10 Eco-Minded Labels to Know

BellaSugarBellaSugarSource: 10 Eco-Minded Labels to Know

It's already difficult enough to shop responsibly, given how widely words like "organic" and "natural" are misused. To make things even more complicated, though, there are also tons of ecological certifications products can get. They're designed to tell consumers that a product is more ecologically friendly, but not all certifications are the same, and some are much more strict than others.

We've rounded up 10 common logos and broken down what each of them means. So to get a simple and straightforward look at what the labels are telling you, just keep reading.

  • Natural Products Association Certification: The Natural Products Association certification means:
    • Any product labeled "natural" must be made with at least 95 percent natural ingredients - that is, from renewable resources found in nature. No petrochemicals are allowed.
    • No parabens, SLS, chemical sunscreens, or phthalates.
    • No animal testing.
    • The packaging must be environmentally conscious and sustainable.
  • The NaTrue Label: The NaTrue label means that a product has been certified to contain only water, natural ingredients, and nature-derived ingredients.

    The label has three grades: Natural Cosmetics, Natural Cosmetics with Organic Ingredients, and Organic Cosmetics.

  • Whole Foods Premium Body Care: OK, so why is a store's seal on the list? Because a lot of people shop at Whole Foods, and this seal promises that a product:
    • Is free of parabens, SLS, and more than 250 other ingredients deemed unacceptable.
    • Has no synthetic fragrances.
    • Has minimal environmental impact in production, sourcing, and disposal.
  • Vegan Certification: This label means just what you'd think it does: no animal testing, no animal products. It doesn't take a stance on parabens and other controversial ingredients.
  • The Leaping Bunny: Created by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, the leaping bunny symbol shows that a product is made without animal testing at any stage of its development. It stands out from other "no animal testing" seals because all companies are independently audited to ensure adherence to the strict guidelines. If the audit fails, the company is no longer able to use the symbol.

More from BellaSugar: 18 Paraben-Free Beauty Products Worth Checking Out

  • NSF Made With Organic: NSF's Made With Organic standard is less than two years old, but it's the cosmetics industry's favored certification. "Made With Organic" and "Organic" aren't quite the same thing, though. To meet the NSF standard, products must have at least 70 percent organic content, but they don't have to be all the way natural.
  • BDIH: This German certification body's standard is showing up as more European natural brands pop up in US stores. BDIH's rules are myriad, but its general guidelines include:
    • No animal testing.
    • No synthetic dyes, fragrances, silicones, or paraffins.
    • Only nature-identical preservatives.
    • No genetic engineering, and optimum biodegradability.
    • Fair trade and responsible sourcing are strongly encouraged.
  • Ecocert: Ecocert, like the USDA Organic designation, is primarily for food, but it is also useful for cosmetic and personal care products. Ecocert designates products as organic in the traditional sense - 95 percent of the ingredients must be of "natural origins," and fewer than five percent may be synthetic.
  • CosmeBio: Cosmebio is a relatively new standard, created in 2002 with collaboration from European cosmetic laboratories. Its guidelines are very similar to Ecocert's, and you'll often see both logos on products. Cosmebio requires that products contain at least 95 percent natural ingredients, be without synthetic fragrances or colors, have no synthetic preservatives or petrochemical products, and be without genetically modified ingredients.
  • USDA Organic: The USDA Organic certification is the only standard the US government currently offers for cosmetics, although it's primarily a standard for food. To use the USDA seal, products must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients.

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