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Why the COSMOS-Standard is important for beauty standards everywhere

28 June, 2021 4 min read

Ahh the cosmos, so filled with mystery and marvel. While we’re equally obsessed with the stars, galaxies and our universe as a whole, we won’t be delving into that phenomena today. Instead we’ll be unpacking the COSMOS-Standard and why we mention it so often in relation to our latest range - our brand new Eye-Fi Liners. So these plastic-free pencils meet the COSMOS-Standard. Big deal. What or who is COSMOS and why such high-standards?

Who is COSMOS?

Fun fact: COSMOS stands for the ‘COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard’. And while there’s definitely an ‘N’ missing from this acronym, it defines and upholds industry best-practices when it comes to manufacturing organic and natural cosmetics globally. The COSMOS-Standard is a not-for-profit, international and independent association managed by Brussels-based COSMOS-standard AISBL. Founded in 2002 by five European organisations (including BDIH - Germany, Cosmebio - France, Ecocert - France, ICEA - Italy and the Soil Association - UK), the standard is continuously being developed and managed by specialist committees and technical certification teams from each of the founding businesses.

Why (oh why) COSMOS?

Because navigating the organic and natural cosmetic industries can be complex and (ironically) muddy, especially across the continents. The COSMOS-Standard was developed to keep practices clean and comprehensive while holding businesses accountable for their messaging.

What is the COSMOS-Standard?

The COSMOS-Standard is a consumer guarantee for products and cosmetics, to verify that they are natural and organic (made using ingredients that were produced naturally versus synthetically, without the use of harmful chemicals, processes or pesticides). This guarantee covers all aspects of a cosmetic product from its sourcing, manufacturing, and composition, to its packaging, marketing and control (availability, disposal, etc.). To cover all this ground, the Standard is guided by four principles: promoting the use of products from organic agriculture, using methods that are clean and respectful of human health, biodiversity and the environment, using natural resources responsibly, and integrating the concept of ‘green chemistry’.

Side note: green chemistry is the practise of using science smarts to reduce our impact on the environment. For example, using chemical products (like, oxygen and hydrogen) and processes to reduce, neutralise or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.

By sticking to these guidelines, brands can celebrate meeting this COSMOS-Standard. And with certification-body approval, they can use matching COSMOS logos on their labels. These little autographs confirm when a product meets minimum industry requirements to be considered organic or natural.

How to know when a product meets the COSMOS-Standard

When a product meets the COSMOS-Standard, and receives approval from a COSMOS-Standard certification body, it can confidently carry the relevant logo on its packaging. Keep an eye out for the little icon representing the certification body that signed-off the COSMOS-Standard (one of the five founders like Cosmebio, ICEA, or Ecocert, etc.) and the type of approval. Products can be deemed COSMOS Organic and COSMOS Natural, while ingredients and raw materials can be marked as COSMOS Certified or COSMOS Approved.

The different certification types

These certification types are regularly updated and revised. If you’d like to get into the nitty-gritty, the full COSMOS-Standard details can be perused here. Without further ado, here’s the abbreviated version for all you skimmers out there.

Products can be deemed COSMOS Organic and COSMOS Natural, while raw ingredients and products can be marked as either COSMOS Certified or COSMOS Approved.

COSMOS Organic

Means that the product complies with the COSMOS-Standard in all respects and contains the minimum required percentages of organic ingredients (95%) as specified by the Standard.

COSMOS Natural

Means that the product complies with the COSMOS-Standard in all respects but does not contain the required minimum organic percentages (<95%) specified in the Standard.
For example: A product made with 20% organic mint and 80% water would be classed as COSMOS Natural because water isn’t recognised as organic and the organic mint only makes up 20% of the ingredients.

COSMOS Certified

This covers physically and chemically processed raw agro-ingredients with organic content that meets the Standard. Remember water can be considered as a ‘chemical’ in the term ‘chemically processed’, as it consists of oxygen and hydrogen in a compound. Raw ingredients and cosmetic products can fall under this labelling category.

COSMOS Approved

This covers non-organic raw materials that are approved for use in cosmetic products certified to the COSMOS-Standard.

Did you know that water and mineral ingredients, while natural, can’t ever be deemed as organic by the COSMOS-Standard? So while your homemade rosewater toning spray might technically be natural and organic, COSMOS would not class it as organic purely for its water content.

Why can’t brands be COSMOS Certified?

Brands don’t necessarily get certified. While they might make claims like ‘We are COSMOS ORGANIC' or 'We are COSMOS NATURAL', they can only say this if ALL of their products meet COSMOS-Standard and have been approved by a certification body under the respective categories above. At Kester Black we are working towards total COSMOS certification across our whole range so that one day we can shout it from the rooftops. Until then, we will be working away more beautifully, natural formulas.

Our Eye-Fi Liners meet the gaze of global standards

Our latest range of eyeliners are 100% natural and meet the COSMOS Standard.

Formulated with organic Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Marula Oil and Vitamin E, these liners use their plant powers to hydrate, nourish and soothe - naturally. They come in a plastic-free pencil format, and are packed in FSC-certified recyclable paper cartons, printed on with soy inks, and shipped in recycled limestone bags. Everything from their formulation to their production, packaging and logistics has been considered and we couldn’t be more chuffed.

But, seeing is believing. Shop our range of high-performance colours (Blackout, UF-Whoa, Clone and A-Eye) and see for yourself.

Keen to learn more about reading cosmetic labels? (Like what that stylish ‘e’ logo means?) Check out our blog on correctly reading cosmetic labels or dip your nose into our article on 12-Free nail polish. Yes, 12-free. So many colours, so few nasties.