What Do Different Certifications Mean in the Beauty Industry?

We all have different needs when it comes to skin care and beauty products. Products that work, organic, non-toxic/clean, not tested on animals, the list goes on! There are various certifications in the beauty industry, all of which come with some strengths and weaknesses. I’ve broken down all the different certifications below so you can see what resonates most with you!

certifications in beauty products

Animal Testing

leaping bunnyLeaping Bunny

Leaping Bunny is the most widely recognized, respected and popular certification for companies to show that they do not test their products or ingredients on animals. The certification ensures that the manufacturing partners do not test on animals as well!


what-is-beauty-without-bunniesBeauty Without Bunnies and Choose Cruelty Free

Beauty Without Bunnies is PETA’s certification for non-animal testing and CCF is an Australian based organization that certifies ingredients and products are not tested on animals.



Ingredient Safety


EWG Verified

This is the first third-party certification showing that the ingredients used in a product are not toxic or harmful to human health. EWG Verified is a comprehensive assessment of ingredients based on the best scientific literature, any conscious beauty shopper can rest easy if they see a product has the EWG Verified logo. Think about this as a more stringent version of the EWG Skin Deep database “best” ranked products.


Made safeMADE SAFE

Another great certification, you can feel confident knowing that the ingredients are safe and vetted if the product is MADE SAFE certified. The certification uses credible science to make determinations about ingredient safety and goes a step beyond to conduct product testing. The bonus for MADE SAFE is they certify many different types of products (not just beauty/personal care) including some of my favorite mattress companies Naturepedic, toys and other products!


CFPChemical Footprint Project

While this isn’t a formal certification, it’s a great third party validation of how a company uses and screens chemicals for safety. The Chemical Footprint Project is a comprehensive survey that companies can take to rank and verify how well they screen ingredients for safety, share ingredients and materials transparently, openly advocate for policies that protect people and more.

Sourcing and Sustainability

Non-GMO Project

This is specific to people who want to have ingredients in their personal care products that haven’t been genetically modified at any point in time. I think this is a very useful certification for food, especially for those with Celiac disease or those who are gluten intolerant. I’m not convinced however that this is the most important thing to look out for with beauty products.


ECOCERT-ORGANIC-LOGO-290x300Ecocert Organic Standard

This is a natural organic ingredient and sustainability focused certification, rather than one that is focused on verifying the product is safe. Please read more about why “natural” beauty products aren’t automatically safe HERE, to learn more. The Ecocert label means that 95% of the ingredients must come from a natural and organic origin, it may not contain a few ingredients of concern (like parabens), and it also requires biodegradable or recyclable packaging.



The term organic isn’t regulated by the FDA when it comes to beauty products, so be wary of such marketing claims. I suggest flipping the product over and seeing which ingredients are actually organic (usually indicated by an asterisk) and note that the most credible certifications for this are USDA organic, Oregon Tilth and the Certified California Organic Farmers (CCOF).


veganCertified Vegan

This is the most comprehensive and stringent vegan certification in the marketplace. Often times companies will define what vegan means to them (kudos on the transparency!) and some go the extra step to achieve this certification. The bar is high, this certification not only addresses animal and insect products (like beeswax), it also takes on animal testing and materials used in the processing of ingredients.

cradle_to_cradleCradle to Cradle

Less popular in the beauty industry, but still important is the Cradle to Cradle product certification. According to their website, “The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process that looks at a product through five quality categories — material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product receives an achievement level in each category — Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum — with the lowest achievement level representing the product’s overall mark.”

Company Values/Corporate Governance

b-corp-logo-squareB Corporations

In order to be a Certified B Corporation, companies must achieve a qualifying score by addressing a long list of criteria that range from protecting the environment, paid maternity/paternity leave, corporate board and governance structure, employee diversity and inclusion, protecting public health through healthy products and so much more.

If you want to look for one certification that is the most comprehensive indicator of if that brand is forward thinking, good to the planet, people, it’s employees and community, then look for Certified B Corporations.


FSCForest Stewardship Council (FSC)

FSC Certified paper means that the wood used to create the paper was properly harvested, avoiding old growth forests and harmful pesticides and chemicals. If companies are using paper packaging or marketing materials, look for this logo to know they are responsibly sourcing their paper!


Certifications are meant to make our lives easier as consumers, but first it’s helpful to know what they do and do not cover. I hope you found this useful!

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