CERTIFICATE - it's more than a stamp. It's your insurance

The expression "natural cosmetics" has not yet been defined, which is why many manufacturers call their products containing harmful substances "natural". Fortunately, there are several important organizations that certify natural cosmetics, thanks to which we know that a given product with a proper certificate meets the high demands of specialists and is safe for our health. The most important requirements for natural cosmetics are:

• very high content of natural and organic ingredients,

• minimal content of safe synthetic substances,

• the production process must be safe for the environment

• rigorous restrictions regarding animal testing

It is therefore always worth choosing natural skin care products based on the ingredients list of the product or the certificates that the product has been awarded – the information about the ingredients and the certificate stamps should be easy to find on the packaging. Below we present the best-known certificate stamps that guarantee the highest quality of cosmetics. Getting to know them is the first step to knowing how to choose the right products.

ECOCERT - one of the largest organizations granting ecological certificates. This is the most rigorous and prestigious standard among producers of natural and organic cosmetics.

Cosmetics with ECOCERT certificate:

• contain at least 95% ingredients of natural origin,

• do not contain ingredients of animal origin, with the exception of  products that contain ingredients like e.g. milk or honey that come from ecological farms,

• are not tested on animals,

• do not contain genetically modified ingredients, PEG emulsifiers,

• plants they are made of come from ecological crops, without artificial fertilizers and pesticides

• must be manufactured and stored under strict control,

• do not contain: synthetic silicones and oils, synthetic fragrances and dyes, synthetic antioxidants, ingredients obtained from the petrochemical industry.

ICEA - Institute of Environmental Ethics Certification - One of the most important institutes certifying natural and organic products in Italy and Europe. The certificate was created thanks to the cooperation of the Italian Association of Organic Agriculture (AIAB), the Institute of Ethics Certification (ICEA) and a group of manufacturers and consumers. There are strict guidelines for natural and ecological cosmetics that meet the following high requirements:

• the production process is controlled at all its stages,

• the cosmetics are produced in compliance with environmental protection regulations,

• the cosmetics are made from natural raw substances and active ingredients of plant origin, approved by AIAB standards,

• they do not contain synthetic dyes,

• they do not contain substances from genetically modified organisms (GMOs),

• they are not tested on animals

• they have packaging made of recyclable raw materials

• in order to sterilize the product, no radioactive irradiation is carried out.

BDIH grants it certificate to only those cosmetics that meet all the criteria listed below. The criteria concern mostly the production process. The BDIH stamp on the packaging indicates that the production has been carried out with high environmental standards and that:

• natural ingredients used for production must come from special biological farms or from the wild,

• production processes must be environmentally friendly,

• the packaging must be environmentally friendly,

• using GMOs, synthetic dyes, artificial fragrances, petrochemicals is strictly prohibited.

The above-mentioned associations and organizations (BDIH, ECOCERT, ICEA) have come up with a new idea that has become the new European standard - COSMOS Standard AISBL. Companies that apply for a certificate for their products are controlled and certified by organizations authorized by Cosmos Standard AISBL.

Cosmos-Standard distinguishes five categories of cosmetic ingredients:

• water,

• minerals and substances of mineral origin,

• farm products subjected to chemical treatment,

• farm products subjected to physical processing,

• other ingredients

For each category, Cosmos-Standard determines the acceptable ingredients and determines what is considered ecological and how to determine the percentage of these ingredients.

Cosmos-Standard provides two certification levels:

• NATURAL COSMETICS (Cosmos-Natural)

• ORGANIC COSMETICS (the right percentage of ingredients of organic origin - Cosmos-Organic).

Thanks to this solution, the content of natural ingredients in skin care products has been unified and standardized. According to Cosmos Standard, ecological product is a product in which at least 20% of ingredients are of a documented ecological origin and 95% of ingredients belonging to the category of farm products subjected to physical processing must be certified as ecological. The cosmetics may contain a maximum of 5% of synthetic substances.

BIO - COSMEBIO is a certificate that guarantees that the cosmetic contains at least 95% natural and ecological ingredients. Cosmetic products with a cosmebio certificate must include the information about the percentage of natural and ecological ingredients on the packaging.

Other requirements include:

• no animal testing,

• at least 95% of natural substances of plant origin must come from organic farming,

• no synthetic fragrances or dyes,

• no synthetic preservatives such as parabens or phenoxyethanol,

• production processes must be environmentally friendly,

• no ingredients from genetically modified plants (GMOs),

• recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

The certificate allow small amount of synthetic ingredients, but they must meet very stringent requirements and must not come from the petrochemical industry, like PEG, silicones, etc.

SOIL ASSOCIATION – a certificate of the organization from UK, that deals exclusively with organic cosmetics. It is one of the most restrictive organizations.

Cosmetics with this certificate:

• contain the maximum amount of organic ingredients,

• are 95% organic or at least 70% organic and have the description "with organic ingredients",

• contain no GMOs,

• must be biodegradable and environmentally friendly

• contain no dangerous substances: parabens, petrochemical products, artificial fragrances, detergents - SLS, glycols, DEA, MEA, TEA, triclosan etc.

VEGAN SOCIETY - a certificate awarded by the organization Vegan Society from United Kingdom  registered as early as 1944. The products with this certificate are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and people who suffer from lactose intolerance. This stamp is a guarantee that the product meets the philosophy of veganism: it does not contain any ingredients of animal origin and has never been tested on animals. Moreover, the cosmetic does not contain ingredients from genetically modified plants (GMOs).

NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS certificate goes by a very recognizable bunny stamp. This certificate  guarantees no animal testing of any kind throughout the entire production process. This applies not only to the product itself, but also to its ingredients. Remember - this is practically a norm in the European Union, but there are countries in the world where even natural cosmetics are tested on animals to make sure they are safe.

OTHER STAMPS

We can often see stamps on natural products that are non-standard. Most often they are used by the manufacturer to inform the customer about the ingredients of the cosmetic, or their origin.

WILD HARVEST – this stamp means, that the skin care product contains wildly harvested Siberian plants that survived the ice age by adapting to one of the harshest environments on the planet. To survive in a difficult environment of taiga the plants produce large amounts of essential oils and nutrients. As a result, these unusual herbs and plants have rare properties that help to improve one’s general well-being, and - used therapeutically – they slow down the aging process of the skin.

ADAPROGENES - plants that are widely recognized as medicinal. The studies on their properties continue to this day and there is no doubt that they have a normalizing effect on our physiology and health. They have rare properties that help to improve our general well-being, and when used therapeutically, they slow down the aging process of the skin. Adaptogens include: Rhodiola Rosea, Siberian Ginseng, Limonnik Nanai, Aralia Mandshurica.

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