About the Program
What is the new EWG VERIFIED™ program? Why was it developed?
EWG VERIFIED™ takes EWG's widely acclaimed Skin Deep® rating system one step further by requiring companies to submit significantly more detailed information to confirm that they: avoid ingredients that authoritative health bodies have flagged for potential health concerns; fully disclose their ingredients to consumers; ensure that their products are adequately preserved and free of contaminants; and follow good manufacturing practices. To be authorized to use the EWG VERIFIED™ mark, a company must meet all our rigorous criteria and provide additional information not typically found on the product label – an effort to drive the market toward greater transparency.
EWG VERIFIED™ makes it easier for consumers to make healthy purchasing choices. When consumers searching product aisles see the EWG VERIFIED™ mark, they know that products bearing it meet EWG's strictest criteria for transparency and healthfulness.
As a company, why should I get my product(s) EWG VERIFIED™?
If you align with EWG and are committed to creating safer products with greater transparency, this program allows you to convey that your products meet EWG's strictest criteria, setting your products apart from others on the market. Specifically, the EWG VERIFIED™ mark helps to:
- highlight quickly and easily that your product meets EWG's strictest standards, making healthier shopping decisions easier for consumers.
- demonstrate that your company aligns with EWG in its commitment to using better ingredients and dedication to transparency.
- move the market toward safer, more transparent products.
- support the groundbreaking research done by EWG.
Where does revenue from the EWG VERIFIED™ program go?
EWG works constantly to stay up to date on science and keep its research, consumer guides and databases timely and accurate. Revenue generated from EWG VERIFIED™ helps EWG assess whether products qualify for the program and ensures that EWG can continue its critical research and distribute it to consumers and beyond. EWG's research ensures that consumers have access to information to make smarter choices and push policymakers to strengthen weak and outdated regulations.
Will EWG VERIFIED™ expand beyond personal care products?
Yes. Ultimately, EWG VERIFIED™ will expand to many household products – including other product categories that EWG currently rates and others it may rate in the future. We are starting with personal care products, but we are eager to expand the program to help people make healthier purchasing decisions in all aspects of their lives.
About Healthy Lifestyle Brands
What is Healthy Lifestyle Brands? What is its role in EWG VERIFIED™?
Healthy Lifestyle Brands is a licensing and brand management company whose mission is to be the leading resource for information, products, services and philanthropy based on the principles of integrative health and wellness.
Healthy Lifestyle Brands believes that optimal health and wellness are the foundation of a good life. Its trusted experts provide information that helps consumers make confident decisions.
By partnering with EWG, Healthy Lifestyle Brands is helping EWG to deliver its science and criteria to the marketplace and to empower consumers seeking to live healthier lives.
With its experience and expertise in licensing and brand building, Healthy Lifestyle Brands helps to manage the EWG VERIFIED™ program to ensure that products bearing the mark meet the standards developed by EWG's years of expert research.
Criteria and Submission Questions
I represent a cosmetics company interested in having the EWG VERIFIED™ mark on our products. How do I begin?
How does EWG determine if a product qualifies for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark?
EWG developed a strict set of criteria to evaluate which products are eligible for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark. In the case of personal care products, the criteria include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Products must score "green" in EWG's Skin Deep® database.
- Products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG's "Unacceptable" list.
- Products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG's "Restricted" list that do not meet the restrictions set by authoritative bodies and industry institutions.
- Products must follow standard ingredient naming guidelines.
- Product labels must fully disclose all ingredients, including ingredients used in fragrance.
- Products must pass initial basic microbial challenge tests and repeat these tests as appropriate.
The full criteria can be downloaded here.
What types of cosmetics or personal care products are eligible for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark? Are there product types that are not eligible?
Products in any of these product categories may be eligible for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark:
- baby products
- hair products
- nail products
- skin products (including moisturizers, lip balms and makeups with SPF)
- oral care products, including toothpaste and mouthwash.
See the full list of eligible product types in the criteria document here.
Some product categories are not currently eligible for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark. They are outlined in the full criteria document here.
Are all SPF products, including sunscreens, eligible for EWG VERIFIED™?
No. While, moisturizers, lip balms and makeups with SPF are eligible for EWG VERIFIED™, beach and sport sunscreens are not eligible for the program at this time.
Does EWG VERIFIED™ account for the efficacy of SPF products?
No. For the time being, EWG VERIFIED™ standards do not concern the efficacy of SPF products. Rather, the program’s standards indicate when products avoid EWG’s ingredients of concern, have fully transparent labeling, and are made with good manufacturing practices, in addition to the other requirements described in the criteria document.
Where can I find EWG's "Unacceptable" list of ingredients?
EWG compiled a list of "Unacceptable" ingredients based on a variety of health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns. The full list can be downloaded here.
Where I can find EWG's "Restricted" list of ingredients and the associated restrictions?
EWG's "Restricted" list is based on restrictions set by authoritative bodies and industry bodies. The restrictions include, but are not limited to, concentration, use and contamination. The full list can be downloaded here.
Where can I find the full set of criteria used to determine eligibility for the EWG VERIFIED™ program?
The full criteria can be downloaded here.
Does EWG conduct audits of products to make sure that they continue to meet the criteria?
The EWG VERIFIED™ mark is valid for only up to three years. Once that period elapses, a company must resubmit its product information anew and complete the verification process again if it wants to keep the mark on its product.
