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Many consumers believe natural and organic cosmetic products are better for both themselves and the environment.

green leaf with water dropper

With many cosmetic products on the market making claims of being natural and/or organic, how can consumers be sure they are buying products that truly match their expectations?

NATRUE certification helps natural and organic cosmetic companies differentiate themselves in the marketplace and gives consumers confidence that they are buying the right products.

The market for natural and organic cosmetics has been growing since the 1960s. Increased demand has led to an influx of products onto the market claiming to be natural and/or organic. To help the industry and consumers, territories began to introduce natural and organic labels but, without a clear consensus of what constitutes natural and/or organic, these labels can be confusing and unhelpful. Within this tightly regulated industry, ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ can be poorly defined terms and this has allowed products with minimal qualifying ingredients to be placed on the market and advertised as natural and organic.

To differentiate truly natural and/or organic products in the marketplace, the sector needed a clearly defined, international certification scheme that consumers can rely upon when buying their cosmetics.

NATRUE

NATRUE is a global non-profit association based in Brussels, Belgium, that promotes and protects the natural and organic cosmetics sector. Certification to the NATRUE standard demonstrates to consumers, wherever they are in the world, that a cosmetic product has undergone effective and thorough assessment of its natural and/or organic status. 

To avoid greenwashing, while products are individually assessed for their natural and organic status, certification cannot be granted to a single product. Instead, certification is granted to a product range, which can only display the NATRUE logo if at least 75% of individual products pass the assessment. Practically, therefore, if a consumer sees the NATRUE logo on a cosmetics range, they can be certain the claim is not based on one product from within a series. 

What is Classified as Natural?

NATRUE certification identifies thirteen categories of cosmetic product. To achieve certification a product must comply with clearly defined minimum amounts of natural ingredients and maximum levels of derived-natural components. The NATRUE standard strictly assess the product using the following ‘natural’ ingredient types: 

  • Natural ingredients – unmodified, obtainable only by physical processes or fermentation
  • Derived natural ingredients – may be the result from permitted biotechnological processes or chemical reactions on exclusively natural ingredients, e.g. hydrolysis, saponification, neutralization or esterification
  • Natural-identical ingredients – ingredients created in the laboratory to replicate natural ingredients are restricted to ingredients such as preservatives and pigments
  • Listed in Annex 2 of the NATRUE criteria

Stakeholders should be aware water is not included in any of these categories. 

NATRUE Certification

Certification is granted to one of three levels: 

  • Natural cosmetics – the foundation standard. It defines the ingredients that are permitted in a product and how they should be processed. Each product type has a guaranteed threshold for natural ingredients and a cut-off level for derived natural substances. Certified products may also contain organic ingredients
  • Natural cosmetics with an organic portion – must meet the above certification with a minimum of 70% of ingredients originating from controlled organic production and/or controlled wild collection. All product types must have higher levels of wholly natural ingredients and correspondingly lower levels of derived natural ingredients
  • Organic cosmetics – must meet both of the above standards with at least 95% of ingredients originating from controlled organic production and/or controlled wild collection. Compared to the second level, this level requires higher levels of natural ingredients and lower levels of derived natural ingredients

To be assessed against the NATRUE standard, a product will undergo a two-phase certification procedure:

  1. Document verification – validating a product’s formulation is compliant with the relevant criteria based on documentation from the applicant. Required documents include: 
    • Product and brand name
    • Information about the production site
    • Quantitative formulation
    • Raw material documentation including proof of origin, production process, confirmation of no irradiation and non-GMO
    • Envisaged export countries
  2. Production audit – the verifier audits the production site. This must be completed within six months of the finalized document check and will include verification of the certified products’ compliance and the complete traceability of all raw materials. Additional products within the brand may be certified within one year of the audit date and certification lasts for two years.

By looking for the NATRUE label on cosmetic products, a consumer can be certain they are buying the product they want. For companies operating in the competitive natural and organic cosmetics sector, applying for NATRUE certification is the best way to ensure their products are recognizable in the marketplace. 

Cosmoprof Asia

Stakeholders interested in the benefits of NATRUE certification should not miss the opportunity of hearing Dr. Mark Smith, NATRUE’s Director General, and Hubert Brundu, SGS Global Technical Manager, talking about NATRUE at Asia’s biggest beauty industry exhibition – Cosmoprof Asia. 

Their presentation, entitled, “NATRUE LABEL: a high standard helping customers in the growing market for organic cosmetic”, and will be held at 14.00 on November 15, 2018, as part of the Natural and Organic Symposium taking place in the Cosmoforum, Hall 3G, Level 3, in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center. 

In addition, interested parties can learn more about NATRUE, NATRUE certification and SGS’s comprehensive range of services for the cosmetics industry, by visiting the SGS booth in Hall 1E of the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Center.

Cosmoprof Asia is the region’s leading cosmetics expo, attracting 3,000 exhibitors and over 83,700 visitors from all corners of the world.

Book your tickets >

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For more information, please contact: 

Sabine Ahlers
Business Development Manager - New Projects
Cosmetics, Personal Care & Household Germany/Austria
t: +49 172 27 45 950

Dr. Bettina König
Auditor for NATRUE Certification
Cosmetics, Personal Care & Household Germany/Austria
t: +43 664 115 3306