Fresh and radiant without chemicals
Did you know the word “cosmetics” comes from the ancient Greek word kosmetikós, meaning “to decorate oneself”? That works perfectly with organic cosmetics! Looking for a bit of nature glam? Here’s a quick explanation of the key organic cosmetic quality seals, the brands I use for my cosmetic treatments, and what I sell at my studio in Frankfurt.
The various quality seals and certifications are important because “natural cosmetics” is not a protected term and natural does not mean organic. There’s simply no standardized, legally defined definition. And because natural and organic cosmetic products are very popular, more and more companies are jumping on board. Many consumers are looking for organic ingredients, so manufacturers get creative about putting the term “organic” into their names. This kind of greenwashing often makes products seem more “natural” than they actually are. In response, reputable manufacturers of organic cosmetics, organic organizations, and certification bodies have developed standards and quality seals to provide customers with some guidance. External experts regularly check whether the specifications are met. All this means those quality seals help you and me to identify and select “true” organic cosmetics. Certified organic cosmetic products are categorically produced without certain synthetic raw materials, silicones, parabens, paraffins and other petroleum compounds, synthetic fragrances, and certain preservatives.
COSMOS is a standard for organic cosmetics that five national certification bodies from Germany, France, and Italy agreed on in 2010. It sets down uniform international criteria for certifying products as genuine organic or natural cosmetics. As a matter of principle, this seal requires the most stringent sustainability practices possible. This applies for the entire process, from procurement to production and marketing and through to checks of cosmetic products. Use of products from the petroleum industry or using genetic engineering or nanotechnology is prohibited, along with animal testing.
COSMOS supports the use of organically grown ingredients. Production activities respect and protect people, health, and the environment. There are now more than 40,000 certified COSMOS products and ingredients worldwide. More than 22,000 products in 70 countries have a COSMOS ORGANIC or COSMOS CERTIFIED quality seal. To find out more about COSMOS, please visit www.cosmos-standard.org.
The BDIH association of producers introduced its “Kontrollierte Naturkosmetik” test certificate in 2001. This symbol guarantees that certified products are made exclusively with raw materials that meet the stringent BDIH standard. Here as well, the criteria for natural and organic cosmetics cover everything: the manufacturing process, the production of raw materials, and ethical aspects. Only certified organic raw materials such as plant-based oils, fats, and waxes, herbal extracts, floral essences, and essential oils and flavours from certified organic growers or wild gathering can be used. Silicones, synthetic dyes, and fragrances, paraffins and other petroleum products are prohibited. This means this symbol guarantees eco-friendly production methods that conserve resources, along with reduced packaging and use of reusable packaging materials. More than 10,000 products currently carry the BDIH seal. For more about BDIH and the international BDIH quality seal, please see www.bdih.de and www.ionc.info.
This seal meets ultra-stringent requirements in the areas of the environment and credibility. Founded in France in 1991 as an independent international certification body for ecological products, Ecocert started off as a tester of foodstuff. In 2002, the company was among the first to develop a standard for natural and ecological/organic cosmetics. Today, Ecocert is represented in more than 80 countries. Ecocert IMO GmbH is one of the largest officially approved ecological testing bodies in Germany.
Ecocert cosmetics are only permitted to be made from renewable resources. The idea is that they should neither burden nor change the The Ecocert seal distinguishes between natural and organic natural cosmetics. Both prohibit parabens, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), nanoparticles, silicon, PEGs, phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrances and dyes, and animal ingredients from dead or living animals. Packaging must be recyclable or biodegradable.
As a rule, the ingredients must be at least 95% natural for both types of Ecocert seal. For “organic cosmetics,” plant-based substances must make up at least 50%, and 5% of all ingredients must be from certified organic growers. For “organic cosmetics,” plant-based substances must make up at least 95%, and 10% of all ingredients must be from certified organic growers. Interestingly, Ecocert does not certify products that are heavily based on water (such as shampoos or soaps) as “organic cosmetics,” since water, like salt and other minerals, cannot be cultivated. Further info about Ecocert is available at www.ecocert.com.
Demeter’s holistic approach to biodynamic farming also applies to its organic cosmetic products. All of them contain at least 90% Demeter raw materials. Demeter does not use genetic engineering or chemical fertilizers in principle. Demeter organic cosmetics, like its other products, contain no petroleum, benzene or hexane, butylene or propylene glycol, and no ingredients of animal origin. Nanoparticles, radiation, and gas treatment are all prohibited. Only pure essential oils can be used as fragrances. Demeter-certified organic cosmetics also refrains from using numerous functional substances present in other natural cosmetics, such as preservatives.
Demeter is Germany’s oldest organic association. Its members have been practicing biodynamic farming since 1924. There are currently about 5,300 producers in 38 countries around the world producing according to the Demeter guidelines under the “Demeter International” seal.
The Vegan Flower (“Vegan Trademark”) has been awarded worldwide by the Vegan Society, which is based in England, since 1990. It guarantees that products are 100% vegan.
This quality seal appears on vegan cosmetic articles, foods, and clothing alike. It is the only one to stand for vegan cosmetics free of animal testing. Worldwide, more than 30,000 products have received this seal to date. However, the Vegan Flower itself does not say whether these products are natural cosmetics or meet organic standards.
The Vegan Flower prohibits animals testing and the use of animal products. Specific cleaning rules must be observed when vegan and non-vegan products are produced at the same company. Genetically modified components must be labelled on the package.