In addition, EWG reserves the right to test products carrying the mark at any time to ensure that they meet our strictest standards as outlined in our EWG VERIFIED™ criteria.
EWG's Skin Deep® Database
What is Skin Deep®?
Launched in 2004, EWG's Skin Deep® database is an online guide for cosmetics and other personal care products that consumers use to find products with fewer ingredients that are potentially hazardous or haven't been thoroughly tested. Skin Deep® combines product ingredient lists with information from more than 50 standard toxicity and regulatory databases to calculate a score for each product and ingredient. The database provides easy-to-navigate hazard ratings for tens of thousands of personal care products. For more information about Skin Deep®, visit https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. See https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/site/about.php to learn how products are scored.
How does EWG VERIFIED™ differ from Skin Deep®? Does this program make Skin Deep® obsolete?
EWG's Skin Deep® is here to stay and will remain an important tool for consumers as well as the basis for EWG VERIFIED™.
Skin Deep® is an educational tool for consumers that rates personal care products based on their ingredients. EWG VERIFIED™ goes one step further by requiring companies to submit additional information that is not available on product labels. The EWG VERIFIED™ program also offers an easily recognizable mark for companies to use on their products at point of sale to help consumers readily identify products that meet EWG's strict criteria.
How much does it cost to get EWG VERIFIED™?
EWG VERIFIED™ is a trademark licensing program that follows a published set of health standards independently developed by EWG's research team. The program, currently available in the personal care and cosmetics category, is designed to facilitate participation by companies of all sizes and stages of development. Costs for participation vary widely, generally ranging from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars per year based on factors such as: company size and stage of development, pricing structure options (some of which may include a royalty percentage fee on licensed product sales), number and sales of EWG VERIFIED™ products, and related considerations. Typical fees include an application fee, an evaluation fee (if applicable), and a trademark usage royalty or annual flat fee. The EWG VERIFIED™ license agreements generally are for an initial term of three years and include standard licensing provisions, including with respect to quality control.
Revenue generated from the EWG VERIFIED™ licensing program helps to support the assessment process necessary to determine whether products meet EWG's health standards and ensures that EWG can continue its critical research and distribute it to consumers and beyond.
To learn more please contact [email protected].
Where can the EWG VERIFIED™ mark be displayed?
The EWG VERIFIED™ mark can be displayed on:
- product labeling and packaging.
- company websites.
- sales and promotional materials.
How long does the verification process take?
The time frame for completing the EWG verification process may be different for each application. The timing depends, in part, on the number of products being submitted and the need for additional documentation. Once you have submitted a complete application, allow 6-8 weeks for processing and review.
If my company's product is approved for the EWG VERIFIED™ program, how long is the mark valid?
The EWG VERIFIED™ mark is valid for up to three years. If your company wants to maintain the mark beyond that time, you have to resubmit your product for verification.
If I want the EWG mark on my product, do I need to submit it to Skin Deep® first?
No. As part of the verification process, companies explicitly allow EWG to upload their product information to the Skin Deep® database to verify that the product scores in the "green" range. There is no need to submit the information to Skin Deep® first. Products will be publicly searchable in Skin Deep® whether or not they ultimately meet all criteria for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark.
I have many products that score green on Skin Deep®. Why aren't they automatically eligible for EWG's mark?
Having a green score is only one component of EWG's verification criteria. There could be various reasons your products might not be eligible the EWG VERIFIED™ mark. For example, your products may be in a category that is ineligible for verification. The full set of criteria used to determine whether a product is eligible for EWG's verification program is here.
If you have additional questions about your product's eligibility, contact [email protected].
My product's Skin Deep® score changed and it is no longer in the green range. What do I do?
If your product's Skin Deep® score changed from a green to a yellow or red score, it is no longer in compliance with the EWG VERIFIED™ criteria. You have 18 months to either reformulate and resubmit your product to regain compliance or to remove the EWG VERIFIED™ mark from your product packaging and associated materials.
My product contains a restricted ingredient. How do I prove that it meets the restrictions?
If your product contains a restricted ingredient, you will be prompted by EWG to submit documentation proving that you comply with the restriction. You will then receive the necessary forms. If you have further questions, contact [email protected].
My company reformulated a product that had the EWG VERIFIED™ mark on it. Do we need to go through the verification process again?
Yes. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark on a product is specific to that formulation. If the formulation changes, your company has to resubmit the product for verification. If you have further questions, contact [email protected].
I have a product whose formulation includes a proprietary ingredient. Is it eligible for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark?
No. One of the criteria for EWG's verification is complete ingredient disclosure. To be eligible for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark, products must fully disclose all ingredients on the label, including those used in fragrance and flavor mixtures and chemicals used to coat mineral ingredients.
How often does EWG review and update the "Unacceptable" and "Restricted" ingredient lists? What happens if a change affects my product's compliance with EWG's program?
EWG reviews and updates the "Unacceptable" and "Restricted" lists once a year to reflect the latest in science, regulations and other relevant considerations. If changes are made to these lists that affect a product's compliance, companies have 18 months to make the necessary changes to the formulation and packaging. After the 18-month period, companies are no longer allowed to manufacture or distribute products with the EWG VERIFIED™ mark that do not comply with the new "Unacceptable" or "Restricted" lists.