Your Guide to Natural Certifications

It no longer works to just say a skin care line is “natural”—customers want more transparency and to know what makes it truly natural. Luckily many of our natural beauty lines have been awarded certifications that prove they meet stringent criteria for ingredients that are non-GMO, cruelty-free, vegan and much more. Here’s what you need to know about the certification labels found on your favorite products.

USDA Organic

This certification indicates that ingredients used are 95–100 percent organic, meaning they are organically farmed without pesticides or herbicides. The few remaining components are most often ingredients that are not farmed nor pose health or environmental risks, like purified water. The USDA doesn’t differentiate between food and skin care products, so this is same certification that’s used for the organic produce you eat. Try: Acure, Antonym Cosmetics, Eminence, Nourish Organics and Vapour Organic Beauty

NSF International and Oregon Tilth

Similar to the USDA Organic certification, these organizations ensure that organic personal care products are at least 70 percent organic. Both monitor the processing and manufacture of beauty products to ensure compliance to the same thorough standards. Note: Some chemical processing is allowed with these certifications, like “saponification” (i.e. mixing fats with an alkaline substance to produce soap).
Try: Acure, Avalon Organics, Desert Essence, Earth Mama Angel Baby, evanhealy, Goddess Garden and Pangea Organics

ECOCERT

These labels mean the product is environmentally friendly, ingredients come from renewable resources and the products are produced and packaged in a way that does no harm to our planet. Specifically, products are not allowed to contain GMOs, parabens, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic dyes or perfumes, or animal products (unless naturally produced by animals, like honey). Further, ECOCERT standards require at least 95 percent of ingredients are of natural origin. (For European products, the NATRUE label has very similar standards)
Try: One Love Organics, Dr. Hauschka and jane iredale

EWG Verified

The Environmental Working Group makes sure products are in sync with their Skin Deep database classifications, so to receive this verification a product must considered “green,” be free of any ingredients on the EWG’s “unacceptable” list for health or eco-toxicity concerns, and must fully list all ingredients on the label.
Try products from: MyChelle, Mineral Fusion, Sonäge and W3LL PEOPLE

Non-GMO Project Verified

Ingredients in these products do not include genetically modified organisms (GMO), which is any plant, animal or microorganism that’s been changed by using recombinant DNA technologies, aka gene splicing. This technology creates new organisms that are not naturally found in nature. The Non-GMO Project applies rigorous testing to ensure that each ingredient in a verified product is free of GMOs.
Try: Andalou Naturals, Dr. Bronner’s, EO Products, One with Nature

Leaping Bunny Cruelty-Free

When you see the Leaping Bunny on a label you know that both ingredients and the finished product were not tested on animals, including non-human mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Formed by a coalition of eight international groups including The Humane Society, Beauty Without Cruelty and Animal Alliance of Canada, this organization’s label lets you easily recognize animal-friendly products.
Try: 100% Pure, Acure, Antonym Cosmetics, Burt’s Bees, DeVita, Desert Essence, Eminence, Gabriel, jane iredale, Juice Beauty, Mineral Fusion, MyChelle, Paula’s Choice, Skin Authority, Vapour Organic Beauty and ZuZu Luxe

Certified Vegan and PETA Cruelty-Free and Vegan

You can be sure these products do not contain ingredients made from animals or animal by-products, including eggs, milk, honey, beeswax or silk and dyes from insects. There has been no animal testing or use of genetically modified animal products in the ingredients.
Try: DeVita, Live Ultimate, Max Green Alchemy and Sonäge

Fair Trade USA and Fair for Life

Fair trade certifications mean small family farmers from around the world supply the ingredients for or make the products themselves. It requires protection of local ecosystems and ensures farmers are paid a fair (harvest) price for their goods so that they may practice sustainable agriculture, and eventually organic farming.
Try: Alaffia, Badger, Dr. Bronner’s and Nourish Organics