HowGood’s banned ingredients are prohibited for use in cosmetics by any of the following national and/or international regulatory bodies, with the vast majority coming from the EU:
The bar is set high for any of these three regulatory bodies to issue an outright ban on an ingredient. An assessment of the formula composition, manufacturing process, safety, and labeling is completed.
Though HowGood is U.S.-based, we include the Canadian and EU registries. While the U.S. FDA has only elected to prohibit 13 chemicals to date, the EU and Health Canada have far more stringent regulations and have a combined total of over 1300 banned ingredients.
Restricted ingredients include chemicals that can only legally be used in limited amounts in a product. This may apply to either the amount in a formulation, or the concentration of the chemical. Any ingredient in this category is restricted due to human health concerns, and could include allergens, endocrine disruptors, and carcinogens, though some may have legitimate therapeutic uses.
Primary sources that HowGood uses to compile the Restricted ingredient list include the following:
Chemicals of concern
Chemicals of concern are potentially harmful: chemicals included have shown some toxicity in studies but are not yet regulated by any government body. Some of these ingredients will prove to be safe, while others, with more studies, may be shown to have deleterious health effects for humans and/or the environment.
HowGood supports our community’s right to exercise the cautionary principle. If there is sound scientific evidence that a chemical may be harmful, we want to make it possible for users to make an informed decision while that chemical is evaluated to their satisfaction.
Undisclosed ingredients include items on an ingredient list that are catch-alls for various compounds. One of the most common examples is “fragrance,” which is often listed without revealing the various synthetic or natural compounds used to create it. While some are safe, others have health concerns. Generally, it is impossible to know unless the brand is more transparent and further detail is given.
Along with fragrance, other common examples are ethoxylated emulsifiers and surfactants. Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, is also considered an undisclosed ingredient if the grade is not explicitly stated.