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Glossary

BDIH

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

CERTECH

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

ECOCERT

A French-based organization that certifies product as natural and/or organic. When it comes to organic beauty products, EcoCert guarantees the genuine practice of environmental respect throughout the production line, respect for the consumer, and promotion of natural substances of a superior ecological quality.

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. For example, GMOs are responsible for modifying plants to be more resistant to pests or require fewer pesticides or bear more fruit.

LIFESTYLES OF HEALTH AND SUSTAINABILITY (LOHAS)

An organized group that’s focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.

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, making it appropriate for all skin types and recommended for those with sensitive and/or acne- and rosacea-prone skin.

NATURAL

The term €œnatural is not regulated by the FDA, so Sephora has set our own high internal standards. The brands we call natural use mainly plant-based and naturally-derived ingredients, and they’re formulated with little to no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances or dyes, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), or Triclosan.

NATURAL PRODUCT ASSOCIATION (NPA)

A new natural-standards and certification program based in the US.

NSF INTERNATIONAL

A program that regulates and certifies the “made with organic” standard for personal care products.

ORGANIC

Refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. 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 theUSDA 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.

PARABENS

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

PERSONAL CARE COUNCIL

Based in Washington, DC, this leading national trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry is a source of information for scientific, legal, regulatory, legislative, and consumer safety matters.

PETROCHEMICALS

Petroleum derivatives such as petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, and propylene glycol that are commonly used in beauty products particularly in lip balm and gloss.

PHTHALATES

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

SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE

A detergent, or foaming agent, that makes products like body wash and shampoo form a lather.

SOIL ASSOCIATION

A United Kingdom-based environmental organization that sets standards for organic farming, organic food processing, organic restaurants and catering, organic fisheries, and organic textiles and leather.

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.

TRICLOSAN

An antibacterial ingredient.

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 productsare grown, handled, and processed (free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and insecticides).