like methane, ethane, propane, butane, octane, mineral oil.

Water-based

Skin and hair care products, makeup products, fragrance products, baby products.

No standard definition. Water-based products can contain chemicals that are harmful to health.

No.

Somewhat. It is not meaningful on products that contain mostly water. Check the list of ingredients.

Fragrance Free

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, feminine hygiene products, mouth care products, and sunscreens.

It implies that the product does not contain any fragrances.

No.

Somewhat. Check the ingredients!

100% Biocompatible

Skin care and mouth care.

It implies that is “tolerated by the living organisms”

No.

No. The word is invented by manufacturers.

100% Vegan

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, fragrance products, mouth care products, and sunscreens.

Does not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

No.

No.

Allergy Tested

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, fragrance products, mouth care products, and sunscreens.

It implies that a product was tested for allergic reactions on skin.

No.

No. FDA states that manufacturers are not required to perform tests to prove the claim and states that all cosmetics are possible to cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people. In general, fragrance is the most likely ingredient to produce allergy.

Cruelty Free

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, fragrance products, mouth care products, and sunscreens.

No standard definition.

No.

No. Some companies can use materials that were tested on animals many years back; others can test their raw products on animals but not the final products; others may indeed not use animal testing.

Dermatologist Tested

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, fragrance products, mouth care products, and sunscreens.

It implies that a product was tested by a dermatologist and shown to not cause any skin reactions.

No.

No. FDA states that manufacturers are not required to perform tests to prove the claim and states that all cosmetics are possible to cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people. In general, fragrance is the most likely ingredient to produce allergy.

Effective Against E. Coli and Staphylococcus

Skin care, products, sunscreens, and mouth care products.

The product kills or inhibits the growth of two specific types of bacteria that can cause disease: E. coli and staphylococcus.

Yes, it is regulated by FDA (on lotions, hand washes, soaps, cosmetics and other personal care products).

No. FDA has not yet finalized its rules; and did not approve the claim on any lotion.

Environmentally Friendly/ Environmentally Preferable/ Environmentally Safe

Skin care products, bath products.

It implies that the product or packaging has some kind of environmental benefit or that it causes no harm to the environment.

No.

No. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers this claim too vague.

Hypoallergenic/

Non Irritating

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, feminine hygiene products, mouth care products, fragrance products, and sunscreens.

It implies that a product will be less likely to cause allergic reactions or irritate the skin.

No.

No. FDA considers products claiming to be “hypoallergenic” or “non irritating” as misbranded.

No Synthetic Detergents

Skin and hair care products, baby products.

No standard definition.

No.

No. All detergents and soap products are synthetic. Regardless of the source, the oils used must be chemically processed to make the surfactant.

Non Comedogenic

Skin and hair care products, makeup products, sunscreens.

The product does not contain common pore-clogging ingredients that could lead to acne. However, there is no official FDA definition or list of ingredients that are considered to be non-comedogenic.

No.

No. FDA considers products claiming “non comedogenic” as misbranded.

Sensitivity Tested

Skin, hair, nail, eye care, makeup, feminine hygiene, shaving products, bath products, baby products, feminine hygiene products, mouth care products, fragrance products, and sunscreens.

It implies a product was tested for sensitivity on skin.

No.

No. FDA considers products claiming “sensitivity tested” as misbranded.

Unscented

Skin care products, shaving products, bath products, fragrance products, baby products.

It implies that the product does not have any odor or scent.

No.

No. FDA considers products claiming to be “unscented” as misbranded.

5 comments:

Lindsay said...

I couldn't tell you how excited I was to see this post. I called it "label claiming" and it's so important that people know what means what! Thanks!

I'd love to link this to my blog somehow, would that be okay? It's such a great post.
my blog is www.urbanbranches.blogspot.com

Peace,
Lindsay

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay, thank you for your comment. I am happy that you found this post useful; when I learned that so many "natural" things can mean nothing but a higher price eventually, I searched more about the labeling and I created the table.
Yes, you can link it to your blog; it is a public post ;-)

Lucia

Lucia said...

Sorry, the anonymous was supposed to be me; for some reason I clicked on the wrong button...not that I want to be anonymous or something ;-)

Coco said...

Hi there. I just recently bought a concealer pencil from the Body Shop, and it's label got me curious. There's a drawing of a small tub with it's lid half open, and written on it is 36 M. I also saw this similar label on a jar of hair conditioner. Do you know what that means? Thanks in advance. :)

-Coco

Lucia said...

Hi Coco,

thanks for visiting my blog. I read through yours and is very interesting - keep up the good work! Unfortunately, I do not know what 36 M may means; I suggest that you write to Body Shop and ask them. I am sorry I could not help you. Best, Lucia