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Know Your Natural Skin Care Symbols

By on May 2, 2017
Ethical Stamp

Pop quiz: Grab three to five of your favorite products from your medicine cabinet, vanity, or beauty shelf. Scan each box, bottle, or tube for tiny symbols that are on the labels and packaging, often near the product ingredients list. How many of these mysterious logos can you name off the top of your head?

If you’re having trouble naming two or more of these symbols, you’re not alone. Even though consumers typically look for the types of ingredients used and looking for ingredients that they are familiar with, there’s still a lack of awareness and confusion when it comes to the certifications and symbols commonly found in the packaging. 

But if all of us just take a minute or two to learn about and scan for these helpful symbols on the labels, we can make better decisions on the products that we buy. In the natural health and wellness community, these various symbols help consumers who are specifically looking for products that are vegan, cruelty free, and environmentally friendly, among others.

Eco-Ethical Logos Explained

One trusted natural skincare brand that proudly displays these useful natural symbols on their products is DERMA E. The eco-ethical beauty company from Southern California features several natural symbols on all of their packaging, which is a handy guide to learning about natural symbols.

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The Recyclable logo has been around since the 1970s and is one of the most universally recognized symbols in consumer culture. The three arrows symbolize the conversion of waste into reusable material, which in turn reduces energy use and pollution.

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Does this symbol mean “No bunnies allowed,” you ask? The Cruelty-free logo came out of the animal rights movement and puts a stamp on products and activities that do not harm, test, or kill animals. Since 1984, DERMA E has never tested its products on animals and is 100 percent vegan.

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Two leaves that form into a V shape is commonly associated with a product that is 100 percent vegan. The vegan logo is not a verified logo as of this time, but it does signify that the item that you are purchasing does not contain any animal ingredients or animal by-products. 

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Products that are certified Gluten Free typically bears the symbol of a leafy branch with a line through it. This lets consumers know that even those with topical allergies are safe from using these types of products.

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There are ongoing debates on the inclusion of the “GMO Free” or “Non-GMO” symbol in product packaging, but because this logo is already out there on shelves , it’s  important to know how to detect if certain natural product lines avoid GMOs in their formulas.

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Brands like DERMA E look out for consumers with soy allergies and therefore they include an easy to spot Soy Free symbol in the packaging of all their products.

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More and more companies are adopting wind-powered energy into their manufacturing, thereby lowering its environmental footprint. While it’s not as universally recognized as the Recyclable or the Cruelty Free symbols on this list, the logo of a wind turbine on a natural brand packaging means that the it was manufactured with wind power.



  1. Brenden

    May 19, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Thanks so much for the info Charleen.  Are there actual approved logos for each of these or are they just general guidelines.  For example, I've seen two or three different cruelty free labels out there, so are they all the same or some not really representative of the label?  Thanks!
  2. Charleen Wyman

    May 21, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    There are three bunny logos associated with organizations: the Leaping Bunny logo from Cruelty-Free International, PETA's Cruelty-free logo and the Choose Cruelty-Free logo (this is for and from Australian products). 

    However, some companies can still be certified by the Leaping Bunny or PETA without displaying these logos on their packaging. Why? Companies must pay an extra fee for authorization to display the cruelty-free symbol on their products. Almost less than half of the companies found on the Leaping Bunny and PETA’s lists display the logo.

    For more information, I found this article to be a comprehensive one. http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-101/cruelty-free-bunny-logo/

    This article is of interest on the topic and takes an in depth look at the brands that do and do not test on animals http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/skincare/cruelty-free-skincare-brands/




  3. Jeanette

    July 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Excellent advice!  Keep up the good work.  - Jeanette / http://bit.ly/2tWEFKN

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