DISCLAIMER: There are many brands that are genuine, have integrity and truly stand behind their promises. I do not want to give the idea that all companies claiming to be organic or natural are manipulative and deceiving. I rather bring awareness to methods some companies use and how easy it can be to manipulate words so that you are empowered and better equipped to make well informed decisions when purchasing products.
The EU (European Union) has banned 1,328 ingredients from being used in cosmetic products sold in Europe. How many has the US banned? 11. No, that is not a typo. The FDA has only banned eleven ingredients from being used in cosmetic products in the United States. Unfortunately, other than those eleven banned ingredients, the FDA does not truly regulate the cosmetic industry in terms of what goes into our beauty products. Cosmetic companies regulate themselves. Further more, EU law also requires pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics, mandatory registration of cosmetic products, government authorization for the use of nano materials and prohibits animal testing for cosmetic purposes. The US does not have these requirements. For cosmetics the FDA generally regulates the marketing claims skin care companies can make. Example: companies cannot use a word like 'healing' when describing the properties of a product since that would be a medical term. Instead they must use something like 'soothing'. Though you will still see such claims as there are beauty brands popping up all the time (since the US does not require registration), it is impossible for the FDA to effectively monitor every single one.
Now you might be thinking... does that mean if a company sells products both in Europe and the United States that it automatically complies to the same banned ingredients as the EU? No. Sadly, absolutely not. There are companies that have completely different (and safer) formulations for their European consumers than their American ones. I will save that conversation for another post.
Today I would like to bring awareness to trendy labeling. What is it? Trendy labeling is when a company uses catch phrases like ALL NATURAL, ORGANIC even VEGAN but in a round-about way so that their definition does not match the definition inside the consumers head. Though there are many genuine companies, there are unfortunately many that use these terms to deceive innocent consumers. Allow me explain how with using petrochemicals as an example:
Technically the definition of Organic is a substance that contains carbon compounds, not necessarily being free of pesticides and chemical additives like many of us would think. Petrochemicals technically are classified as organic since they contain carbon.
Natural is simply something that is not man-made. Petroleum can also fall under natural since it is derived from the Earth.
Vegan is a huge one... the definition states that a substance is not derived from an animal. We as consumers assume that 'vegan' means plant-based, however that can also mean man-made and synthetically formulated.
So in short, even though a product contains petrochemicals (petroleum), a company can still put ALL NATURAL, ORGANIC and VEGAN on the packaging since it contains carbon, is derived from the Earth and not sourced from an animal.
Pretty crazy, right?
So what does this mean? This means as consumers the first step is to be aware this is happening. Check the full list of ingredients, every single time! Next, use your purchasing power to be your voice. The industry will always shift where the money is going. There has been some growth already, but we are no where close to where we want to be.
I know this can get overwhelming so, AS ALWAYS, I am more than happy to review your current products, ingredients and answer any questions you may have. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.