The market for natural cosmetics products has been booming for several years, and is still enjoying strong growth. At the same time, competition between different products and manufacturers is increasing. As a consumer, it is often difficult to recognise natural cosmetics and to avoid being deceived. For this reason, there are many natural cosmetics labels which serve as guides and certify the quality of the product.
There are numerous certification seals for cosmetic products, but these differ greatly in their requirements. It is therefore hard for the consumer to get an overview and to distinguish really meaningful certification marks from poorer ones. The following overview lists some of the most important and trustworthy labels which are awarded to genuinely natural cosmetic products.
The NaTrue-Label has existed since 2007, is internationally valid and centres on the ingredients of a product. These ingredients are divided into three categories: natural, near-natural and nature-identical ingredients. In addition, there are three different levels of certification, depending on the quantity of organically grown ingredients in the product. To prevent greenwashing, at least 75% of a company’s product range must meet NaTrue standards. Products with the NaTrue label must not contain any artificial ingredients and must not be tested on animals. The NaTrue association believes its mission is “to promote and protect natural and organic cosmetics for the benefit of consumers worldwide”. The high standards of the label are complemented by the extensive control tests of the respective certification bodies and the production processes of the manufacturers.
This seal of approval was founded in 2001 by the Association of German Industrial and Trading Companies (BDIW), with the aim of “defining natural cosmetics objectively, correctly and comprehensibly in the interest of the consumer, and creating transparency”. Furthermore, the seal enables fair competition, which is why particularly strict eligibility criteria were developed. These relate, among other things, to the extraction and production of raw materials for cosmetics and their processing. In addition, there are many prohibitions. For example, products must not contain synthetic dyes or fragrances, silicones, paraffins or other petroleum products. On the other hand, substances derived from animals, such as milk or honey, are permitted.
Demeter is one of the oldest organic associations in Germany and was founded in the 1920s. In the 1990s, Demeter also developed certification guidelines for natural cosmetic products, which are based on its own philosophy relating to the holistic approach of “Biodynamic farming”. Products whose ingredients have a Demeter raw material content of at least 90 percent can be certified. The Demeter guidelines are regarded worldwide as the most consistent regulations for high-quality organic products, and are intended to contribute to the greatest possible transparency. These include the consequent renunciation of mineral oils, benzene or hexane, butylene or propylene glycol and all kinds of animal-based raw materials. The use of genetic engineering and nanoparticles, as well as radioactive irradiation or fumigation, are also strictly prohibited.
Natural cosmetic products do not always have to be vegan, since they can contain ingredients such as milk, honey or beeswax. The vegan flower helps to identify purely vegan products. The seal of approval was introduced by the Vegan Society in 1990, and is awarded to cosmetics that contain 100% plant-derived ingredients. In addition, such products must be completely animal-free, both in terms of production processes and animal testing.
The French organisation Ecocert has been certifying organic products since 1991, and finally developed standard guidelines for cosmetics in 2002. It distinguishes between natural and organic cosmetics. Natural cosmetics must contain at least 50 percent purely plant-based substances, whilst organic cosmetics must be up to 95 percent plant-based. Ecocert is internationally active and has numerous subsidiaries in other countries.