COSMOS is a harmonised standard devised by the five major European organic and natural standard setting organisations - BDIH (Germany), COSMEBIO (France), Ecocert Greenlife (France), ICEA (Italy) and the Soil Association. The standard applies to cosmetic products that are marketed as “natural” or “organic” helping consumers make more informed choices with their buying power. Their guiding principles are as follows:

  • use natural resources responsibly, and respect the environment;

  • use processing and manufacturing that are clean and respectful of human health and the environment;

  • integrate and develop the concept of “Green Chemistry”.

The standard addresses the following aspects:

The origin and processing of raw ingredients and how they may or may not be treated;

  • Water – must comply with hygienic standards;

  • Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin – must be of natural origin and may be modified with simple chemical reactions;

  • Physically processed agro-ingredients – may be plant, animal or microbial origin but no GMOs, no critically endangered species, only products of (not a part of) animals;

  • Chemically processed agro-ingredients – same as above, and the chemical treatments must respect the principles of Green Chemistry with the resulting ingredients complying with strict limitations of toxicity and biodegradability;

  • Other ingredients – a very limited list of preservatives and some other ingredients and petrochemical moieties are temporarily allowed and are reviewed on a regular basis, taking into account availability of acceptable alternatives.

Composition of total product – including the calculation the organic content of complex ingredients (eg water based and other composite ingredients) and how much organic content is required in products under organic certification.

Storage, manufacturing and packaging – to ensure adequate cleanliness, hygiene and traceability throughout all processes, and to ensure that packaging respects the environment.

Environmental management – details the requirements for care of the environment throughout the manufacturing process, and managing, minimising and recycling waste.

Labelling and communication – defines comprehensive requirements for clear product labelling and company advertising, to ensure all necessary information for consumers and no misleading claims.

Inspection, certification and control – the requirements for all products, their ingredients and their manufacturing to be certified by a competent body, authorised by independent accreditation. The process is repeated annually to ensure on-going compliance.

certified organic

For a product to be labelled organic e.g 'organic facial oil' 95% of ALL ingredients must be organic

For leave-on products, 95% of all physically processed agro-ingredients must be organic and at least 20% of the total ingredients must be organic.

For rinse-off products, 95% of all physically processed agro-ingredients must be organic and at least 10% of the total ingredients must be organic.

The logo guarantees that the organic ingredients are sustainably sourced and biodegradable, protecting wildlife and biodiversity. All colours and fragrances have come from plants and flowers. Companies must be transparent with all manufacturing processes and packaging must be minimal with maximum recycled content.

No animal testing is allowed, no GM ingredients or controversial chemicals such as parabens and phthalates, no synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances.

certified natural

The COSMOS Natural products do not have to contain any organic ingredients, it is most suitable for products containing a lot of ingredients which cannot be organic, such as water, salt, clay or mineral pigments – for example toners, bath salts, face masks and dry colour cosmetics. The logo guarantees no animal testing, no GM ingredients, no controversial chemicals, no parabens and phthalates, no synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances

Soil Association

The Soil Association is the UK’s largest organic certification body. Since January 2017 any beauty product certified by the Soil Association has to meet the COSMOS standards.

This logo indicates that your beauty product is certified “organic”.

This logo indicates that your beauty product is certified “natural.”