The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetic labeling under the authority of both the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). These laws and their related regulations are intended to protect consumers from health hazards and deceptive practices and to help consumers make informed decisions regarding product purchase.
Pharmaceutical prescription products require FDA approval prior to distribution and sale. However, the FDA does not pre-approve cosmetic product labeling. It is the manufacturer's and/or distributor's responsibility to ensure that products are labeled properly. Therefore, it’s important to protect yourself from purchasing potentially dangerous cosmetics.
The following are top seven tips on how to choose organic cosmetics.Make sure the cosmetics has not been fined or penalized by the FDA The FDA does report violations and cosmetic product recalls on their website at www.fda.gov. So, before you venture out into buying a new cosmetic line, visit the FDA website to make sure there has not been any reported violations.
Review the ingredients
The FDA requires that the manufacturer includes the ingredients of the product in order of dominance. In other words, if the product is 90% water, then, water appears as the first ingredient on the product label. This gives you a clue in terms of what the product is most made of.
Find out where the product is manufactured
Since cosmetics do not require pre-approval from the FDA, it is very risky to buy cosmetics that are relatively new. Therefore, it’s important to find out the manufacturing process of the product. Was the product produced in someone’s kitchen or was it manufactured in a manufacturing plant? Non-US manufactured cosmetics may contain more/less active ingredients compared to US manufactured cosmetics.
Read the WARNING and CAUTION sections of the product label
Most cosmetics are relatively harmless, but some have active ingredients that may be harmful to pregnant women or others as well. For example, there are certain side effects associated with using Retinol A. Some of these side effects include peeling, redness, skin warmth, skin irritation, increased sensitivity to sunlight, stinging at the site of application, nausea, dry skin and muscle pain.
Find out if the cosmetic has been ECOCERT?
ECOCERT® is the only organic certification for color cosmetics. The following are the standards for ECOCERT cosmetics:
No pre-treatment used in any of the raw materials found in organic formulas. All suppliers must pass an extensive review before their raw materials are approved. All manufacturing and packaging facilities undergo a rigorous inspection. All packaging must be recyclable.
Ask for recommendations from your dermatologists
Major cosmetic companies can afford to get their manufacturing process and products certified under ECOCERT. However, there are a number of legitimate products that have not been certified because of the high costs associated to certification. Therefore, it’s important to ask your dermatologists what he/she recommends as well.
Buy only the amount you will use
It’s important to note that organic makeup products actually spoil quicker than traditional makeup because there are no artificial preservatives in organic makeup. Therefore, do not be tempted by a sale or major discount unless you know that you will use the organic cosmetics within the recommended timeframe. For eyeliners and eye related makeup, discard after six months of initial use. For lipsticks and lip related products, discard within six months of initial use. For foundations or skincare related products, discard within one year of initial use. Get in the habit of labeling the bottom of your makeup containers, lipsticks, compact foundations and all cosmetic products with the date of initial use. Otherwise, you will forget when you first started using the product.