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  • Guest Blogger Sarah Rhodes

Understanding Your Beauty Product Label Claims

There is so much to worry about when it comes to your skin care that many people have adopted a

habit of reading labels before buying. This is a great step towards living a healthier and more ethical

lifestyle.However, commercial product companies are willing to do – and say – just about anything to win your business. Luckily there are steps you can take to ensure that the time you spend reading labels is worthwhile, and that your products are truly ethical and clean.

Claim: “It's Natural!”

Every way you look, there's another product claiming to be all natural. Unfortunately, this claim isn't as

it seems; some commercial product companies label their products as Natural in order to mislead you.

It is important to remember that “Natural” and “Non-GMO” are not the same as “Organic”. A product

that is ridden with toxic chemicals can legally bare the label “Natural” as long as some of the

ingredients came from the Earth. But even though the ingredients are natural, they could still be covered in weed killer and insect repellent. Yuck. Best way to know for sure if the product is "Natural" is make sure the ingredients used are Organic. You can read how to understand Organic versus Non-GMO here.

Claim: “Prescription Strength Anti-Aging!”

Anti-Aging claims are tricky. Legally speaking, there's a fine line (get it?) between a cosmetic and a

drug. Companies can get fined for mislabeling their products by claiming their product does in fact do something, rather than it "helps" do something, because stating it absolutely does classifies it as a drug. According to the FDA "When is a cosmetic also a drug? A cosmetic is also a drug when it is intended to cleanse, beautify or promote attractiveness as well as treat or prevent disease or otherwise affect the structure or any function of the human body." So if your product says it will eliminate wrinkles, make sure its being labeled as a drug. Otherwise the cosmetic or beauty product you're using is in violation. When its a true cosmetic it will say it helps improve wrinkles, or something of that variation. The best way to know if your skin care product is really going to help your skin fight wrinkles and stay vibrant is by looking at the ingredients.

There exists so many truly natural and organic ingredients that are gentle, naturally moisturizing, and can even have medicinal properties. Oils like Coconut, Jojoba, Sweet Almond, and Argan are safe even for sensitive skin, and act as a silky smooth lotion for the skin. Some oils can actually treat and heal the skin. Like the tried and true Frankincense essential oil, which can ease inflammation and tighten the skin, making it perfect for smoothing the face. Tea tree, Olive, and Rose Hip Oil are also helpful in the fight against wrinkles.

What to Avoid: Harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin, dry it out, or make it sensitive to the sun. You

do not want harsh sulfates or alcohols on your skin for these reasons.

Claim: “It's Organic!”

For the most part, if a skin-care product claims to be organic, it is. Hooray!

The quickest and easiest way to spot organic products is to look at the label. If you see the familiar

USDA Organic seal, you can do a little happy dance and check out. But are products with the official

seal really the only organic options available?

Thankfully, no! There are plenty of high quality, fully organic products available that do not yet carry

the official USDA Organic seal. If you want to know for sure whether a product is organic or not,

there's a super easy way to find out. Once again...check the ingredients label!

If you see items on the list like “Organic Jojoba Oil” or “Organic Coconut Oil” chances are you've found

yourself a conscious company that you can trust. Take note that not all ingredients will carry the word

“Organic” in front of them. Salt, for example, will not be labeled as anything but salt, since it is naturally occurring and it is a mineral and not considered a living ingredient. Fragrance as well, Organic or not, is not always listed as Organic. So just take a peak, and if you see that the majority of the ingredients are marked as Organic, you can feel confident that the entire product is pure natural goodness.

Claim: “Not Tested On Animals/Cruelty Free”

This is another tricky one. Because there's no legal definition of what animal testing or animal cruelty

is, this claim isn't really regulated. So theoretically, a company could claim that they are cruelty free

when they really aren't.

The Leaping Bunny Program can visibly and quickly determine if an animal product is cruelty free, it is a seal with a leaping bunny and states "Cruelty Free". According to their website the way to obtain a seal is as follows; "Companies may license the use of the logo after becoming certified by CCIC, thereby making a pledge that, as of the fixed cut-off date, they do not conduct or commission animal tests, and do not use any ingredient or formulation that is tested on animals."

For the most part, if a product says it's cruelty free through its advertising, even without a seal, it means that the company has at least made an effort to use materials and buy from suppliers that do not currently do animal testing, and the product itself was never tested on animals. If you want to feel more sure, visit the company's website and see if you can find information on where they get their supplies. You can get a pretty good idea of what a company stands for by reading through things like mission and value statements. Look for brands that come across as conscious and ethical. You can also email the company and ask specifically to get a straight answer. Also, by law in Mainland China, animal testing is mandatory and required for a foreign company. So if your cosmetic or bath and beauty company has expanded as far as mainland China, be weary.

As a back-up method of sorts, you can check the ingredients and make an educated guess. If the

ingredient list includes long names of weird chemicals that you cannot pronounce or have never heard

of, there's a chance it's not coming from the kind of company that puts ethics first. Be sure to email them to find out for sure. But if the ingredients are easy to read and recognized ingredients then you probably don't have to worry about animal testing.

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