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The truth behind common terms on product packaging

The truth behind common terms on product packaging

November is Healthy Skin Month, and we are committed to helping you get it all year-round! The skin’s health can be both positively and negatively affected by the products you use on your skin and hair every day, but do you know what those terms on their labels really mean? You might be surprised…

Safe for sensitive skin
This is a big selling point for anyone whose skin may be slightly or very reactive to any products they use (which includes haircare). Yet according to the U.S. F.D.A., “safe for sensitive skin” merely implies that a formula is less likely to cause allergic reactions. 

Beauty companies often use third-party HRIPT testing (which stands for human repeat insult patch test) in order to say a product is non-irritating as well as allergy- and safety-tested–although this is not required by the F.D.A. HRIPT is commonly used for skincare products, however haircare products are less likely to undergo this testing because many beauty companies don’t view haircare as skincare

However, this is at the core of the SEEN philosophy, so we subject all of our products to HRIPT. SEEN also performs additional third-party testing called sensitive skin HRIPT on volunteers with self-perceived sensitive skin so we can say our fragrance-free and scented products are safe for sensitive skin. 

Even more, all of SEEN’s fragrance-free products have received the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™ and our Fragrance-Free ShampooFragrance-Free Conditioner, and Magic Serum have also received SkinSAFE’s coveted “Trusted Choice” seals

Again, there’s no formal definition of “clean,” and different companies can set their own standards (just as retailers like Ulta Beauty and others have). Clean beauty products are generally formulated with ingredients that are considered non-toxic to protect the health of people. For some companies, “clean” includes sustainable and ethically-sourced ingredients that are better for the environment as well. At SEEN, we are committed to creating “clean,” vegan, and cruelty-free products that are formulated without sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, gluten, dyes, and other questionable or potentially harmful ingredients.

There are several reasons to choose fragrance-free hair and skincare products. Fragrance can be an allergen or irritant to some people, and it is known to be a trigger for eczema flare-ups. Skipping fragrance can also make a world of difference for those who experience a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, or even a migraine upon encountering strong scents. 

However, it’s important to know the difference between truly fragrance-free products and unscented products. Many products that are labeled as unscented may contain fragrance to neutralize unpleasant ingredient odors. SEEN offers fragrance-free versions of all of our products that do not include masking fragrance.

A key term to look for if you have acne-prone skin, non-comedogenic products are formulated so they won’t clog pores. Although many products labeled as non-comedogenic are subjected to clinical or dermatologist-overseen comedogenic testing to evaluate whether they will clog pores, surprisingly there is no regulation of the term “non-comedogenic” or any requirement that comedogenicity testing be performed.

Before any SEEN product is ready for third-party comedogenicity testing, our founder, Harvard-trained dermatologist Dr. Iris Rubin, tests multiple versions on her own skin. SEEN has also gone a major step further by performing an independent dermatologist-graded clinical study that showed 70% with body acne improved and 52% with face acne improved after using non-medicated SEEN Shampoo and Conditioner as a regimen for 8 weeks.*

To be truly cruelty-free, a final product formulation and none of its ingredients can be tested on animals. This was a priority for SEEN from day one, as our mission is to develop effective, luxurious products that deliver stronger, smoother, healthier hair while being kind to the skin—and doing no harm in the process. SEEN has received Leaping Bunny’s cruelty-free certification, as well as PETA’s Animal Test-Free and Vegan seals. Maintaining our cruelty-free status requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work with our ingredient supplier, as we are held accountable for our product-formulation practices through Leaping Bunny and PETA audits.

Natural and Organic
Natural products include ingredients or extracts from herbs, fruits, flowers, oils, minerals, and other non-synthetic sources, and this skincare term has a more concrete definition than many others you may see on product labels.

Organic products essentially take “natural” to the next level by using ingredients that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or other intervention. The main goal of organic farming is to preserve soil fertility, conserve water, and protect ecosystems. The F.D.A. and several other international organizations have strict requirements for labeling ingredients and products as organic.

SEEN loves to use naturally-derived ingredients when possible, however they aren’t always skin-friendly. (Case in point: Poison ivy is 100% natural.) Some botanicals and essential oils can irritate the skin, cause skin allergies, or clog pores. In fact, a Stanford clinical study found that more than 94% of the “natural” products tested contained at least one known contact allergen, and 90% had an ingredient that ranked in the top 100 most prevalent allergens. Since “natural” ingredients aren’t always a win for the skin, SEEN is formulated with both natural and safe synthetic ingredients—and without many common allergens—to support the health of the skin while delivering gorgeous hair.

At SEEN, we are all about transparency when it comes to the ingredients we source, how we test our products, and the science-backed claims we firmly stand behind. We know that product labels can be confusing, which is why we want to help educate our customers so they can make the best decisions for their skin and hair. We’re here to deliver a luxurious experience and amazing benefits for your hair and skin, without the need to make any compromises in terms of results.

*In a dermatologist-graded clinical study, 27 subjects with mild to moderate acne used SEEN shampoo and conditioner as a regimen for 8 weeks. SEEN is non-medicated and can help those for whom hair products are contributing to acne.