What are the Standards for Certified Organic Cosmetics?

The organic certification process can be long and expensive. Requirements vary depending on the certifying body and country, but Australia has some of the highest standards in the beauty industry.

Certified organic products have been approved by an external organisation. The 'certified organic' logo on packaging assures buyers that a product has been produced in an organic way, with organic ingredients.

The organic certification process can be long and expensive. Requirements vary depending on the certifying body and country, but Australia has some of the highest standards in the beauty industry.

 

What are the standards for certified organic cosmetics?

 

What does 'certified organic' mean, and who overlooks the applications in Australia?


There are many loopholes when claiming a product to be organic. However, regulation over the term 'certified organic' is tight, making this specific designation more credible.

Organic products don't interact with synthetic chemicals at any step of the production process. Such chemicals include pesticides, fertilisers, additives, radiation, and antibiotics, and they contain only organic ingredients. Certifying bodies investigate the production chain before approving a product to be called 'certified organic'.

In Australia, there are six certifying bodies, but the main one for cosmetics is the Australian Certified Organic (ACO). The ACO has followed the European standard of COSMOS since 2013.

 

What are the standards for certified organic cosmetics?

 

What are the requirements of COSMOS?


COSMOS was set up in 2010 by certifying bodies in Germany, France, Italy, and the UK and aims to harmonise organic standards in cosmetics on a global scale. The requirements are set by an elected body and can be read in detail on its website. Here are the highlights of the certification process:

Organic Ingredients

  • The product must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic ingredients, excluding water, salts, and minerals.
  • At least 20% of the total ingredients (including water, salts, and minerals) must be organic except for mineral or wash-off products, which need to have only 10%.
  • Animal products such as beeswax and honey can be used, but not parts of animals or products that cause harm to the animal.
  • The product must contain no nanomaterials or GMOs.

Organic Processes

  • Ingredients cannot be genetically modified.
  • Product must be produced in a green way, with low-waste production and energy use.
  • Products or ingredients must not be tested on animals.

Packaging

  • The company must minimise the amount of material used and maximise the amount of material that can be reused or recycled.
  • PVC, plastics, and materials that contain GMOs cannot be used in the packaging.
  • Labelling must be clear, not misleading.

Manufacturing Requirements

  • Products used when cleaning must comply with the requirements.
  • The production centre is kept clean by properly trained staff.
  • No residue of cleaning products is to be left on the cosmetics.

This is only skimming the very edge of the requirements set out by COSMOS to become certified organic. Every standard requires different regulations, so applying for 'certified organic' status can become a minefield.

You may be disappointed to find that some of your favourite 'organic' brands aren't certified organic. However, this doesn't mean that the company doesn't meet the requirements. The very expensive process can be too much for smaller brands. Rejected products may only fall short on one of the requirements.

At Adore Beauty, we have a whole page dedicated to certified organic brands, from Antipodes to Weleda. You can easily browse and see which products have been approved and are guaranteed organic.

 

What are the standards for certified organic cosmetics?