Law introduced against misuse of 'natural' in beauty

It's been a big week for beauty brands in the US with news that legal guidelines will soon be in place regarding one of the industry's most prolific buzzwords of recent years.

On Tuesday, member of the US House of Representatives, Sean Patrick Maloney, introduced the Natural Cosmetics Act, that will officially define and legislate use of the word 'natural' and the term 'naturally derived' on personal care products. The aim of the act is to bring greater ingredient transparency and safety to consumers, while holding brands and suppliers accountable for the information provided on packaging.

According to a press release on Representative Maloney's own website, "Cosmetic products sold, labeled, or represented as 'natural' as defined by the bill must contain at least 70 percent natural substances, excluding water, to use the term"

It also explains that suppliers will be required to demonstrate an ingredient's naturalness by conducting a Carbon-14 test (that can identify if a material has synthetic, petroleum-sourced adulterants) which they must then submit to manufacturers.

The bill will also give the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) authority to issue a "cease distribution order, public notice on the FDA website, and voluntary recall authority of any product deemed misbranded under this act," explains the media release.

Since Tuesday, the bill has already received endorsements from brands, retailers and suppliers, including US-based clean beauty retailer Beautycounter. It's founder and CEO Greg Renfrew said in statement, "While words like 'natural' can signal a safer product, there are currently no industry standards...This landmark bill sets clear and reasonable standards for companies who want to claim an ingredient or product is natural, while instilling confidence for today's savvy consumer."

On why he is introducing the bill, Maloney said, "Right now, the FDA doesn't consider it misbranding for companies to label products as 'natural' even they contain toxins like coal tar, asbestos and other harmful chemicals. that's just not right.

"We're talking about the safety and health of millions of Americans who use these products. My bill will set the standard to 'natural' personal care products and do right by American consumers by putting transparency first."

Currently in Australia there are no legal regulations around use of the word 'natural' when it comes to beauty.

Newsletter image courtesy of Vox Media.