NPA Natural Standard for Personal Care Products


List of Certified Personal Care Products

List of Certified Personal Care Ingredients

The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products

Apply for Natural Certification for Personal Care Products
Apply for Natural Certification for Personal Care Ingredients

To protect and equip consumers to maximize their well being, NPA developed the Natural Standard and Certification for Personal Care Products, a set of guidelines that dictate whether a product can be deemed truly "natural." The standard encompasses all cosmetic personal care products regulated and defined by the FDA.

The Essence of the NPA Natural Standard

The NPA Natural Standard is based on natural ingredients, safety, responsibility and sustainability.

  • Natural Ingredients: A product labeled "natural" should be made up of only, or at least almost only, natural ingredients and be manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain ingredient purity.
  • Safety: A product labeled "natural" should avoid any ingredient with a suspected human health risk.
  • Responsibility: A product labeled "natural" should use no animal testing in its development.
  • Sustainability: A product labeled "natural" should use biodegradable ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging.

Under the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, allowed ingredients come from or are made from a renewable resource found in nature (flora, fauna, mineral), with absolutely no petroleum compounds.

For each ingredient, the substance must be listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA when used in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and contain no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by the FDA or the EPA or has been reviewed using criteria in this standard. NPA has developed the NPA Illustrative List as a reference document for the NPA Natural Standard and Certification Program.

The Illustrative List lists ingredients that may be allowed for products certified under the NPA Natural Standard because they meet the NPA definition of natural or they are allowed synthetics under the NPA Natural Standard. This list is not definitive and even though an ingredient is included on this list, it may not be accepted in all available forms. For example, an ingredient on the list may be available in both a natural (or natural sourced) form and synthetic (or synthetic sourced) form. In these cases, only those from the natural sources would be allowed.

To determine if an ingredient is appropriate for a NPA-Certified Natural Product, manufacturers must evaluate the ingredient to assure that it is made with raw materials from natural sources, verify it has been manufactured using the allowed ecological processes outlined in the NPA Natural Standard, and that the ingredient does not contain any prohibited substances identified in the Natural Standard. Manufacturers and retailers can find the definition of Natural, and a list description of allowed and prohibited ingredients and processes within the appendix of the Natural Standard for Personal Care Products. For a list of allowed commonly used ingredients, refer to the NPA Illustrative List.

The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products requires that companies be transparent, fully disclosing their ingredients accurately and truthfully. They should strive to maximize their use of recyclable and post-consumer recycled content in packaging. And no animal testing of ingredients or products is allowed. Companies must also provide verifiable information regarding all company personal care products to confirm that 60 percent of the personal care products in that brand line meet the NPA Natural Standard requirements.

What the NPA Natural Seal Means for You

Consumers: The standard will help you become more educated about ingredients and processes considered natural. It gives consumers the information you need to easily identify which personal care products meet the standard for natural, and make the best decisions when choosing products. Learn more.

Industry: The NPA Natural Standard for Personal Care Products will help you produce and bring to market personal care products that meet the definition of natural created by the industry's oldest and largest trade association for natural products. It gives manufacturers, suppliers and retailers the information and tools you need to maintain high levels of consistency among products labeled "natural," as well as inform consumers about how to identify truly natural personal care products. Learn more.

Useful Links

Frequently Asked Questions

Natural Certification Standard for Personal Care Products [pdf]

NPA Illustrative List of Ingredients [pdf]

NPA Illustrative List of Allowed Processes [pdf]

Apply for Natural Certification for Personal Care Products [pdf]

Apply for Natural Certification for Personal Care Ingredients [pdf]

The Natural Personal Care Work Group

For Further Reading

Navigating the Cosmetic Label: What Does It Really Mean?

What is Natural in Personal Care?