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Natural cosmetics seal overview - recognise certified natural cosmetics immediately

Publish DateNov 24, 2021
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Organic Cosmetics and Natural Cosmetics Seal Overview

Our professional natural cosmetics seal overview explains the most important criteria of the best known and most trustworthy seals.

By Natural cosmetics seal certified natural cosmetic products can be reliably identified. Behind every seal of quality for natural cosmetics is regular certification according to a recognised natural cosmetics standard, carried out by an accredited certifier.

All company-independent natural cosmetics seals pursue similar goals.

  • The Ingredients of certified natural cosmetics should as organic as possible be.

  • Controlled organic cultivation is particularly promoted.

  • The entire Manufacturing process must be environmentally friendly and sustainable.

  • Animal testing is excluded. Only a few animal ingredients are allowed, which are precisely defined. Animals must not be harmed in the manufacture of a product.

  • The Compliance with CITES Convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ) is one of the basic rules, which is also observed by almost all standard suppliers.

  • Following the latest trends, the Compliance with the principles of Green Chemistry for some natural and organic cosmetic labels required.

  • Palm oil may only be used if it has a RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) Certification has.

  • The use of GMO or GMOs - genetically modified organisms - is not permitted under any seal.

  • Paraffins, silicones and microplastics are not allowed.

  • The Packaging must meet sustainable criteria and should be as minimalist as possible.

The following natural cosmetics seal overview shows the currently relevant seals for certified natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics on the European and international market and explains their main criteria.

The 3 most important points that you should consider if you want to have products certified as natural cosmetics or organic cosmetics.


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© COSMOS - Ecocert, BDIH, SOIL, ICEA, Cosmoebio, ACO, NATRUE, GfaW, Austria-Bio, USDA

COSMOS standard: the seal for certified natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics

The COSMOS standard for natural and organic cosmetics is the first seal in our natural cosmetics seal overview. The five most major European certification companies in the organic and natural sector collaborated to produce natural and organic cosmetics standards. 

For many years, Ecocert and Cosmebio from France, the BDIH from Germany, the ICEA from Italy, and the SOIL Association from the United Kingdom collaborated to produce the standard that defines the COSMOS seal's criteria. 

These certification agencies have been certifying new products exclusively according to the COSMOS standard since the beginning of 2017. The COSMOS Natural and Organic Cosmetics Seal is therefore composed of two components: the logo of the certifying company carrying out the control (Ecocert, BDIH, ICEA, Soil or Cosmebio) and the level of the COSMOS standard: "COSMOS-natural" for natural cosmetics or "COSMOS-organic" for organic cosmetics.

In addition to the five founding members, other certification companies have since been approved for COSMOS certification, for example, ACO (Australian Certified Organic). 


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© COSMOS - Ecocert, BDIH, SOIL, ICEA, Cosmoebio, ACO


COSMOS-Organic: the seal for certified organic cosmetics

In our natural cosmetics seal overview, NATRUE is also one of the most prominent international seals. The standard for certified natural cosmetics & organic cosmetics was founded by European natural cosmetics enterprises in the DACH region. 

Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Logocos, Primavera, and Laverana are among NATRUE's original members. Various approved certification agencies carry out certification according to the Natrue standard. The NATRUE standard will distinguish between two levels starting in 2021: "natural cosmetics" and "organic cosmetics." The product labels do not show these two tiers.


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© COSMOS - Ecocert, BDIH, SOIL, ICEA, Cosmoebio, ACO


COSMOS-Natural: the seal for certified natural cosmetics

Cosmetic products with the COSMOS Natural Cosmetics Seal meet the following criteria:

  • There is no minimum quantity of organic ingredients prescribed. However, all ingredients used must comply with the specifications of the COSMOS standard and have been tested.

  • Special feature: No misleading reference to "organic" shall appear on the front of the product.


Further specifications of the COSMOS standard for certified natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics:
  • GMO - genetically modified organisms - may not be used.

  • A list specifies the ingredients that must be used in organic quality, such as sunflower oil, shea butter, argan oil, camomile, honey etc. (Cosmos Standard Annex: VI) and ethyl alcohol (Annex VII).

  • Maximum 2% Ingredients with synthetic molecule content are allowed throughout the product.

  • Compliance with the principles of Green Chemistry and the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) must be guaranteed.

  • Packing are only approved after they have been tested for sustainability.

