via TheBeautyBrains

 Sherly asks…I’ve been purchasing shampoos that are either organic sulfate paraben
free or sulfate paraben free. I purchase these shampoos because sulfate
shampoos makes my scalp itch with some slight irritation. I have a
question on the symbols I see on the labels of shampoo products and I am
interested in wanting to know makes a product different than the other.
Symbols or logos such as Certified Organic Ingredients, rabbit ears
that states Cruelty free, and the logo USDA Organic.

The Right Brain responds:

The logos for USDA Organic and Certified Organic are both controlled
by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic
Program (NOP). (Note: these standards were created for food products but
cosmetics are entitled to use them also.)

100% Organic or just Organic

100% products must contain ONLY organically produced ingredient AND
processing aids. (not including water and salt. ) “Organic” products
have to contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. Products
that meet this criteria may use the USDA organic logo on their packaging
and in advertising.

Less than 70% organic

Products that contain less than 70% organically derived ingredients
cannot use USDA organic logo. They may however, state that they contain
“Certified Organic Ingredients” on the product’s information panel. (On
back of the pack.)

Cruelty free

The Cruelty Free rabbit ears logo is from PETA (People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals) and is officially known as the “Caring
Consumer bunny logo”. Products that meet PETA’s requirements (meaning
that they were produced without testing on animals) can display this
logo.

What do these logos really mean?

Unfortunately, none of these logos will help you select products that
are free of ingredients which will make yourself itch. If you know
you’re sensitive to sulfates or parabens you’ll just have to keep an eye
on the ingredient list to make sure you’re not buying products that
contain those chemicals.

References:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446&acct=nopgeninfo
http://www.peta.org/living/beauty-and-personal-care/caring-consumer.aspx

Image credit: PETA