Personal Care, Cosmetics & Household Ratings
What’s Covered in Our Ratings
The GoodGuide rating was developed using methodologies that are grounded in chemical hazard identification and context of use (i.e. products applied dermally vs. ingested). In some cases where the manufacturer has disclosed product ingredients to GoodGuide, we also know the amount (concentration) of a particular chemical or ingredient which may be taken into consideration in the scoring (i.e. 60% water, 20% citric acid, etc.). When that additional information is known and then complies with applicable use restrictions, we may issue a “Benchmark Exception”. Beyond this information, manufacturers also have the ability to disclose to GoodGuide the ingredients used in fragrances, which can also impact the manufacturers overall score.
Each rating primarily reflects an assessment of the individual ingredients in a product. When ingredients used in fragrances are known, those ingredients are also considered in the assessment. To rate chemical containing products, we screen the products ingredients against authoritative or governmental lists which identified hazard concerns.
Through a partnership with Good Housekeeping, GoodGuide ratings also include information about the performance of a product when it is available. Products that carry the Green Good Housekeeping Seal will receive a higher rating, reflecting a benchmark in performance, a multi-faceted review of a product’s measurable environmental impact, and the company’s corporate social responsibility factors.
Our 0-10 Score
Our ratings range from 0 (low) to 10 (high) with higher numbers indicating products with the fewest hazardous ingredients. For example, products that rate 8 or above have no or fewer ingredient hazards, while the products with more ingredient hazards, rate 4 or below. For products where we have not been provided details on the ingredients used in “fragrances”, scores will never go higher than a “6” even when the remainder of the product itself contains ingredients with no or fewer hazards. Our summary scores provide you with simple, actionable information making it easier for you to find products best suited for you and your family. See the sections below to learn more about the details of how GoodGuide calculates product ratings.
In association with our numerical ratings, we use a consistent color scale ranging from red (low) to green (high) to quickly convey to users where a rating falls on the spectrum of products.
What’s Covered in our Ratings
Our ratings characterize the suspected or known intrinsic hazards of the evaluated products. The following four broad classes of indicators are used in a product’s hazard assessment:
- Intrinsic Hazard: indicators providing information about the known or potential hazards of a product. What degree of intrinsic hazard do product ingredients pose? When assessing the hazard of an ingredient, properties like toxicity, corrosiveness, or allergens are examples of intrinsic properties that can be hazardous to health.
- Data Adequacy: For each product, determining a GoodGuide rating involves knowing what ingredients are in the product, knowing how much of the ingredient is in the product and having available information on the product ingredient’s hazards. The data adequacy score assess how much information is available on a given product and downgrades the score if certain pieces of data are not known or available.
- Additional Negative Aspects: indicators providing product regulatory information such as a product using a banned ingredient (i.e. an ingredient can be banned from Cosmetics in Europe and approved in the U.S.) or selectively restricted ingredients (i.e. an ingredient in nail polish may be ok, but that same ingredient in baby shampoo may not).
- Third-Party Certification & Verifications: indicators identifying whether a product is among the top performers in the market based on third-party certification assessments of product safety, performance tests by independent laboratories, or other important attributes. Products that have earned the UL ECOLOGO, EPA Safer Choice, Cradle to Cradle, or the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, have gone through an extensive certification process and for that reason, these products are rewarded a rating of 10; products that have earned the Good Housekeeping seal are awarded a “product performance” score for undergoing an evaluation by the Good Housekeeping Institute and have been assessed to perform as intended.
The availability and type of ratings vary across different product categories:
- For personal care and household products, ratings are determined by the number of ingredients with intrinsic hazards or regulatory concerns.