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4. Chemically processed agro-ingredients

Chemically processed products of plant, animal, or microbial origin may be used if :

  • it complies with primary raw materials that respect the requirements of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

It is forbidden to use :

  • plants or plant materials that have been genetically modified.
  • primary raw materials extracted from living or slaughtered animals.

It is allowed to use ingredients of animal origin as long as :

  • they are produced by animals but are not a part of the animal.
  • they have been obtained using only the processes listed here.
  • they come from animals whose welfare has been protected.

Chemically processed agro-ingredients may contain mineral moieties. (segments of molecules)

Alcohol and other by-products of fermentation are chemically processed agro-ingredients.

The requirements for manufacturers of chemically processed agro-ingredients should follow the principles of green chemistry for all the sequence of reactions that are needed to make each ingredient.

This information can be found at (Environmental Protection Agency Green Chemistry Programme, USA, 1998; EPA Green Chemistry).

5. Other ingredients and moieties (or molecule segments)

Certain other ingredients are allowed as long as there are no effective natural alternatives available to ensure the safety of consumers or efficacy of the product.

Only those listed here are allowed.

During a transition period of 60 months after this Standard comes into force, a limited number of other ingredients, moieties and processes for some specific ingredients are allowed since fully natural alternatives are not yet available to ensure the efficacy of the product.

Only those listed here are allowed.

The COSMOS certification program also clearly defines the organic percentage of water, minerals and ingredients of mineral origin.

Some products claiming to contain a certain organic percentage in organic makeup and cosmetics can be misleading, due to the fact that these ingredients have been included in the calculations that define the products organic percentage.

COSMOS clearly states that water (added directly or indirectly), minerals and ingredients of mineral origin CANNOT be calculated in the organic percentage.

Similar to Ecocert, COSMOS has 2 levels of organic criteria

The first level is cosmetic products under organic certification and the second level is cosmetic products under natural certification.

Organic Certification (See logo images below)

  • Ingredients - At least 95% of the physically processed agro-ingredients must be organically produced.
  • Total product - At least 20% of the total product must be organic.

In exceptions, rinse-off products, non-emulsified aqueous products and products with at least 80% minerals or ingredients of mineral origin - at least 10% of the total product must be organic.

Natural Certification (See logo images below)

  • There is no requirement to use a minimum level of organic ingredients.

However, for naturally certified organic makeup and cosmetics, there are clear label conformity requirements.

  • Labels must have the signature COSMOS NATURAL in conjunction with the seal of the COSMOS-standard AISBL member organisation.
  • Labels must indicate organic ingredients and those made from organic raw materials only in the INCI list. This must be limited to the wording: “from organic agriculture” for physically processed agro-ingredients and “made using organic ingredients” for chemically processed agro-ingredients or similar expressions using the same typing as used for the INCI list.
  • Labels may indicate the percentage of organic origin ingredients by weight in the total product, as “x% organic of total”.
  • Labels may indicate the percentage of organic origin ingredients by weight in the total product without water and minerals, as “y% organic of total minus water and minerals”.
  • Labels must not make any claim relating to organic, either ingredients or percentages, on the front of the packaging.


Packaging for organic cosmetics must adhere to the following
rules :

The following packaging materials are not allowed :

  • polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other chlorinated plastics.
  • polystyrene.
  • materials or substances that contain genetically modified organisms.
  • materials or substances that have been derived from genetically modified organisms.
  • materials or substances that have been manufactured using genetically modified organisms.

For packaging that contains pressurised gasses, only the following gasses
are allowed :

  • air
  • oxygen
  • nitrogen
  • carbon dioxide
  • argon

Organic makeup cleaning and hygiene materials also needs to be considered. The following disinfectant materials may be used:

  • vegetable derived alcohol
  • iso-propyl alcohol
  • amphoteric surfactants
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • mineral acids and alkalis

Logos to look out for that confirm organic compliance

The image below shows the COSMOS Standard labelling guide that is applicable to each of it members. These products would typically be found in the European market.

COSMOS Standard Labelling Guide Ver 2


This COSMOS standard has been heavily edited to provide a simplistic view of the criteria. However, it will enable you to have a good idea of how organic cosmetics are defined and how they are regulated.

Clear Labelling Helps Your Find Exactly What You are Looking For

This synopsis will also guide you on how to buy organic makeup without falling into the traps of unscrupulous marketing and misleading labelling – whether it is intentional or unintentional.

Clear labelling helps you avoid the traps of manipulative marketing and the strict rules of organic labelling are defining new labelling standards to help you do just that.

By learning to read between the lines you can assure yourself, with reasonable authority, that you are buying organic makeup and cosmetics that is good for you, the people around you and your world.

Do not be distracted by the sales experts. Use this organic makeup guide as your point of reference to a greener future.

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