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What You Need to Know About the COSMOS-Standard for Natural & Organic Cosmetic Products

What is the COSMOS-Standard?

COSMOS (“COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard”) is a single, international standard for natural and organic cosmetic products which became effective in January of 2010. The five foremost organizations involved in organic and natural cosmetics standards came together to develop a single, harmonized standard to ensure:

  • A level playing field
  • Efficient operation for companies
  • Clarity and confidence for consumers
  • Effective progress toward sustainable development

Per the COSMOS-standard guidance, the ultimate objective is to “address the major issues essential to the environment and welfare of man on the planet. For practical purposes, it aims to ensure the transition between today’s and tomorrow’s possibilities of technological advances to promote the development of cosmetics ever more natural and organic.”

COSMOS-Standard Defines Both Natural Certification and Organic Certification

The COSMOS-standard covers two routes of certification, Organic and Natural, based upon the composition of finished products.

Organic Certification for Cosmetic Products

Avomeen has access to an ever expanding list of raw material vendors who have COMOS certified products that are used in creating your custom products. Under the standard, cosmetic products can be certified organic if they meet the following requirements:

  • At least 95% of the physically processed agro-ingredients (any plant, animal or microbial product derived from agriculture, aquaculture, or wild collection/harvest) must be organic
  • The remaining physically processed agro-ingredients must be organic if they’re listed in Appendix VI in the standard
  • Chemically processed agro-ingredients have to be organic if they can be found in Appendix VII in guidance

This criteria is adapted in the COSMOS-standard for soaps, alcohol spritzers, and perfumes due to typical formula composition of these products. Typically, there is a high percentage of chemically-processed agro-ingredients, and without the adaptation of the standard, it wouldn’t be possible to meet the >95% organic physically processed agro-ingredient requirement.

Natural Certification for Cosmetic Products

The standard provides a formula to calculate the percentage of a formula derived from natural origins, and while a “natural” finished product may contain some organic ingredients, there isn’t a high enough percentage of organic materials to meet the organic certification standard. However, if some organic ingredients are present, the COSMOS-standard does provide guidance and requirements to identify organic ingredients on product labels. Base formulas that don’t contain organic content (shampoo and soap bases) can’t go through the standard approval process, and instead have to go through the COSMOS NATURAL certification, which includes an on-site inspection.

COSMOS Covers All Aspects of Sourcing, Manufacturing, Marketing & Control of Cosmetic Products

In 12 chapters, the COSMOS-standard details both the processing and origin of ingredients and how they may – or may not – be treated. Ingredients include:

  • Water
  • Minerals and ingredients of mineral origin
  • Physically processed agro-ingredients
  • Chemically processed agro-ingredients
  • Other ingredients (which includes some preservatives)

The COSMOS-Standard is used by Companies and Manufacturers

In order for companies and manufacturers to use the COSMOS-standard, they must apply for certification through an authorized certification body. The certification body will then thoroughly audit operations to ensure the requirements of the standard are being upheld.

How Avomeen Can Help You Meet the COSMOS-Standard

Avomeen’s formulation and product development scientists have experience successfully formulating natural cosmetic products that meet stringent COSMOS-standard requirements. Do you have a project in mind? Let’s talk.

Take a deep dive into the COSMOS-standard with our regulatory expertWatch the On-Demand Webinar

Additional Resources

If you don’t want to deal with the logistics and maintenance of an in-house lab, consider an FTE partnership. Check out our blog, No In-House Lab? No Problem – Consider an FTE, for more information.

Are you evaluating service providers for product development, improvement, or innovation? Our blog, Choosing the Right Partner to Develop a Product, provides some guidance.

We explore the type of environment that fosters innovative thinking and successful innovation and formulation/product development in our blog, The Key to Successful Product Development & Innovation.

Have you experienced product or process failure? Learn more about what to do when that happens in our blog, What to do When a Product or Process Fails.

Are you looking to regain control of your product or formulation? Our blog, Regain Control of Your Formulation with Deformulation, offers insight into a solution.



Our featured blogger is Katie Morgan, Avomeen’s Senior Director of Marketing and Business Development. She has over a decade of experience establishing and implementing client development strategies, and her broad range of experience includes strategic contract development and marketing and content development.

Learn more about Katie’s expertise and experience.