How a Local Clean Beauty Retailer Is Battling Iffy Ingredients


Do you know what's in your makeup? Can you pronounce the ingredients in your skincare favorites? San Francisco-born clean beauty retailer Credo believe you should understand what you're putting on your skin, so it's tightening its already-strict product standards.

Let's start with the Credo baseline: The company claims to provide the largest clean beauty and skincare assortment in the US. Products are vetted by experts, and field-tested in-house. Credo carefully examines every ingredient, so customers don’t have to. Last week, Credo announced that it's implementing even more stringent standards, most of which fall into four categories: the dirty list, label transparency, documentation, and fragrance.

  • The Dirty List: Credo has updated its Dirty List of mainstream beauty ingredients that are banned from Credo's stores and site to include cyclical silicones. New data indicates that some of these chemicals may cause reproductive and/or endocrine disruption concerns.
  • Label Transparency: It turns out that what constitutes a "natural" beauty product isn't well-defined. While Credo has always vetted brands prior to offering them to consumers, the retailer is requiring brands to align with uniform definitions of "natural" and "naturally-derived" moving forward.
  • Documentation: To be sold at Credo, all brands must obtain full documentation from their suppliers regarding manufacturing practices and ingredient purity. 
  • Fragrance: Fragrance ingredients are typically undisclosed in consumer packaged goods, so Credo is encouraging all brands to fully disclose ingredients on the label, and—at a minimum—requiring them to categorize their ingredients (i.e. "natural," "naturally-derived," "synthetic") to ensure consumers can make informed purchases. 

As of May 1, 2018, any brands newly sold at Credo must comply with the new standards to make it to Credo's shelves. Existing brands have 18 months—no later than October 2019—to fall into line.

Why now?

This week, the Food and Drug Administration Cosmetic Bill turned 80. While that might generally be cause for celebration, Credo says there have been no new regulations banning harmful or toxic personal care ingredients in the US during that time. According to Credo's website. Canada has banned or restricted 600 ingredients from personal care products. In the EU, there are more than 1,400 banned ingredients. In the US, there are only 30 banned ingredients. 

Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that, according to data from the FDA, nearly one in five cosmetic products contains a substance that generates formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. Since the government isn't doing anything to rein in potentially-harmful ingredients, Credo is setting an example as a clean-beauty business—both in carefully selecting its inventory and speaking up about harmful ingredients in the industry. You read more about Credo's credo here.

Want to jump on the safe beauty bandwagon?  Start with EWG's Skin Deep cosmetics database, which has tested and rated more than 70,000 beauty products. (Don't worry, a product can be synthetic and safe.) If you prefer to jump straight into clean cosmetics, you can shop Credo online and in real life at 2136 Fillmore Street.