Read More Dirty Ingredients - Credo

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We introduced The Credo Clean Standard to all partners in April 2018. All new companies needed to comply right away, and existing brands have until October 2019 to fully comply. Rest assured that the existing brands have been onboard with the foundation of the Standard, Credo’s Dirty List. The Dirty List is a robust list of dozens of ingredients that we ask brands to avoid due to safety and/or sustainability reasons.

But the Credo Clean Standard goes beyond the Dirty List. It addresses key aspects of bringing a product from the formulating bench to our store shelves--ingredient sourcing, manufacturing, backing up marketing claims, defining and disclosing types of fragrance ingredients. Clear communication and documentation are key to executing the Standard.

With this mandatory policy, the strongest in retail, we are changing the game. For those of you who really want to tuck into The Credo Clean Standard, here are some of the specific areas of compliance.

Below are the highlights from The Credo Standard. Please note, these are excerpts from the actual Standard that we share with our brand partners, it is written with them as the audience. Many brands are already fully compliant, but the deadline for all brands is October 2019.


Dirty List

Additions and edits to the Dirty List. We’ve clarified and reorganized the Dirty List. The substance of the list remains the same, with these three additions:

1) Cyclical Silicones — Cyclical silicones include cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), cyclopentasiloxane (D5), cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and cyclomethicone. Data indicates that some of these chemicals may have reproductive, developmental toxicity and/or endocrine disruption concerns. They are also persistent in the environment, and may build up in the food chain.

2) Nitromusks and 3) Polycyclic Musks — There are several types of synthetic musks. Two types, nitromusks and polycyclic musks, have known and suspected health and environmental concerns ranging from suspected endocrine disruption to widespread environmental persistence. But most types of synthetic musks have little-to-no available data. Please see more on our fragrance policy below.

Synonyms. A prohibited ingredient by another name is still prohibited. Please ask formulators about ingredient synonyms, and ensure they’re using the INCI database.

Even trace amounts of Dirty List chemicals are prohibited.

Listing Ingredients by INCI

INCI names (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) are systematic names internationally recognized to identify cosmetic ingredients.

Please use INCI and only INCI on your Ingredient Lists (IL). We want to ensure there is a level playing field when communicating ingredients to consumers. Marketing language should live in marketing materials, not on ingredient lists.
• e.g. INCI: Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil* as opposed to organic sunflower seed oil. (where * denotes certified organic)


We strongly encourage our brands to use facilities which follow GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) guidelines.

Communication with Credo

If the brand reformulates the product OR an ingredient changes in a product, it is the brand’s responsibility to evaluate the new materials and inform Credo immediately if there are changes to the Ingredient List.

Minimum Consumer Safety and Product Viability Tests

Credo requires these basic safety tests before bringing the product to market. 

  • Our brands are in full compliance with US regulations.
  • This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Ingredients listed in descending order of predominance
  • Use restrictions for colorants
  • SPF claims, water resistance claims

Certifications and Claims

Our brands choose ingredient and product claims very carefully. All claims about ingredients need to be backed up on a letterhead or with copies of certification.  

General claims — Avoid “chemical-free” (because everything is a chemical) and “100%” claims. It is virtually impossible to have a product that is 100% pure, -clean, -organic, -natural, -safe, -free-of… there are too many processing steps, too much that is out of the control of the brands.

Organic — Credo’s standard is the same as COPA’s: “Organic” on principle label, or in marketing, means that your product contains at least 70% certified organic material. Identify each certified organic ingredient in the IL with an asterisk.

Cruelty-Free — Credo does not allow animal testing. Please obtain assurance. Note: Credo does allow carmine, lanolin and beeswax. Please ask suppliers for their policies on animal treatment and sustainability for lanolin (from sheep) and beeswax (from bees).

Credo’s fragrance policy 

“Fragrance” is a material or a combination of materials added to a cosmetic to produce a scent or to mask an odor. Our use of the term “fragrance” refers to the scent ingredients added to skin care and cosmetics, as well as to the fragrance category of products- parfum/perfume, cologne, body spray, room spray, and candle. (Note: All of the preferences and definitions below also apply to “flavor,” used primarily in lip products.)

Natural vs synthetic
Credo prefers natural fragrances over synthetic fragrances, but we do allow synthetic fragrances.

Prohibited fragrance ingredients
Phthalates have been on the Dirty List since Credo’s inception; phthalates are prohibited at any level, as are all ingredients on the Dirty List.

We’ve added nitromusks and polycyclic musks to the Dirty List, effective with the rest of the Brand Standard requirements in October 2019.

All fragrances must be IFRA compliant, so any ingredients prohibited or restricted under IFRA are prohibited or restricted by Credo as well.

Fragrance Disclosure and Categorization
We encourage brands to fully disclose all fragrance ingredients on packaging and/or online. We believe that the consumer has a right to know what is in the product.

Some brands would rather keep fragrance ingredients proprietary, which has long been the standard for our industry. So that customers can make more informed purchasing decisions, we are asking all brands to categorize their fragrances.

The fragrance categories are below. Where applicable, brands can choose more than one category for their product (i.e. natural + naturally-derived), with the exception of “unscented.” If a product is unscented, no other boxes are checked.

Unfragranced/unscented — No fragrance/parfume/scent or masking fragrance has been added to the product.

Essential Oils--Authentic essential oils are physically extracted by steam or expression (cold pressing) of the skin of the fruit. Essential oils have not been chemically altered (via reaction, solvent extraction) from their natural state.

Certified Organic Fragrance — A blend of essential oils derived from plants that are grown in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program. The essential oils are processed via physical means (steam and or hydrodistillation) without any reaction solvents.

Natural Fragrance — Natural fragrances are complex compositions of natural aromatic raw materials such as essential oils, isolates, extracts and volatile concentrates. As opposed to a whole essential oil found in a plant, these chemicals are physically isolated from natural compounds. Natural isolates are blended together to create a scent not found in nature, or a scent which cannot be extracted from a natural source. If only natural isolates are used, companies can declare the scent “natural.”

Naturally-Derived — Fragrance ingredients that have been extracted using solvents (alcohol, petrochemicals, vegetable oils), ingredients which have been extracted by biological means like fermentation, or ingredients which may have a natural component but have been significantly processed, combined with fully petrochemical ingredients.

Synthetic Fragrance — Ingredients which are new molecules, made in a laboratory. The majority of synthetic constituent ingredients are from petroleum byproducts. Synthetic “nature-identical” ingredients fall into this category as well. Credo allows synthetic fragrances as long as there are no Dirty List components.

Updated AUGUST 2018