The Environmental Working Group has extended its Skin Deep database into an official certification process and accompanying logo.
What we put on our bodies is just as important as what goes into our bodies, but we don’t pay it nearly as much attention. Many people spend time and money eating cleanly, while ignoring the countless personal care products crowding bathroom shelves, showers, and makeup bags that are loaded with harmful, often carcinogenic, chemicals.
Part of the problem is that green skin care products are much harder to find and identify than organic, local food. Greenwashing is rampant in the personal care industry, with eco-friendly-looking labels on the fronts of containers with atrocious ingredient lists. The companies that do prioritize safety often aren’t big enough to be sold in mainstream stores, or simply get lost in the sea of chemical-laden products.
The Environmental Working Group is on a mission to make green skin care products easier to find. It is launching a new logo called EWG Verified, which will certify products as being free from all chemicals of concern. It is an extension of the EWG’s well-respected Skin Deep database, which has provided analysis of specific skin care products for many years.
Skin Deep gives products a score and color in order to identify its relative safety: 0-2 is marked green for ‘low hazard’; 3-6 is yellow for ‘moderate hazard’; and 7-10 is red for ‘high hazard’.
The Skin Deep database is an excellent resource online, but many shoppers don’t have the time to pull out their phones and do a search for individual products while standing in the middle of an aisle. The EWG Verified logo, however, will enable them to see immediately which products are rated the best. EWG Verified has stringent requirements for certification, including the following:
- Products must score a "green" in EWG's Skin Deep® database.
- Products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG's "Unacceptable" list, meaning ingredients with health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns.
- Products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG's "Restricted" list, which do not meet the restriction set by authoritative bodies and industry institutions.
- Products must fully disclose all ingredients on the label, including ingredients used in fragrance.
- Products must follow the European Union's requirements for labeling fragrance allergens and nanomaterials used in cosmetics.
Manufacturers can apply for certification and pay a fee to do so. If they receive the logo, it is valid for three years.
If the EWG Verified logo becomes widely used and recognized by the general public, this could be a game-changer for the personal care products industry. There has not been any comprehensive labeling program in place up until now, which means that EWG Verified is filling a need and would likely spur other companies to clean up their acts in order to qualify for certification, or at least score better on Skin Deep.