Organic personal care products are manufactured from natural ingredients of plants extracted under eco-friendly conditions. These products do not contain synthetic chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, petrochemical and aluminum salts. Ecocert, Soil Association, Cosmebio, USDA, ICEA, BDIH, OASIS, NPA, and NSF are the various standards existing in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and other regions in order to regulate and certify the organic products in these regions. In addition, international and regional organizations such as Cosmos and NATRUE standardize the organic personal care industry.
Ecocert was the very first certification body to develop standards for "natural and organic cosmetics", introduced in 2003. Country of origin – France.
To ensure an environmentally friendly cosmetic product, the Ecocert standard lays down:
1. The use of ingredients derived from renewable resources, manufactured by environmentally friendly processes. Ecocert therefore checks:
• The absence of GMO, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced by them: milk, honey, etc.).
• The biodegradable or recyclable nature of packaging.
2. Ecocert requires a minimum of 95 percent natural origin as a baseline entry.
• Natural standard - A minimum of 50% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 5% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming.
• Natural / Organic standard A minimum of 95% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 10% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming.
Soil Association Certification is the UK's largest organic certification body, responsible for certifying over 70% of all organic products sold in the country. It is a standard for 'organic' and 'made with organic' ingredients.
• Organic - must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients.
• Made with Organic Ingredients - must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
USDA regulates the term “organic” as it applies to agricultural products through its National Organic Program (NOP) regulation. Country of origin – USA.
It has labels - USDA 100% Organic, USDA Organic and USDA Made with Organic.
• 100% Organic - must contain only organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt).
• Organic - must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt).
• Made with Organic Ingredients must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients, but cannot display the USDA seal on packaging.
NATRUE is a Brussels based international non-profit association committed to promoting and protecting Natural and Organic Cosmetics worldwide.
The NATRUE Label was launched in 2008, one year after the founding of the NATRUE organization. It has 3 stars system - NATRUE Natural, NATRUE Natural with Organic Portion and NATRUE Organic labels.
• Organic Cosmetics (3 stars) - at least 95 percent of the natural ingredients stem from controlled organic production.
• Natural with organic portion (2 stars) - at least 70 percent of the natural ingredients stem from organic production.
• Natural Cosmetics (1 star) - 100 percent certified pure natural and derived natural (natural origin) plus some limited nature-identical*
BDIH is a German based organisation comprising over 440 producers and distributors of cosmetics, food supplements, health products.
BDIH requires 100 percent natural origin/nature identical* to gain the "natural" standard.
Many manufacturers also use organic ingredients where it is not mandatorily specified by the BDIH-Standard. Many products having the BDIH seal are therefore “organic products” or contain a high proportion of certified ecological plant material.
Australian Certified Organic is an independent subsidiary of Australian Organic responsible for the certification of organic foods and fibres. It was set up in 2001.
ACO certifies organic cosmetics under the Australian National Standard, National Organic Program (USDA), and COSMOS standards.
To attain Australian Certified Organic status, a minimum of 95% of all ingredients must be organic sourced from a certified organic supplier with the remaining 5% all natural and allowed as defined by the Organic Standard.
The COSMOS-standard is owned and managed by a not-for-profit, international association registered in Belgium. COSMOS is the first European Standard for organic segment created by the first five EU organic beauty certifiers - BDIH, Soil Association, CosmeBio, EcoCert and ICEA.
• COSMOS Organic - at least 95 percent physically processed ingredients must be organically produced, while a minimum of 20 percent of total ingredients by weight must be organic with exception for wash off products which is 10%.
• COSMOS Natural - may contain natural/ organic ingredients, but does not allow active marketing of organic content.