Natural and Organic Cosmetic Products

Natural and organic cosmetics have become a major trend and demanded products in all around the world in recent years. Growing awareness that we are responsible for the world in which we live, and an increasing concern for our own health are the main subjects that support for demanding these sort of products. 

We all know what we eat effects our health. But many of us ignore that what we put onto our skin also affects our long term well-being. Studies shows that our skin absorbs up to 60% of what is applied to its surface. 

According to the Environmental Working Group, most of the over ten thousand ingredients used in personal care products on the market today have not been evaluated for safety. Even more disturbing, U.S. researchers have found that one in eight ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals . These ingredients are not just staying on our skin but entering into our blood stream.

By going natural, these toxic synthetic preservatives, dyes, fragrances, surfactants and more are avoided in favor of safer, natural alternatives. But using natural ingredients does not mean that the finished product will not be either toxic or allergen.

The organic cosmetic products, made of some percentage of organic  ingredients produced by organic farming and the level of these ingredients will be vary by standards and also local authorities. Like natural products, organic products does not mean every time safe.

However, Natural and Organic cosmetic products in the market may not be truly natural or organic products. The contents of natural and organic products should be examined by the consumers. Other than that, this group of products should be certified with certain standards and carry the related logos of these standards, so that this will be a distinctive feature of these products. 

The guidelines drafted by the Committee of Experts on Cosmetic Products have become the basis for many certification systems for natural cosmetics. Practically every European country has developed at least one certification system.

The following are the most commonly used:

  • ECOCERT and COSMEBIO developed in France
  • BDIH developed in Germany
  • Soil Association developed in the UK
  • ICEA developed in Italy
  • BIOFORUM developed in Belgium



Ecocert was established in France in 1991 as an inspection and certification body specializing in organic agricultural products. They have since expanded to cover certification of other eco and fair trade products, including organic and natural cosmetics.

Ecocert certification is recognized world-wide, currently certifying in over 80 countries. Their standards require the use of substantial amounts of natural and organic ingredients, produced with environmentally-friendly processes, and prohibits the use of many synthetic ingredients.

The two Ecocert certifications of cosmetics are ECOCERT Natural and ECOCERT Natural and Organic.

  • Natural = A minimum of 50% of all plant-based ingredients and a minimum of 5% of all ingredients by weight must be organically produced.
  • Natural and Organic = A minimum of 95% of the total product ingredients must be naturally derived and a minimum of 10% of all ingredients by weight (includes water) must be organically produced.

100% of ingredients used must comply with Ecocert standards, 95% of the total ingredients must be naturally derived and a product can contain no more than 5% synthetic ingredients. No GMO, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced by them: milk, honey, etc.) are to be used. All packaging must be biodegradable or recyclable.

COSMOS –standard AISBL

This Standard has been developed at the European and international level by BDIH (Germany),COSMEBIO & ECOCERT (France), ICEA (Italy) and SOIL ASSOCIATION (UK) who are the founders of the COSMOS-standard AISBL (an international non-profit association registered in Belgium) in order to define common requirements and definitions for organic and/or natural cosmetics.

  • Promote the use of ingredients from organic farming.
  • Use production and manufacturing processes that are environmentally sound and safe for human health.
  • Include and expand the concept of "green chemicals".

This Standard applies to cosmetic products marketed as organic or natural and cosmetic ingredients with organic content. To be certified these products must comply with the defined criteria on:

_ Origin and processing of ingredients

_ Composition of total product

_ Storage, manufacturing and packaging

_ Environmental management

_ Labelling and communication

_ Inspection, certification and control.

 In this Standard, the ingredients of a cosmetic product are classified in five categories:

- Water

- Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin

- Physically processed agro-ingredients

- Chemically processed agro-ingredients

- Other ingredients.

Each ingredient category is subject to some requirements. The water used in formulas need to be treated as the standard allows. The water added to the formula can not be calculated as natural and/or organic.

Listed manufacturing types can not be accepted by this standard:

  • ALKOXYLATION (including ETHOXYLATION and PROPOXYLATION) using ethylene oxide, propylene oxide or other alkylene oxides
  • BLEACHING - DEODOURISATION (on a support of animal origin)
  • DETERPENATION (other than with steam)
  • HALOGENATION (as main reaction)
  • SULPHONATION (as main reaction)


COSMOS-standard Definition

PPAI = Physically Processed Agro-Ingredient

CPAI = Chemically Processed Agro-Ingredient

SyMo = Synthetic Moieties

NNI = Non Natural Ingredient


The table shows below and indicate ECOCERT and COSMOS products requirements:



Ecocert standard:



Natural and Organic


Minimum 5 %

Minimum 10 %


Minimum 50 %

Minimum 95%


Maximum 5 %

Maximum 5 %


Cosmos standard:





No minimum organic % required

20 %

10 % for rinse-off products, non-emulsified aqueous products, and products with at least 80% minerals (make-up products for example)



95 %

At the 31st of December 2012, all PPAI must be organic if available



30 % starting from the 31st of December 2014


No minimum % required (limited by the general regulation)

Synthetic moieties are authorized until the 31st of December 2014 at 2% maximum of the finished product



Cosmos Organic or Cosmos Natural Product certification held by ETKO Ecological Farming Control Center in Turkey.

ETKO was set up by Turkish experts in organic production as a local certifier among the foreign bodies in 1996, headquarters is in Izmir. Since 1996 ETKO accomplished several accreditations and active not only national but also internationally. ETKO is active for the moment in following countries; India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Korea, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kirgizia, Georgia and Cyprus. ETKO works with experts in the countries where its activities present.

 ETKO was authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1996. ETKO received accreditation from USDA and Canada in 2003, furthermore received ISO 65 Accreditation from IOAS in 2005.

To check out existing product or newly formulate a product as Natural or Organic you can check your ingredients thru the cosmos aprroved ingredients list from

Organic certified ingredients can be checked from the link below:

The Ministry of Health in Turkey -Turkish Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency- Cosmetic Products Department also published a guide on the subject. This guide can be downloaded from the link below: