If you want to find out about organic or natural cosmetics that you can trust, then you’re in the right place. We have created these standards over many years of careful development to represent the best that can be achieved for you, and for the environment. They are progressive, meaning that as innovation, more organic production and green technology allows, we can progress the standard to reflect this.
What the COSMOS-standard covers
The standard divides the type of ingredients used in cosmetic products into five categories and specifies the requirements for each. Here they are with some of the key standards:
- Physically processed agro-ingredients – at least 95% must be organic and there is also a list that must be organic. Only simple physical processes allowed (similar to foods);
- Chemically processed agro-ingredients – made from agricultural raw materials and clean manufacturing processes that comply with the principles of “Green Chemistry”, There is a list of these ingredients that must be made from organic raw materials;
- Water – a vital and basic raw material, its quality is essential;
- Mineral ingredients – must be clean and comply with various environmental rules in their use and in further processing;
- Other ingredients – this is a very restricted category. Some ingredients are necessary for preserving the product (must be simple and must do so with minimal impact), a very few are allowed only temporarily to facilitate the transition from the current situation to the objectives and direction of this standard.
Companies must also ensure their packaging is minimised and is environmentally friendly and they must have an environmental and waste management plan for their factories.
Finally, all the products produced to these standards have to be certified by an independently authorised certification body. This makes sure that the certification body is competent and professional. They will check everything necessary about the product to verify it complies with the standard and is labelled accurately and clearly, so you can have confidence in what you are buying.
What you should look out for on labels
You will find two types of COSMOS labels:
- ‘COSMOS ORGANIC’ on products containing minimum 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.
‘COSMOS ORGANIC’ or ‘COSMOS NATURAL’ will always appear right below the logo/mark of the responsible certifier or association, so you will be able to recognise your already known and trusted local or national organisation that participates in the COSMOS-standard.
In addition, you will find on the label the percentage of organic ingredients in the product. This is the per cent organic of the whole product, but as some products contain a lot of water and mineral ingredients that can never be organic, you may also see the per cent of organic less these two ingredient categories.
Finally, there are requirements for how the certified company describes itself and its products to make sure any associated literature and claims are accurate and not misleading.
How you can get involved
There are several ways you can get involved.
- First, the COSMOS-standard AISBL is a membership organisation, and we also welcome consumer members who can join as associate members. Alternatively, you may be able to join your local association, which is also a (full) member, and support their activities as well.
- Second, we have created this standard to safeguard you and your interests as well as the environment. We like to hear your views – what is important to you, what you think the Standard should cover that it doesn’t at the moment, or how it should develop further.
- Lastly, we rely on you to report problems. Despite the rigorous certification process, there is nothing like the eyes and ears of consumers ‘on the ground’. You are buying and using products and you are best placed to see where the Standard is being abused or where consumers are being misled. Please let us know if you find anything wrong or suspicious.
How to report a complaint if you have one
If you do find a problem or are suspicious about a product in any way, please report it through the firstname.lastname@example.org email or use the contact us link. In order for us to make a full investigation and take any necessary action, it is vital you provide the following details:
- Your name and contact details (these will be kept confidential but we may need to contact you for more information)
- The full name of the product you are complaining about
- The company that produces it and their certification
- Where and when you saw or purchased the product
- The details of your complaint, the problem you have found – please be as specific as you can.