Basic principles for cosmetic products certification with COSMOS-standard


Francis Blake
Chair, COSMOS-standard AISBL, Brussels, Belgium


Progressive cosmetics companies deliver what consumers want and thereby also assure their long term viability. Organic and natural cosmetics are one of the few sectors of the market that continues to grow. In this article, Francis Blake, Chairman of the COSMOS-standard AISBL gives an introduction to the basic principles underlying certification of cosmetics and of the standards for organic and natural cosmetics, how these come together to provide the necessary assurance to consumers, and also why this is a sustainable approach for companies


The cosmetics industry is, more than most, consumer driven. It depends on giving consumers what they want, what they like using and what makes them feel good. The brands that deliver this build the trust and loyalty of their customers. 

Increasingly, cosmetics consumers are being driven not just by selfish motives, but also by altruistic ones – they want to buy “clean” products that are natural and that do not harm the environment, or better still, are good for the environment, like those using ingredients from organic farming. They also feel that these products are kinder for their skin and better for their health than those made from petrochemicals and using complex chemical reactions. 

Therefore, sales of organic and natural cosmetics have been growing in recent years at a time when other sales have been static. But how can consumers really tell what a product has been made from?  The INCI list doesn’t help the average consumer (unless they know their chemistry). The Cosmetics Regulation and others relating to labelling and advertising prohibit misleading claims, but much can be stated, or implied, witho ...