Certifications in organic cosmetic helps us to recognize when a product is supported by the composition of its ingredients, purity, and the origin of the raw materials which has been made. There is much confusion concerning the authenticity of cosmetic products called “organic”. Many brands mask their products with suggestive labels as “Natural”, “Paraben free”, “green”, when in most cases are treated products which have little of these adjectives. Certification authorities are responsible for passing the products by strict quality control and analysis, and so, give the consumer confidence that is consuming an organic product without fear.
In Europe we can find the following certifications; BDIH (Germany), ECOCERT (France), SOIL ASSOCIATION (UK), AIAB (Italy), and finally as reinforcement COSMEBIO (France). Each of them has different processes, but they all have very similar principles. In Spain the majority of organic cosmetic products manufactured are certified by the French ECOCERT.
BDIH (Germany), is hand in hand with ECOCERT (France) the most important certification entities in Europe.The criteria followed when certifying includes that the ingredients come from natural raw materials, animal or vegetable components of organic farming, vegetable emulsifiers obtained through hydrolysis, hydrogenation, esterification, etc … The preservatives that can have the products should be as similar as possible to those found in our environment. Animal testing is prohibited, also genetically modified raw materials, chemical emulsifiers and petroleum products (such as paraffin).BDIH allows anyone who wants to submit their evidence to assess the effectiveness of a product and cell cropping. BDIH also takes very seriously when certifying the corporate responsibility for workers and raw material suppliers, including those in developing countries.
ECOCERT (France), one of the most recognized certification labels in Europe, is promoted by a non-governmental organization, has offices in 50 countries, including Spain (Ambicert). A natural cosmetic must have a minimum of 95% natural ingredients, the remaining 5% can be produced by synthesis , but those must appear in the list of “allowed substances”. A minimum of 5% must come from organic farming, assuming these 50% of the herbal ingredients. For ecological cosmetics, the criteria used is the same as the with previous one, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from natural origin and the remaining 5% can be obtained through synthesis always appearing in the permitted substances list. However in this case, the source of raw materials from organic farming should not exceed 10% of the herbal substance. The use of renewable energy sources is a must in the manufacture and handling of cosmetics. The packaging has to be biodegradable and the company must do a selective separation of waste, the ingredients that come from organic farming should be indicated by an asterisk in the INCI list, specifying their origin. The amounts of naturally occurring substances and organic origin must be clearly indicated. Finally, note that ECOCERT do not allow its logo to appear next to others in order to avoid confusion. Even if one of the companies certified with the seal no longer meets the criteria for certification, is fined and asked to remove the ECOCERT label.
SOIL ASSOCIATION (Reino Unido). It was founded in 1964 by a group of farmers concerned about the protection of nature. Since 2002, SOIL ASSOCIATION also certifies cosmetics, but only organic or ecological ones. This Stamp has two levels of certification; “Organic”, in which at least 95% of the ingredients come from organic origin, and “with organic ingredients” with a minimum of 70% or more of the ingredients from organic origin. Involves final product, packaging and preservation. In both cases the ingredients can not be genetically engineered or transgenic. They can be synthetic if it is shown that there is no ecological substitute, and logically, this substance should be on the restrictive list of allowed substances.
AIAB (Italia) L´Associazione Italiana per l´Agricoltora Biologica. Producers, technicians and consumers aware of organic farming and sustainable agriculture are grouped in this association. Born in 1982, over the years has become stronger, coming in 98 to be the first national authority for organic production control. In 2002 the associative control and body structure are separated, causing this, an outside entity to manage control and product certification. Only after this process you can expect to get the logo AIAB. The ingredients must be natural, and whenever possible organically grown. As a very positive thing for AIAB, any substance on which there is doubt, will be vetoed, as well as those originated from dead animals or subjected to experimentation, and of course, all the animal origin substances are banned. As in the case of BDIH is also permissible human experimentation, whenever this is on a voluntary basis.
NATRUE, the unity. Born in 2008, is an international non-profit association. Its official headquarters are located in Brussels, it acts as an advocate for truly organic cosmetics and denouncing those who boast to be, and are not. It was driven primarily by BDIH. Obviously they promote organic and sustainable cosmetics. Definitely one of the best bearers when announcing this type of cosmetic. Like all European certification labels, it shares the same values when it comes to giving his seal, adding their rejection of synthetic perfumes and aromas. It aims to reach an agreement on a pattern of homogenization within certification worldwide. NATRUE certifies at three levels; Natural Cosmetics, in which all ingredients are plants, animal origin (except those derived from dead animals), and natural or semi-natural minerals. Natural Cosmetics, where the ingredients must be natural substances in more than 15%, and more than 70% must be organically grown. Organic Cosmetics, the strictest, in which more than 20% of its composition must be natural, and is within 95% must come from organic farming. Very few can access this third category. Preservatives, emulsifiers or inorganic pigments can be used only if the equivalent is very expensive to obtain. Is very likely that in a few years we may see a certifying label worldwide with common requirements for all. Meanwhile we can rely on several seals that exist internationally, and learn more about the criteria when choosing our cosmetic products.
Meanwhile we can thank this ecological and healthy trend is booming, since we have many decades of synthetic cosmetic behind us