Certifying organic cosmetics
The concept of ‘organic’ can be hazy. There’s nothing to stop companies adding the word to their brand name or packaging. So it’s up to us, as intelligent consumers, to check the label to see what is or isn’t authentically organic.
You should always look for a Certification logo and the specific percentage of organic ingredients in any product marked as ‘organic’.
What you get from organic certification
Certification validates the manufacturer’s end-to-end processes for you – although they still need to show the percentage of organic ingredients contained in each product.
Nevertheless, achieving certification is an arduous process that can take up to three years. Maintaining certification involves just as much effort.
When you invest in any certified organic beauty product, you are buying into the highest levels of purity, quality, care and dedication.
The organic certification process
In Australia, certified organic cosmetics are labeled under the 'National Food Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce', which, as the name implies, is not specific to cosmetics.
Certification bodies in Europe have gone a lot further, creating a comprehensive set of standards specifically for organic cosmetics. Many of these bodies, including ECOCERT, ICEA, AIAB and, most recently, Qualita Reale have established a more universal standard for organic cosmetics through COSMOS.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture (IFOAM) is also working to harmonise organic beauty standards around the world.
As such, Europe’s organic certification process is the global benchmark for cosmetics, and involves a full assessment of each individual product based on the established standards and current scientific knowledge of the ingredients.
Typically, the assessed standards will specify:
• A minimum percentage of organic content
• A maximum percentage of synthetic (preservatives, fragrances, etc.) allowed
• Raw materials from plant, mineral and marine origin
• How water is calculated in the organic percentage
• Acceptable processes for individual ingredients and the the completed product
• Regular inspection of the production plant, sub-contractors, manufacturing sites
and factories on a regular basis
• No animal testing
• Tracking the origin, nature and quantity of the ingredients and their use
• Packaging that respects the environment
• Waste and energy management, transport management and procedures for cleaning