The COSMOS standard is a new harmonized certification to define common requirements and definitions for organic and/or natural cosmetics by the effort of COSMOS-standard AISBL, an international non-profit association registered in Belgium in 2010. This organization was founded by five major European certifiers, including BDIH (Germany), COSMEBIO & ECOCERT (France), ICEA (Italy) and Soil Association (UK). Nowadays the certification is widely recognized in the world, used by over 1600 companies manufacturing and selling over 25,000 products in more than 45 countries worldwide.
The Benefits for Consmers
The COSMOS-standard examines products from raw materials, production, to finished products to ensure safety for your health and our ecosystem. Its guiding principles are to:
- promote the use of products from organic agriculture, and respect biodiversity;
- 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”.
Specifically, the standard divides ingredients used in cosmetic products into five categories and specifies the requirements for each:
- 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.
Types of COSMOS Labels
There are two types of COSMOS labels depending on the certification level.
- “COSMOS ORGANIC” on products containing the required percentages of organic ingredients;
- “COSMOS NATURAL” on those that comply with the Standard in all other respects but do not have the minimum organic percentages.
Consumers can find the percentage of organic ingredients in the product. As some products contain a lot of water and mineral ingredients, it can never be organic by the definition.