The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients

COSMOS-Standard: Are you ready?

Dr. Barbara Olioso – Jan 25, 2017

Natural and Organic CosmeticsSince the first of January, COSMOS (which is made up of COSMOS Organic and COSMOS Natural) has become the main green beauty standard within the industry. It has been quite a lengthy transition, but now it has finally taken its place. And it has become the official green standard for the beauty industry, with the support of key certification bodies such as:

  • BDIH
  • Cosmebio
  • Ecocert Greenlife
  • ICEA
  • Soil Association

This means that COSMOS will replace the old standards provided by the COSMOS founders. Thus, any new formulation submitted, from this point on, must comply with the new standard. Products on the market following the old standards will still be supported with the old marks, but not COSMOS.

Current Status – COSMOS Certified Products & Approved Ingredients

There are already nearly 1800 COSMOS certified products. Many are from major international green brands such as Intelligent Nutrients, Natura Siberica and Zuii Organics. At the moment, we see mainly skincare, shampoos and color cosmetics. But, the recent approval of a new SPF in the COSMOS ingredients database will open the doors to sun protection products as well. Thus it will make the COSMOS standard even more attractive.

The ingredients database for chemically derived natural ingredients keeps on growing, and as I am writing this article, it contains 2605 approved ingredients! This is far more than the few hundreds that were listed when it started. Major raw materials suppliers who have registered several ingredients, making life a great deal easier for us formulators include:

ISO Standard (16128) for Natural & Organic Cosmetics

At the moment there is also great interest in the ISO standard (16128), which so far consists of two parts:

  1. One on definitions of ingredients and,
  2. Second on criteria for ingredients and products

Even though I appreciate the simplification thanks to the definition of Organic/Natural/Organic derived/natural derived Indexes on the one side. But on the other side I, find that the standard risks confusion as it fails to restrict petrochemicals and to provide a Petrochemical Index.

This means that you could get a product with 20% organic index and 80% petrochemicals (such as PEGs, silicones, parabens, petrolatum) as being acceptable. But this is something that consumers would certainly not expect in a green product. And, this is something that would not happen with a COSMOS certified product. It will be interesting to see if a third part will be published giving further guidelines on finished products and that addressed these kinds of issues.

How to Best Formulate According to COSMOS?

I believe that COSMOS is a far more complete and current standard that formulators who are keen on green need to watch and be aware of. But to formulate according to COSMOS, the standard needs to be fully understood. Given the fact that the final marque is the result of a negotiation of different standards along with green chemistry principles, it is tricky to get it in one “bite”.

In fact, it took me, as a formulator, quite some time to digest it; understanding the different types of ingredients, their restrictions and calculations. Thus in my online course on COSMOS, I will explain the standard, unraveling its complexity, as well as giving some hard won “pearls of wisdom” and examples. As a result of understanding COSMOS much better, the course will help you decide on your future R&D schedule and plan accordingly.

Get Organic or Natural Cosmetic Certification

Be armed with relevant and easy-to-digest information and strategies to get COSMOS-certification for your natural and organic formulations. Join the course: COSMOS Standard: How to Get Organic or Natural Certification Today? and understand the key aspects of the new, stringent and complex standards.

Be Natural & Organic Certified

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