SDCC 2019

TIP TUESDAY: Misleading Beauty Terms!

These days, everyone wants to be vegan! And gluten free! And all natural! But when it comes to beauty products, are these just marketing ploys to convince you to buy the products, or do they actually hold value? Thanks to federal laws (and FDA’s website), the FDA doesn’t have a list of approved or accepted claims for cosmetics — meaning they're most likely meaningless.
So if you’re overwhelmed with trying to figure out which products contain ingredients that are safe for you, and which are using fancy words and misleading beauty terms to try to trick you, keep an eye out for these words and phrases.

 All Natural
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 If a label claims a product is all natural, it really means some of the ingredients are plant or mineral-based versus synthetic. That no way guarantees that the product is safe since the FDA doesn’t regulate it. If you want to know if a brand is really committed to being natural, check for certifications by organizations like the Natural Products Association, BDIH and EcoCert.
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Unlike the FDA, these third-party organizations have standards that products have to meet in order to earn their approval.

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By FDA standards, a “non-toxic” label just means that the company left out ingredients in the product linked to toxic reactions in humans: neuro or hormone-disruption, cancer, and death. A good rule of thumb is to check the ingredients list for major no-nos like formaldehyde, petroleum, hydrous magnesium silicate (aka asbestos) and lead acetate.

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One of the most misleading beauty terms! It’s impossible to have a chemical-free product since chemicals are any forms of matter or pure substances. For example, water is a chemical. Its name is dihydrogen monoxide! What these companies want you to believe is that the product is free of synthetic chemicals, and maybe it is. But there’s nothing inherently bad about synthetic chemicals, the same way there’s nothing inherently good about many non-synthetic chemicals.

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A vegan product does not contain any animal products or byproducts. To ensure that that claim is true, look for logos by Vegan Action or Vegan Society, third party organizations that actually regulate the term and confirm that the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

However, just because a product is vegan, that doesn’t necessarily mean the product wasn’t tested on animals. To make sure that the product wasn’t tested on animals, look for PETA’s little pink and white bunny logo.

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If a product claims it’s organic, all it really means is that the raw ingredients contain no chemical pesticides. But the products themselves? They could (and probably do) still contain preservatives. If you want to know if a product’s really organic or not, check the label for terms like “parabens,” “phenoxyethanol,” and “benzoic acid/sodium benzoate.” Those are signs that some inorganic stuff.

Dermatologist Approved
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A dermatologist may have approved the product, but that could be literally any Tom, Mark, Batman from Nowheresville, U.S.A. “Dermatologist approved” most likely means that a Dermatologist knows that the product may work. It doesn’t mean that they’ve evaluated the safety of the ingredients in the product.

It’s always a good idea to read the label to check for ingredients that you might not want to put on your skin.