How to identify natural cosmetics

There are countless manufacturers of cosmetic products. As well as big, well-known brands, there are also an increasing number of private labels and other new, small labels, which often promise to make everything better. It seems impossible for consumers to keep track. This is especially the case if you also attach importance to products that are supposed to be very natural. Marketing slogans and advertising promises often simulate naturalness when the products are not actually natural at all.

So how can consumers stay informed? The law does not really provide a generally accepted definition for natural cosmetics.

Although there were already attempts by the German Ministry of Health to establish a uniform definition in the early 1990s, nothing ever came of it. In Austria, on the other hand, the term is defined in the Food Code. Other European countries also have varied guidelines. In the USA, the consumer received initial assistance as early as the 1970s with the CIR label (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) and further support in 1993 with the EWG label (Environmental Working Group). However, these labels do not give any indication of how natural the products are. They only guarantee that the ingredients used are harmless according to the current state of scientific knowledge, i.e. they do not pose any danger to the consumer. The US labels NPA Natural Standard of the Natural Products Association and the NSF/ANSI 305 seal of the Public Health and Safety Organization are more specific. These labels are only given to products that consist of at least 70%, or almost exclusively, of natural or ecological raw materials, and have been helping consumers to make the right choice when shopping since 2008 and 2014 respectively.

In 2000, the Council of Europe also presented a definition, but this was also not implemented. It was not until 2016 that an international standard, ISO 16128, was introduced. This standard defines the naturalness of the ingredients of cosmetic products. However, ISO 16128 is not a definition or labelling that is recognisable to the consumer, as there is no label or anything similar with which products are identified. It is only used in industrial production.

Associations and NGOs offer the consumer practical help in this respect.
In Europe, the most significant associations are COSMOS and Natrue, which also enjoy a high reputation internationally. While COSMOS was created by the national associations BDIH (Germany), Cosmebio (France), Ecocert (France), ICEA (Italy) and Soil Association (UK), the Natrue seal is an initiative of natural cosmetics manufacturers. In addition to the founding members Dr. Hauschka, Lavera, Weleda, Primavera and the Dalli Group, over 50 manufacturers worldwide are members of Natrue – The International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association.

The COSMOS and Natrue seals can be requested for both finished products and raw materials. They ensure that the ingredients are of natural and sustainable origin and prohibit both animal testing and genetically modified raw materials.

These two seals provide very good orientation for consumers. There are also other symbols to look out for, as “natural” does not automatically mean “organic and sustainable”, and products free from animal testing are not automatically “vegan”. Cases such as these require consumers to take a closer look.

Our natural Cosphaderm® products meet the requirements for the “COSMOS-approved” status and are compliant with Natrue requirements. Feel free to contact us at any time so that we can discuss your individual requirements.

We are certain that we can also meet your requirements, for example vegan products, religiously compatible products and, of course, products free from animal testing.