A guide through clean/organic/vegan/non-toxic labels in Beauty Industry

Did you know dermatologist tested, doesn’t really mean it was tested and given a green signal, it was just.. tested?

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who read labels and those who don't. If you are the former kind or intend to start now, you are going to love this. The growing awareness and conscience of the consumer is not something early brand strategists predicted. Products were sold with meaningless advertisements and false promises. Disappointed in results, ingredients, manufacturing process, or just ethics of the company, people started exerting their power as a consumer.

Consumers like to be fully aware of what they are putting on their bodies and today purchases are led with a moral compass to ensure sure one’s money spent has a positive social, economic, and environmental impact. With strong laws from the government, like the consumer protection acts, and RTI, transparency is the only choice. We just wish it was in bigger print and easier to comprehende. Here are some of the most commonly found labels on products and what is actually means.

Organic: Since the organic conversation began in India around 20 years back the number of products packaged in green with the organic label can be found everywhere. But technically when a product is made from naturally derived ingredients grown without synthatic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers and dyes - it can be called organic. A reliable organic certification is Ecocert, USDA - Organic and its local counter part India Organic.

Natural: When a product is made of ingredients that are derived from natural sources upto 70%, it can be labeled natural. Natural ingredients may come from plants, minerals, animals etc. And we cannot not rule out that ingredients were cultivated or treated with harsh chemicals that are hazardous for human consumption. The Natural Poroducts Association’s certification is a dependable one, as they have set standards to use only bio-degradable ingredients.

Biodegradable: When a product and its packaging is made of ingredeinats that can be broken down and decomposed, you have a biodegradable product on your hand. This is great for the environment and the user as disposal becomes easy. But this is not an indication that the manufacturing was equally environmentally friendly.

Recyclable: I believe no one likes to think about how many shampoo bottles have they disposed in their lifetime. Finding recyclable plastic and other packaging materials are a dream to zero waste enthusiasts. There are more and more brands that are coming up with conditioner bards and glass bottles for packaging, it appeal to its conscious clientele.

Cruelty-Free: Cruelty Free is a term that has long and and inspirational history beginning fron the 1890s working actively for putting an end to experiments on animals and treating animals with dignity. The most popular certification is the leaping bunny by Peta. The certification would only that the product has not been tested on animals, it also assures that no animal derived ingredient has been used in the making or production of the product.

Vegan: Vegan USA, Vegan UK, Vegan ORG etc.. are the most reputed vegan product certifications. Last year, India launched its own certification and symbol to be placed on Indian made vegan products. This certification guarantees, no animal product has been used in the making of the product or its processing.

Paraben, Sulphates, Petrochemicals a.k.a Clean Beauty:
Parabens are preservative chemicals to keep products long lasting. It mimics estrogen in body and can lead to early puberty and other reproductive imbalances.
Sulfates are aggressive detergents (commonly used in shampoos) made of sulfur-containing mineral salts.
Petrochemicals are present in most moisturizsers, lip balms ect, which cannot be broken down by the body when ingested. It’s unchecked usage has resulted in damage to the liver, kidneys and reproductive system.

Triclosan, Talc, Silica etc are other ingrediants one should watch out for. Most of these have adverse effect on our immune system and hormonal balance.

Non- Toxic: When the ingredients of a product does not show any negative effects while being used in the quantity mentioned in the formula, the produced is deemed non-toxic. Non toxic in general means not dangerous and is considered good for planet and people.

Fragrance-Free: Fragrance free products do not have any added ingredients for oudor. Fragrances are considered a trade secret and, therefore, do not have to be disclosed. Fragrance is added along with preservatives to keep the smell long lasting. Such products can be irritant for sensitive skin.

Unscented: Fragrance free and unscented may sound POtato - PoTAto, but it isn’t. When the former is deliberately eliminating ingredients that add fragrance, unscented products are treated with chemicals to mask it’s smell. This maybe a relief for the many who are sensitive the smells, but its not great for your skin.
Not so long ago Johnson and Johnson found themselves in a lawsuit for having Talc in their baby powder - a cancer causing ingrediant. Nutragena recalled its sunscreen when consumers found about the cancer causing chemical Benzene in it. Around the globe people are aware of their rights to information, safety, and care about the fine print at the back.

Finding non-toxic, organic, vegan,sustainable products for your beauty routine is now possible through spaces like EarthBased. However, we do not believe that natural or organic always translate to better than chemical products. There are products formulated with good quality ingredients that might even be necessary for certain medical conditions. Taking informed decissions and helping other find reach their is what we can do in this community. Check out our clean skin and hair care range here.

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Mohan Malla

Mohan Malla

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