  • There are specifications as to what information on certification must appear on product labels, such as which standard has been certified by whom, the proportions by weight of the organic ingredients in COSMOS organic, as well as the precise labelling of the organic ingredients in the ingredient declaration.

  • Animal testing is not allowed unless required by law. In Germany and the EU, this is generally not the case, except for the approval of new chemical substances. As these are usually of synthetic chemical origin, they may not be used in natural cosmetics.

  • Palm oil must be RSPO certified.

  • The cleaning agents used to clean the production equipment before and after production must comply with the COSMOS specifications.

  • An Environmental Management Plan must be managed, optimized and applied.



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© Society for Applied Business Ethics GfaW

NCS-Standard: Seal for certified natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics, vegan or with tested animal ingredients

The second standard in the natural cosmetics seal overview is the NCS natural cosmetics standard of the Society for Applied Business Ethics GfaW. Certification is carried out by external certification companies. The NC standard distinguishes between four levels: natural cosmetics, vegan natural cosmetics, organic cosmetics and vegan organic cosmetics.


NCS Standard - Certified Natural Cosmetics
  • Only ingredients that meet the criteria of the NCC standard and have been tested are used. The highest possible naturalness is required.

  • No minimum quantity of organic ingredients is specified. Ingredients from controlled organic cultivation may be listed.

  • List of ingredients that must be used in certified organic quality.


NCS Standard - Certified Vegan Natural Cosmetics
  • No ingredients of animal origin shall be can be used.

  • Only ingredients that meet the criteria of the NCC standard and have been tested are used. The highest possible naturalness is required.

  • No minimum quantity of organic ingredients is specified. Ingredients from controlled organic cultivation may be listed.

  • List of ingredients that must be used in certified organic quality.


NCS Standard - Certified organic cosmetics
  • At least 95% Bio: which means that 95% of the ingredients of agricultural origin must come from controlled organic cultivation.

  • The percentage of organic ingredients in relation to the total ingredients must be indicated on the packaging.

NCS Standard - Certified vegan organic cosmetics
  • At least 95% Bio: which means that 95% of the ingredients of agricultural origin must come from controlled organic cultivation.

  • No ingredients of animal origin may be used.

  • The percentage of organic ingredients in relation to the total ingredients must be indicated on the packaging.


Further rules of the NC standard for certified natural cosmetics:
  • The packaging used must be recyclable.

  • The use of GMO - genetically modified organisms is not permitted.

  • Palm oil must be RSPO certified.

  • Animal testing is not permitted.


This information and further details can be found on the website and the documents available there of the Society for Applied Business Ethics: https://gfaw.eu/ncs/.


NATRUE Standard: Seal for certified natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics

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© NATRUE AISBL


In our natural cosmetics seal overview, NATRUE is also one of the most prominent international seals. The standard for certified natural cosmetics & organic cosmetics was founded by European natural cosmetics enterprises in the DACH region.

Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Logocos, Primavera, and Laverana are among NATRUE's original members. Various approved certification agencies carry out certification according to the Natrue standard. The NATRUE standard will distinguish between two levels starting in 2021: "natural cosmetics" and "organic cosmetics." The product labels do not show these two tiers.

NATRUE - Certified natural cosmetics
  • The proportion of natural substances (physically processed ingredients of agricultural origin) must be between 0,1% and 80%. A maximum of 99% natural ingredients (chemically processed ingredients of agricultural origin) may be used, depending on the product category.


NATRUE - Certified organic cosmetics
  • The proportion of natural substances (physically processed ingredients of agricultural origin) must be between 1% and 90%. A maximum of 99% natural ingredients (chemically processed ingredients of agricultural origin) may be used, depending on the product category.

  • 95% of the natural and near-natural ingredients must come from controlled organic cultivation or from controlled wild collection.


Further rules of the NATRUE standard:
  • Sustainable packaging are strived for, as is environmentally friendly packaging management.

  • No use of GMO GMO- genetically modified organisms.

  • Compliance with the principles of Green Chemistry and the principles of CITES of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

  • Palm oil must be at least RSPO certified.

  • Animal testing is not allowed


DEMETER standard: the seal for Demeter cosmetics

The Demeter Cosmetics Standard is one of the special seals in the Natural Cosmetics Seal Overview. The specifications for cosmetics and personal care products of the biodynamic cultivation association, demeter e.V., are regulated under point 8.12. of the product-specific processing guidelines. Cosmetic products can be processed by external authorised companies according to the Demeter standard.


