Quick answer: the US Food and Drug Administration (the FDA). But it’s actually not that clear cut.
Let’s say you’re a youtuber and want to launch a lipstick, we’re talking hypothetically for the millennial crowd, there are a series of things legally you can and cannot include in your lipstick. That list is maintained by the FDA.
Now let’s say you want to launch an organic skincare line. The FDA doesn’t regulate what is and isn’t organic therefore has no real authority over the use of the term ‘organic’ meaning the cosmetic industry can go crazy with the word ‘Organic’ right? Wrong. Now we’ve entered into the territory of the National Organic Program (NOP) of the US Dept. of Ag. (USDA). A cosmetic can’t be deemed as a whole organic product because it’s made of several ingredients. In order to be called ‘Organic Skin Care’ a set percentage of those ingredients have to be certified organic ingredients and it’s not 100%. To become a certified organic ingredient, a grower cannot apply synthetic pesticides or fertilizers to that crop for 3 years. Now the NOP does have a list of pesticides that are allowed in organic production. Organic does not equal no pesticides. But that’s only for the organic claim, the cosmetic as a component still falls under the supervision of the FDA.
If you watched Jaclyn Hill’s 14 minute video which for anyone else that speaks at a normal speed would’ve taken 20 minutes, you might’ve caught her claim of ‘FDA approved ingredients’. There’s really no such thing as FDA approved ingredients with 1 exception. There are simply too many ingredients and it’s far too large of a industry to regulate it that way. Not to mention the cost to consumers would be substantial. The EPA regulates pesticides in that manner but that industry is tiny compared to the cosmetics industry. So no Jaclyn your ingredients aren’t all FDA approved because there’s no such thing. Jaclyn Cosmetics completely liable for the safety of her product. If there is a problem with an ingredient the FDA cannot be sued like the EPA because it doesn’t regulate ingredients the same way the EPA regulates pesticide ingredients.
Fun Fact: By 2023 it's estimated the global cosmetics market will be over $800 billion.
CLEAR? or Clear as Mud?
The 1 exception to the ‘no FDA approved ingredients list’ is color additives. If you’ve bought a palette with red and purple pigments in them you very likely missed the part that’s legally required to be there by the FDA. It’s a little blurp that this product is not intended for use in the eye area. Manny Mua, James Charles, and Jeffree Star all made it a point to repeat that little blurp in their videos when they launched their palettes and discussed them on YouTube. If you want to read the final discussion by the FDA regarding these pigments you can read it here. The reason the FDA did step in here is because they can regulate color additives like carmine and cochineal. These products can cause eye sensitivity and stain the eye lids. I can attest that red pressed pigments will stain the eye area and I have very fair skin.
For our lipstick example the FDA is considering requiring a lead analysis of lipsticks. A tentative limit of 10ppm (parts per million) of lead in lipsticks has been set and was open for public comment. But the FDA will not regulate where a company sources their material so it’s still up to the company to find sources of ingredients that do not go over that 10ppm limit. As far as the preservatives in lipstick, the mango butter, etc. the FDA has no control or very little control to regulate ingredients the cosmetics industry uses. It can set industry benchmarks but if someone comes up with a new butter from let’s say bananas the FDA does not require that banana butter to be approved by the FDA in order to be put into a cosmetic line.
Fungal filtrates are becoming a HUGE addition to the skin care market. A fungal filtrate can be anything, it’s a very very vague term. Kombucha is a form of fungal filtrate. Anything fermented including beer and wine is a fungal filtrate. All liquors are fungal filtrates. I’m going to do a post on what a fungal filtrate is in the near future. The FDA does not regulate the addition of fungal filtrates to cosmetic lines. It is entirely on the shoulders of the company to ensure they are producing a product that is acceptable for human use.
The only list the FDA includes is the Banned List, not an FDA approved list.
Sorry Jaclyn but your FDA approved claim…… bogus.
And there are hairs on the lippies. That hair is not on the ingredients list therefore it is a contaminant. You’re lipsticks are contaminated. They should be recalled. From a consumer standpoint if anything is contaminated with anything it should be recalled. If I find a hair in my food (which I have) I will send it back. It’s not a big deal to me, hair sheds. I also don’t want to eat someone else’s hair. The food is also contaminated. Chefs know this and typically it’s not given a second thought to make another plate on the fly. Where I do get annoyed is if my replacement is contaminated. Kind of like what’s happening now with Jaclyn’s lipsticks. When the replacement is also contaminated there is a very, VERY serious problem that has got to be addressed and not in a Youtube video.
If you want to submit a problem with a beauty product it goes to the FDA
Below is taken directly from the FDA’s website with hyperlinks included for ease of access. If you have an allergic reaction or find something if your makeup/skincare that should not be in there, REPORT IT. As a consumer it is your responsibility unfortunately to police the industry. The FDA does not have the manpower or resources to quality check every single cosmetic coming into the country or manufactured for sale in the US.
How should you submit your report?
You can report a problem to the FDA online, via phone, or via mail.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately.
- In limited emergency situations (which are urgent but not life-threatening), you or your health care professional can report problems to the FDA’s emergency line at 1-866-300-4374 or 301-796-8240. The line is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
- If you have questions, or want to talk with someone, call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator who works with your state. Phone numbers are listed online.
- To report online or via mail, visit the FDA non-emergency reporting page. There you’ll see exactly where to report problems with specific, regulated products. (For instance, you can submit reports to MedWatch, The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program or the Safety Reporting Portal, depending on the product.)
I’m going to part on this note. If your makeup or skincare is giving sensations or you don’t feel comfortable using it, report the issue to the FDA. Quit using the product. Return the product. Most returned products are thrown away because of the potential for tampering and hygiene. Labs overseas are not watched by any US institution as far as I’m aware and as a result some very questionable things can happen from a hygienic standpoint. Costs get cut by the labs and the companies contracting the labs to do business with them. The point of a business is to make money so it can continue to make product and expand.
There’s a lot more to cosmetics regulation that I haven’t included in here which would include EU standards which are significantly more rigorous than what the USA has on paper. I highly doubt the US will give stricter guidelines because of this launch. The JoJo Siwa contamination issue is a MUCH more significant oopsie that the FDA will be jumping on since it involved a banned substance. JoJo Siwa’s had found asbestos in her line and it was recalled immediately. Good for her too, she addressed it immediately, quickly, and it’s already died down. Her brand really isn’t hurt by it one bit.
Have you had any issues with your skin care or makeup? Let me know what it was in the comment section.
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