When I first became interested in safer, greener body care and cosmetics, finding the best products was rough. I’ve spent a ton of time over the last 20 years researching companies and products, reading reviews, and hunting down ingredient lists. After researching, I’d have to decide if a product fit my ideal of a safe, eco-friendly product.
What a pain.
Still, on the down side, research takes time. Many online reviewers of products are content to offer up shady, lame reviews, making it hard to trust what you read. Plus, lots of companies suck when it comes to greenwashing, disclosure and/or keeping up their website Q&A and designing informative labels.
The above said, I was very happy, back in 2007, when I found the then, newly launched, Skin Deep. Skin Deep, sister site to Environmental Working Group (EWG) researches products and ingredients, and posts safety ratings, along with health information about cosmetics ingredients on their site, making it easier for folks to find safer products.
Over the last decade, Skin Deep has refined their site and processes, creating what’s likely the best resource consumers have with regards to body care and cosmetic safety. I don’t always agree with everything Skin Deep or EWG says, but I appreciate the effort and the time they’ve saved me over the years.
EWG VERIFIED launches
Now, Skin Deep is going beyond the website, with a new EWG VERIFIED label. Great news because thus far, here’s what shopping looks like for consumers interested in safer, greener products…
- Go to the store to buy something.
- BUT before you go, research products and ingredients and write up a list of stuff that’s ok to buy.
- Or while at the store, use an app to look up products.
- Or while at the store, spend hours reading labels on sadly, inadequately labeled products.
- Get super frustrated, give up or buy something you’re not sure about.
EWG VERIFIED is trying to make shopping shenanigans a thing of the past. The EWG VERIFIED mark on a product will allow shoppers to:
- See the mark.
- Know a product is safe.
- Buy it.
What is the EWG VERIFIED mark?
The new mark (shown above) is being touted as a quick and easily identifiable way of conveying personal care products that meet EWG’s strict health criteria. Once verified as safe by Skin Deep, a product may display the mark on their product.
When consumers go shopping, they can skip the research and app, and instead simply look for the EWG VERIFIED mark.
What can be verified?
In order for a company to use EWG VERIFIED on their products, the company must meet some awesome standards, including…
- They must fully discloses the products’ ingredients on their labels or packaging.
- Products must not contain any ingredients listed on EWG ingredients of concern list.
- Company must have good manufacturing practices.
- Products must score “Green” on the Skin Deep database. Skin Deep rates on a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 representing the best and 10 representing the worst. Only products with a “green” rating score of 1 or 2 are eligible to display the mark.
- And more… see all the EWG VERIFIED criteria.
Nothing is perfect, and I bet EWG VERIFIED will have its own fair share of issues. For example, EWG receives licensing fees from all EWG VERIFIED member companies. I’m sure the fees help support EWG’s work and research, but generally, I’m skeptical of licensing fees for a label like this. I wouldn’t want money to sway decisions. I doubt EWG will be swayed by cash, but the possibility is there.
The scope of the label is limited. For now, eligible products include baby products, hair products, makeup, nail products, skin products (including moisturizers, lip balms and makeups with SPF), and oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.
Products making medical claims, beach and sport sunscreens, aerosols of any kind and some other products are not eligible for EWG VERIFIED. Ultimately, EWG VERIFIED notes that they hope to expand to many household products, but they’re kicking things off with some very basic personal care products.
Lastly, it may take some time for companies to one, get verified and two, start including the mark on their products, but you can always check out Skin Deep for a list of verified products.
Overall this is a good deal…
There’s a slew of complicated product labels out there. This is a label that may actually make it easier, not more confusing for consumers. Next time you head to the store, forget the DIY research, forget the apps, and just look for the new EWG VERIFIED mark.