As we all know, just because a product makes a claim doesn’t mean it’s true. In some industries, such as the food industry, an “organic” label has meaning and verifiable, regulated standards.

In the beauty industry, though, the lines aren’t so clearly drawn, and this can be confusing for cosmetologists and consumers alike. For example, the word “natural” doesn’t guarantee it’s made from all-natural ingredients, and it certainly doesn’t mean the product is safe.

Reviewing the label can also be misleading because personal care products can hide behind the term “fragrance.” In this industry, fragrances are considered trade secrets, and the ingredients within fragrances are not required by law to be revealed.

Several websites can help you in your quest to educate your students about safer products, including:

  • At GoodGuide, you can find more than 250,000 products with reviews based on scientific ratings. GoodGuide scientists rate products on a 1 to 10 scale for their health, environmental, and social impact. Personal care item reviews include soap, cleansers, shampoos and conditioners, skincare, and makeup.
  • Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database gives you critical information about personal care products. Staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. They then provide safety ratings for the products based on that research.

The bottom line is that cosmetologists must be prepared to answer product questions from clients. Need safety training for your cosmetology classroom? You know where to go.