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COSMOS-standard – International certification of organic and natural cosmetics

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Fig 1. - Natural cosmetic products and skin care can be a great option for a more sustainable world

In the last few years, it became more and more relevant how we need to unite forces to turn climate change and save planet Earth. Therefore, changing the way we see cosmetic products and consume them is essential to participate in the shift.

Even though organic and natural cosmetic products have become a growing trend in the last few years, there is no official regulatory document about the production and labelling of this market sector. This increases the difficulty level for the consumer who wants to shop responsibly.

Firstly, we need to understand the difference between a natural/organic cosmetic product and a sustainable product. The first terms are associated with products that have natural plant-based ingredients, that avoid the use of synthetic chemical products in their production. On the other hand, sustainable products are the ones that consider all the life cycle of the cosmetic product. They are environmental, ethical, social, and economical responsible.

COSMOS AISBL is one of the initiatives to start this change.

COSMOS-standardization is an initiative managed by a non-profit association,

Fig 2. - COSMOS AISBL logo

founded in 2010. The founding members of the COSMOS AISBL are BDIH (Germany), Cosmebio and ECOCERT (France), ICEA (Italy), and Soil Association (UK).

The COSMOS-standard has four main values:

·The product should come from organic agriculture, while respecting biodiversity;

·The environment and its resources should be respected;

·The production of the cosmetic products should respect human health, the environment, and be as clean as possible;

· “Green chemistry” should be applied.

These values must be respected during the life cycle of the product, and there is a Certifying Board that checks if it is actually being followed.

Besides the COSMOS-standard regulation, producers must also follow other regulations to make sure their product is legal in the European market. These include the EU Cosmetics Regulation (EC No.1223/2009), the EU REACH Regulation (EC No. 1907/2006), and Regulation of the Commission on claims on cosmetic products (EU No. 655/2013). National laws regarding cosmetic products should also be observed.

The most important chapters of the COSMOS-standard document Version 3.1 (June 2020) for manufacturers, and for the curious consumers, are chapters

·6. Origin and processing of ingredients,

·7. Composition,

·8. Storage, manufacturing, and packaging,

·9. Environmental management,

·10. Labelling and communication, and

·11. Certification and approval.

On the COSMOS website there are documents like the COSMOS-standard, the

Fig. 3 - Having regulation to control the market is a good way to protect consumers

Technical guide, the Labelling guide, and the COSMOS control manual. There are also official databases, including the COSMOS organic and COSMOS natural certified cosmetic products, COSMOS certified ingredients, and COSMOS approved raw materials.

On the official website, manufactures and consumers can find more information about the process of certification, as well as other information essential to COSMOS approved products.

In conclusion, it is essential that we continue to find ways to standardize cosmetic products labelling, so consumers can make the “greenest” choice to help the planet.

Key words: COSMOS-standard, organic, natural, cosmetics, regulation


COSMOS - Cosmetic Organic and Natural Standard. COSMOS-Standard. June (2020) 46.

The logo belongs to the COSMOS-standard non-profit organization.

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