Unlike the world of organic foods, the cosmetics industry is not yet regulated by a set of federal standards under which products are certified. The industry itself has created a task force to develop voluntary guidelines, which will be presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval�a process that could take up to five years.
In the meantime, you can learn to differentiate between the hype and truth about beauty care products by reading product labels. Following are a few definitions. Remember, labels list product ingredients in descending order based on how much of each ingredient the product contains (so the more of an ingredient the product contains, the higher its placement on the product label).
Organic implies the product is made with some certified organic ingredients. This does not mean it is chemical free.
Natural implies that ingredients are extracted directly from plant or animal products; however, they may have been synthetically derived from these sources.
Hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, allergy tested, or nonirritating implies that the product is less likely to cause allergic reactions than a product that is not designated as such.
Fragrance free suggests a product has no perceptible odor, although synthetic fragrance ingredients may have been added to mask an offensive odor originating from the raw materials. No synthetic (or artificial) fragrance means that there is no synthetic fragrance ingredients in the product.
Alcohol free generally means that the cosmetic product does not contain ethyl alcohol (or grain alcohol), although it may contain other alcohols, such as cetyl, stearyl, or cetearyl.
Expiration date specifies the amount of time for which a cosmetic product is good under normal conditions of storage and use.
Cruelty free implies that the product has not been tested on animals by the manufacturer, although it doesn’t guarantee that ingredients sourced to make the product weren’t tested on animals.
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