These days, consumers are becoming more conscious of the ingredients in the cosmetics and personal care products that we are putting on our body. Many cosmetic labels claim that products are “natural,” “healthy,” and “safe,” but the US government does not define or investigate the use of these terms on personal care and cosmetic labels.
So, what can a consumer look for on a cosmetic label or personal care label to make an informed decision about ingredients? With this topic more popular than ever, we here at QuickLabel have put together an informational “how-to” for those of you looking into getting certification for your cosmetics and personal care products.
There are three label standards: the government’s USDA Organic seal, the voluntary NSF “Made with Organic” seal, and the voluntary NPA “Natural” Standard for Personal Care Products seal.
Organic cosmetic labeling just got a big boost from the nation’s largest natural products retailer: Whole Foods Market. In June 2010, Whole Foods Market announced that starting June 2011 all personal care and cosmetics product labels making an “organic” claim must be certified by the USDA NOP and all labels with the “made with organic ingredients” statement be certified by the NSF. As part of an effort to crack down on fraudulent organic label claims, Whole Foods will not sell cosmetics or personal care products with labels that say “organic” unless they have the USDA Organic seal or the NSF Personal Care seal.
USDA Organic Cosmetics Labels: Cosmetics are eligible to receive the USDA Organic label seal under the National Organic Program (NOP), but the guidelines for this are very strict: a minimum of 95% of ingredients must be certified organic. Strict certification requirements that generally follow NOP standards such as: organic ingredients, materials, and production processes must be met. This is the same standard applied to organic foods, but it is considered very difficult to meet by personal care manufacturers.
NSF “Made with Organic” Cosmetics Labels: To fill in the gap between the high USDA standard and consumer demand for organic personal care products, NSF International and a group of personal care manufacturers, retailers, and trade associations come up with a new voluntary quality standard to regulate the use of the term “Made with Organic” and “Contains Organic Ingredients” on personal care and cosmetic product labels. The NSF standard was adopted by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), as NSF/ANSI 305 Personal Care Products. To comply, a minimum of 70% of product ingredients must be organic, and the product and manufacturer must be certified to comply with the NSF/ANSI 305 standard.
Natural Cosmetics Labels and Personal Care Labels
What about personal care products that are not necessarily organic, but are still made of better-for-you ingredients? There is also a way for label-conscious consumers to identify whether cosmetics are “natural,” (made of renewable resources found in nature, containing no petroleum products): the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, a voluntary certification created by the Natural Products Association (NPA) in 2008.
If you come across a personal care product labeled “natural” along with a Natural Products Association (NPA) official seal it means that the product is made with at least 95% all natural ingredients, ingredients that are all approved by the NPA. These are the criteria for NPA Natural Personal Care Products:
- Natural - any product labeled as “natural” should be made of natural ingredients (95%) and must be processed appropriately in order to keep its natural purity.
- Safety - “natural” labeled products must avoid ingredients that pose any human health risk.
- Responsibility - “natural” products should not be tested on animals
- Sustainability - biodegradable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging should be used for “natural” labeled products.
How Do I Get My Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Certified? (for Manufacturers)
Having a USDA Organic, NSF “Made with Organic” seal, or Natural Products Association certified Natural seal on your cosmetic label or personal care label is a symbol of trust to consumers, and many cosmetics makers and retailers are recognizing the value of these label seals.
● USDA Organic Certification. If your cosmetic or personal care product is made up of organic agricultural ingredients, you are eligible to undertake certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. You must meet National Organic Program standards for organic production, handling, processing, and labeling. After you are certified, you can download and use the official USDA Organic logo. Your labels with the USDA seal must also bear the name and address of your organic certifying agent.
● NSF “Made with Organic” Certification. If your organic product contains 70% or more organic ingredients it can qualify for NSF Personal Care Certification through a third-party certifier. Just like the USDA NOP, the NSF has specific requirements on materials, process, production, labeling and requires the NOP certified ingredients be used. An application, on-site inspection, and technical review are to be completed then certification will be determined.
How Can I Get a Cosmetics Label with a Natural or Organic Logo?
After receiving your USDA, NSF, or NPA certification, you’ll have the right to print a USDA Organic seal, NSF “contains organic ingredients” seal, or “NPA natural” seal on your cosmetics labels. You can either buy new printed cometics labels that feature your seal, or you can use an in-house digital label printer to make your own cosmetic labels with the NPA or NSF seal.
QuickLabel Systems offers several solutions for printing your own personal care labels and cosmetic labels with the USDA or NSF organic seal or the NPA natural seal. By printing your own natural or organic cosmetic labels with a QuickLabel printer you’ll have the ability to change your label design and print new product labels with your natural certification logo or seal, at your finger tips. You can also print private label versions of your cosmetics labels at any time, changing the logo branding and name on the label and retaining the USDA, NSF, or NPA seal and certification.
For more information on Natural and Organic Cosmetics Labels, check out: