A German-based association with comprehensive guidelines for certified natural cosmetics and an accompanying seal for certified natural cosmetics.

An independent, Canadian certifying body for organic and natural cosmetics.

A French-based organic certification organization governed accordingly by public authorities and legislation.

Essential Oils
Concentrated liquids containing aroma compounds from a specific plant. Generally extracted by distillation, they are used in perfumes and cosmetics for their fragrance and treatment properties. They can also act as natural preservatives.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that is responsible for the safety regulation of foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)

Organisms created via a technology where DNA molecules from different sources are combined to create a new set of genes.

Mineral Makeup
Makeup generally made from natural minerals that have been crushed into a silky powder and are ideally formulated without preservatives, talc, oil, waxes, and fragrance.

The term “natural” is not regulated by the FDA. Natural Cosmetic News defines the term ‘natural’ as any ingredient or product that comes or are made from a renewable resource found in nature without modification and alteration or the addition of chemicals.

Natural Product Association (NPA)
A US based association that sets guidelines and certifies natural products.

NSF International
An independent NGO that sets standards and certifies organic consumer goods.

‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the principal guidelines for organic production which are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.

Organic ingredients are grown free of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, and their production must be certified as organic by an independent organization (like the USDA, BDIH, EcoCert, or the Soil Association) to claim this on their labels. In the US, The USDA’s (United States Department of Agriculture) National Organic Program (NOP) regulates organic ingredients used for personal care products. There are four levels of USDA Organic certification:

  1. “100% Certified Organic” – Product certified by the USDA and can bear the USDA Organic Seal.
  2. “Certified Organic” – 95% or higher Certified Organic Ingredients (with strict restrictions on the remaining 5%). Product certified by the USDA and can bear the USDA Organic Seal.
  3. “Made with Organic Ingredients” – 70-94% Certified Organic Ingredients (with strict restrictions on the remaining 30%). Product certified by the USDA but CANNOT bear the USDA Seal.
  4. Less than 70% Organic Ingredients — Organic ingredients can be denoted with an asterisk. Only ingredients are certified by the USDA (NOT the finished product), and the product CANNOT bear the USDA Seal. Product CANNOT call itself organic and the word “organic” may appear on the side or back of the package only.

A class of synthetic preservatives widely used in cosmetics. They ensure a long shelf life in cosmetics by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast, and mold in beauty products.

Chemical products made from raw materials of petroleum that are commonly used in beauty products—particularly in lip balm and gloss.

Industrial chemicals that are most often used in fragrances, nail polish, and hairspray that make scents and colors last longer.

Synthetic Dye
Man-made chemicals that are used to give color.

Synthetic Fragrance
Man-made molecules that either mimic or help stabilize a natural scent.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The United States Federal Executive Department that develops and executes policy on farming, agriculture, and food. Currently, organic beauty regulation falls under the jurisdiction of the USDA. USDA organic certification refers to the way agricultural crops—for food or beauty products—are grown, handled, and processed (free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and insecticides).