Demeter natural cosmetics
  • At least 90% of the ingredients of agricultural origin and the name-giving ingredient of the product come from Demeter cultivation.

  • Less than 90% and not less than 66% of the ingredients and the name-giving ingredient of the product have demeter quality.

  • The qualities of the individual ingredients must be indicated on the product.


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© Demeter


Further rules of the Demeter Standard:
  • Preference is given to ingredients that have a have gone through a rhythmic process.

  • Electromagnetic fields during processing should be avoided.

  • Negative effects during processing must be kept to a minimum: Reduction of waste, energy consumption, waste water.

  • Packaging materials must comply with the Demeter guideline.

  • Experiments on animals are prohibited.


This information and further details can be found on the website and the documents of the Demeter Association available there: https://www.demeter.de/naturkosmetik. 


AUSTRIA-Bio Organic Cosmetics Directive: the seal for organic cosmetics

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© Austria Bio


Austria Bio - certified organic cosmetics

From Austria and at the same time known worldwide is the next important standard in the natural cosmetics seal overview. Austria gives organic cosmetics an official framework. The guideline Biological Production (RL_0003_3) regulates in paragraph 6 the requirements for organic cosmetics. The certification is carried out by Austria-Bio-Garantie. The requirements for natural cosmetics are defined in the Foodstuffs Book section on cosmetic products. This test is carried out by AgroVet carried out.


  • At least 95% organic: this means that 95% of the ingredients of agricultural origin must come from controlled organic cultivation.

  • At least 20% organic in the whole product: this means that 20% of the ingredients of agricultural origin in the whole product must come from certified organic cultivation.

  • Compliance with the principles of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

  • The use of genetically modified organisms - GMOs is not permitted.

This information and further details can be found, among other places, on the website and in the documents available there of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety GmbH: https://www.ages.at/themen/kosmetik/spezifische-themen/bio-und-naturkosmetik/tab/2/.


USDA-Organic organic cosmetics

The USDA standard can be found on products all over the world, making it an important part of our natural cosmetics seal overview.

At National Organic Programme-NOP of the USA, the specifications for organic cosmetics are defined in the section on cosmetics and personal care products. If cosmetic products meet the USDA / NOP organic growing, processing, handling and labeling guidelines, they can be certified as organic. The same steps apply to the validity of the claim as for all other agricultural products.


USDA - 100% BIO
  • The product must contain 100% ingredients from controlled organic cultivation - except water and salts). In addition to the organic seal, the name and address of the certifier must be stated.

USDA - BIO

  • The product must contain at least 95 % ingredients from controlled organic cultivation - except water and salts). The remaining ingredients must comply with the specifications of the standard. In addition to the organic seal, the name and address of the certifier carrying out the inspection must be stated.


USDA - made with organic ingredients

  • The product must contain at least 70 % ingredients from controlled organic cultivation - except water and salts). The product name may also list 3 organic ingredients. The remaining ingredients must meet the specifications of the standard. The USDA organic seal may not be used. The name and address of the certifier must be provided.


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© USDA


This information and further details can be found on the website and in the USDA documents available there: https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic.


What constitutes a natural cosmetics standard?

In our internationally and digitally networked world, natural cosmetics certification is the guarantee that all the specifications defined in a natural cosmetics standard are met by the certified brand. In our overview of natural and organic cosmetic seals, we have presented the best-known and most trustworthy standards.

Only then may their products bear the corresponding natural cosmetics seal. A serious natural cosmetics standard is publicly available at any time. The Compliance is confirmed by ongoing controls in all companies involved in the manufacturing process. Optimally, this happens annually - as the ISO standard 17065 for certifiers.

Sync and corrections by n17t01 Service provider as contract manufacturers do not bring their own products to the market, they receive a Confirmation that your performance is compliant with the relevant standard.

Seals for certified natural cosmetics ensure that a product has actually fulfilled the characteristics stated on its packaging with regard to its naturalness. Greenwashing is not possible with certified natural cosmetics.

Would you like to have your cosmetics or services certified according to a natural and organic cosmetics standard? We have put together a guide for you to get started: 

The 3 most important points that you should consider if you want to have products certified as natural cosmetics or organic cosmetics

Author: Elke Hockauf


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Photocredits: thanks to Raphaël Menesclou , fleur kaan ,Juliette F,  The New York Public Library, Michal Vrba , Joran Quinten , Syed Ali on Unsplash

All trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.


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