Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Natural Means to the NPA

The NPA Natural Standard Seal
In the beauty industry, the term "natural" is subject to interpretation. It isn't regulated by the FDA like the term "organic" is. Any brand can call their product natural and claim that they use natural ingredients, which only ends up creating a lot of confusion for consumers. Luckily, there is a non-profit organization dedicated solely to the natural products industry. The Natural Products Association (NPA) has made it their mission to define what a "natural" personal care product is and what it is not by creating the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products.

According to the NPA, the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products is a set of guidelines that dictate whether a product can be deemed truly "natural." This includes all cosmetic personal care products regulated and defined by the US Food and Drug Administration. Companies attempting to have their products certified under the NPA Natural Standard must be transparent and fully disclose their product's ingredients truthfully and accurately. The NPA Natural Standard is based on the following criteria:

Natural Ingredients
Under this standard, in order for a product to be considered "natural", it should be made up of or at least consist only of natural ingredients. The NPA believes that natural ingredients should be made with raw materials from natural sources. These ingredients should also be manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain the ingredient's purity.

Safety
Any product deemed "natural" should be perfectly safe for human use. Natural products should not contain any ingredients that may be suspect to a human health risk.

Responsibility
The NPA strongly believes that "natural" products do not and should not use animal testing in their development.

Sustainability
A product labeled "natural" should use biodegradable ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging.

Currently, the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products is the closest thing the beauty industry has to an industry standard definition for the term "natural." Just because something is deemed natural, doesn't mean that it has to be expensive and hard to get. Brands such as Burt's Bees, Yes To Carrots and J.R. Watkins are affordable and available at many of your local drugstores. Many of the products within these product lines are also certified by the NPA and sport the NPA Natural Standard seal.

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