Mischo Beauty School: "Natural" and "Organic" Beauty Certifications 101

We all know that tomorrow is Earth Day and I felt it only appropriate to provide definitions for those who aren't clear on the terms "Natural" and "Organic" certifications as they relate to beauty products, since I'd previously discussed the "Biodynamic" certification. My hope is that you'll be even more empowered to make informed choices depending on your beauty needs.

Natural Certification:

The natural beauty certification is not regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Department of Health & Human Services). It often includes products that are formulated with plant-based and natural ingredients with few to no dyes, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens.

Organic Certification:

The organic beauty certification in the U.S. is regulated by the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) which regulates organic foods and ingredients used for personal care products. It includes products who's ingredients are grown free of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides.

There are four levels of USDA Organic certification, based on percentages of organic ingredients:

1. "100% Certified Organic": Product must contain 100% organic ingredients certified by the USDA and can bear the USDA Organic Seal.

2. "Certified Organic": 95% or higher Certified Organic Ingredients (with strict restriction on the remaining 5%). Product certified by the USDA and can bear the USDA Organic Seal.

3. "Made with Organic Ingredients": 70-94% Certified Organic Ingredients (with strict restrictions on the remaining 30%). Product certified by the USDA but CANNOT bear the USDA Seal.

4. Less than 70% Organic Ingredients: Organic Ingredients can be denoted with an asterisk. Only ingredients are certified by the USDA (NOT the finished product), and the product CANNOT bear the USDA Seal. Product CANNOT call itself organic and the word "organic" may appear on the side or back of the package only.

Love your body.

I'd love to hear your comments and what changes you plan to make to help save the earth!

* For more information on the various activities to set standards and certifications rules for what constitutes "natural" or "organic" personal care products, please visit "The Style Page"!*

(Sources fda.gov, usda.gov & sephora.com)



Dominican Enigma said...

In Canada, there are no organic policies. If you want to put "organic" on one of your items, its a matter of choice. How crazy is that, especially since people pay more for items that are labeled organic.

April 22, 2008 at 5:39 AM
The Style Page said...

Thanks for the info about NOP. I might blog on your post. It seems, however, that participation in NOP is purely voluntary.

I have covered standards and certification for "natural" and organic personal care products on The Style Page. There are a plethora of standards-making and certification programs; clearly, an international standard is needed.

April 22, 2008 at 9:05 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "dominican enigma": Thanks for that information- I had no idea! I actually have a reader moving to Canada soon, so I'll definitely let her know this...

April 22, 2008 at 9:37 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "the style page": Your right about that! Along with the USDA- there's also EcoCert (France), Soil Association (United Kingdom), and I'm sure many other of organizations. And you're right- I'm not sure if the standards are the same amongst the organizations!

Please let me know when your post is up! Thanks.

April 22, 2008 at 9:41 AM
The Style Page said...

Hi Mischo Beauty,

I just posted on standards-setting and certification activities for organic personal care products.

I cite your articles and also link to previous posts that I made on this subject.

With reference to the comment by dominican enigma, vendors volunteer to participate in programs that allow them to label their products as "certified" according to rules of the certifying body. How much vendors pay for that privilege, I don't know. No doubt the costs are passed onto the consumer.

April 22, 2008 at 12:09 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "the style page": Great! I'm going to add a link to your post from my original post. The more information the better. Thank you!

April 22, 2008 at 1:37 PM
fuzkittie said...

Very informative! Btw, my tag post is up! =D

April 22, 2008 at 3:27 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "fuzkittie": Yay! Thanks for playing! :)

April 22, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Post a Comment