What is COSMOS Certification?

Within the wide world of cosmetics, many different bodies exist with to the purpose of regulating the quality and standards for a large variety of products. Manufacturers or distributors seeking to enter certain markets, advertise in certain ways, or make certain claims about their cosmetics products sometimes encounter different bodies from whom they will need to receive compliance certification in order to assure distributors, markets and consumers of their legitimacy and safety. These are called ‘Authorised Bodies’. In the case of organic or natural cosmetic products in Europe, that authorized body is known as COSMOS.

Founded in Belgium in 2002, COSMOS is a not-for-profit authorised body that applies global independent harmonised standards to all cosmetics products branding themselves as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. COSMOS unites five separate entities previously operating individually in the European cosmetic regulation arena: Cosmebio, the Soil Association, Ecocert Greenlife, BDIH and ICEA. Their aim in uniting their efforts was to simplify the overall compliance certification process for manufacturers and distributors in Europe and create a uniform certification for manufacturers of natural and organic products looking to enter the European Market. As a result, they hope to increase product transparency, create a consistent and reliable means of communicating compliance, and ensure a way for manufacturers and distributors to assure clients that their products meet all the required standards for marketing a cosmetic product as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’.

The COSMOS certification falls under two separate categories: Organic Certification and Natural Certification. These products can be defined as:

Organic Products: Products developed using organic ingredients. A product must comply with a number of obligations to be deemed ‘organic’. Even then, there are grades of how ‘organic’ a product may be. A product can only be labeled as fully organic if 90% or more of its ingredients are organic. Products falling below this level are referred to as ‘made with organic’ ingredients. Requirements for ‘made with organic’ cosmetic products differ, ranging from 20% of all ingredients required to be organic for cosmetics that are meant to be left on the body for a long period of time, to 10% of ingredients for products that are washed off shortly after applying.

Natural Products: Those composed mainly of natural ingredients or ingredients of natural origin. Generally speaking, ‘natural’ products are those which may contain some organic ingredients, but not enough for them to be labeled ‘organic’ or ‘made with organic’.

The COSMOS certification covers a wide range of compliance categories:

  • Ingredient origin and processing information
  • Product composition
  • Product storage, manufacturing and packaging
  • Environmental issues
  • Labeling
  • Notification
  • Product claims
  • Quality control

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For more information on the benefits of a COSMOS certification for your cosmetic product, the path to certification, to find out about Obelis’ Responsible Person and Compliance Services, or for general advice from our team of legislative and regulatory experts, contact us today!

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