What the HECK are EWG Ratings? And Why Should You Care??

In the world of skincare there is no shortage of ratings and regulations that are vying for your attention. It has become more than just a matter of health and wellness. Arguably we’ve entered into the realm of status when it comes to which products hold what accolades and passed which tests to make it on our shelves with those coveted fine print ratings markers. You probably know at least a few of these by now. Leaping bunny, vegan, cruelty-free, organic, and the one we are currently the most interested in at the moment, EWG verified. 


With all of these different criteria and qualifications you might wonder why it is we’ve zoned in on just one in particular: EWG ratings. What on earth is EWG? Where did it come from, what does it stand for? And most importantly WHY is this important to you? How can you use EWG guidelines to your benefit as a consumer? Let’s do a little digging!


THE EWG: A BRIEF HISTORY

The logical place to start is with this: what does EWG stand for and where did it come from? EWG stands for the Environmental Working Group, an American nonprofit organization with the main goal of driving companies to create safer healthier products across the board. They’ve been around since 1993 and assert that many consumers are unaware of what exactly is in the products they purchase from personal care items to the foods they eat, even our furniture! They strive to provide resources for consumers to better educate themselves on the products they’re buying and the specific ingredients they contain in regards to your health and safety. 


Over the years we’ve been much more open to analyzing the foods we eat and what exactly goes into the things we purchase from the supermarket shelf, but the same attention hasn’t always been paid when it comes to personal care products such as cosmetics or, surprise surprise, skincare. Many skincare products contain chemicals and toxins that aren’t only unneeded to produce a good product but can also be harmful! This isn’t helped by the fact that when the average person takes a glimpse at the ingredients list half of what they see looks like gibberish. How is anyone supposed to make sense of all of that? The EWG wants to take away some of that confusion by providing consumers with the information they need to make educated decisions on the products they buy.


THE EWG AND THE SKINCARE WORLD

You may have never heard of the EWG until this point, but they’ve been a big hit on the K-beauty scene. We’ve talked in depth about K-beauty and our love for their skincare philosophy. Their focus on clean beauty has taken the world by storm! This is also one of the reasons they’ve gravitated so strongly towards catering their products to EWG Green standards of health and safety. The EWG seems equally smitten! It only takes a glance at their “Best Bets” list to find a plethora of K-beauty products that hit all of their criteria. They’ve done several studies regarding K-beauty comparing various products, ingredients, price points, and generalized trends. 


When it comes to skincare the EWG has it down to a science, literally. They are less focused on the labels “natural”, “organic”, or “vegan”, choosing instead to align themselves with “clean”, “safe”, and “healthy”. This means that products and ingredients they’d recommend don’t always land on vegan or organic ingredients lists but they are very vocal about their promise to maintain “the strictest standards for your health”. Again, their main goal here is to assess the efficacy of a product or ingredient and it’s safety both alone and in specific products. 


To truly understand their focus on safety you have to understand exactly how their ratings work. The EWG gives ratings using a two part system, one number for the “hazard” of a product or ingredient and one for it’s “data availability”, in layman’s terms the quantity, availability, and accuracy of any information available on the product or ingredient. You can find specific details on their scoring here, but the basic gist of it all is that they value information, both at a qualitative and quantitative level. The more information available on an ingredient and the lower the risk assessment of that ingredient the higher the score will be and vice versa. 


WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT TO US?

As lovers of K-beauty and skincare in general we took an immediate interest in EWG ratings and their part in finding good clean ingredients. As a company focused on maternity and postpartum skincare we care deeply about the ingredients in our products. They have to be safe not just in general terms but also in terms of pregnancy and breastfeeding mamas. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure our ingredients are safe to use in every sense of the word! Healthy, glowing mamas from inside out!


HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?

Knowing more about the ingredients that go into your skincare can help you to take better care of your skin! By knowing what ingredients are good for your skin you can better analyze what ones would help specific skincare concerns you might have.


This does NOT mean that all chemicals in skincare are inherently “bad”. To the contrary there are many that can be very good for you and for the longevity of the actual product itself. Everything, after all, is a chemical of some sort. Here at Element Mom we believe in being transparent about our ingredients and we strive to choose the best skin nourishing ingredients that you can feel good about using.


The EWG is also NOT the end-all-be-all authority on what is good for you and your body. Not as a mother, or a woman, or just a human being in general. But it DOES give you more information and knowledge to make more educated decisions. The EWG is first and foremost a resource for consumers. It’s still our responsibility as consumers to look further into the products we purchase and what exactly goes into them. After all, we’re stuck with the skin we’re in! So wouldn’t you want to pick the best ingredients and products to nurture and care for that skin?


If we use the resources we’ve been given, like EWG ratings, as guidelines to further inform our decision making then ultimately we become better equipped as skincare enthusiasts and consumers to choose safer, healthier, good-for-you products.