Natural and organic skincare has been gaining momentum in recent years. Body lotions, serums, moisturising creams, makeup products, shampoos... All these products strive to stand out with increasingly natural formulas. What are the criteria to establish that a cosmetic is natural? What is the composition of a certified organic product? What are the differences between the two? Here are some insights.
Natural cosmetics and 'organic' cosmetics: what are the differences?
- Natural Cosmetics: What are we talking about?
- Organic skincare: what exactly is it?
- How to identify natural and organic skincare products?
Natural Cosmetics: What are we talking about?
According to the ISO 16128 standard, a cosmetic is considered natural when it contains at least 95% of ingredients of natural origin. This standard, resulting from the deliberation of several cosmetic stakeholders, allows for the harmonised description of natural or organic ingredients. A maximum of 5% of chemical products is thus tolerated in their composition. Sometimes, the proportion of natural elements can reach 99%. All cosmetic formulations can be classified as natural: soaps, creams, lotions, serums, shampoos, pure oils...
It is important to note that natural ingredients can have a plant-based origin (plants, barks, algae, etc.), mineral or even animal (products derived from farming). These elements can be presented in their raw form, or be transformed via a non-chemical or chemical process. In the case of transformation involving a chemical process, it is necessary that the following conditions are met:
The ingredient must be produced by a chemical reaction between several natural components;
The process must fulfil the conditions related to environmental protection and avoid any production of polluting residues;
The chemical transformation should enable the acquisition of a new ingredient or provide a specific texture to the relevant skincare product.
Typology stands out for its formulations with high percentages of naturalness, often composed of more than 95% natural ingredients.
Organic skincare: what exactly is it?
A bio cosmetic is a natural cosmetic subjected to stricter criteria. Thus, all bio skincare products are natural, but not all natural skincare products are bio. The conditions for a cosmetic to be considered bio vary slightly depending on the labels. However, the following criteria are generally found:
The formula must be composed of at least 95% naturally derived ingredients;
At least 95% of the plant-based ingredients it contains must be derived from organic farming;
The product must contain at least 20% organic ingredients (10% for rinse-off products).
Note : Water or minerals are not considered organic as they are not derived from agriculture. However, water being one of the major constituents of many cosmetic formulas (often nearly 80%), this explains the proportion of 20% organic ingredients in the total product.
Furthermore, there exists a list of prohibited substances for organic cosmetics. Indeed, ingredients of petrochemical origin, nanomaterials, GMOs and ingredients controversial for environmental reasons such as palm oil are banned from these formulas. Certain polluting transformation techniques such as ionisation or ethoxylation are also forbidden.
The Typology products belonging to the PLANTS range are certified organic and meet the naturalness criteria of the COSMOS label.
How to identify natural and organic skincare products?
Recognising a natural product or an organic product is not always straightforward. To navigate this, it is beneficial to refer to certain recognised labels. Among the most reputable certifications awarded to natural skincare products, we find the Nat and Cosmos Natural labels from Cosmebio. Organic skincare products, on the other hand, must carry a label from a private certification body. This could be the Ecocert label, Nature and Progress, or even BIDH.
Advice : Cosmetics carrying a label can be identified by their clearly visible tag present on their packaging and container.
Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Official Journal of the European Union (2009).
International Organization for Standardization - ISO 16128-2: 2017 standard for cosmetics.
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