Nov 22, 2021 · 3 min read
Certification Roundup: All About the Cosmos Standard
Many Cosmetics Creators take great care to use natural and organic ingredients in their formulations. They do everything they can to limit their products’ impact on the environment, and they want to communicate that to shoppers in a way that’s trusted and recognizable. One solution: certification under the Cosmos standard.
The Cosmos standard is a set of guidelines for Cosmetic Creators to follow regarding organic, natural, sustainable ingredients and processes. More than 26,000 products and 17,000 ingredients and raw materials, in more than 70 countries, have been authorized to display one of the trademarked Cosmos signatures on their packaging.
Companies do not need to meet the Cosmos standard to legally sell cosmetic products, but a Beauty Brand that passes the Cosmos accreditation process is permitted to display the appropriate certification icon. If consumers see the Cosmos icon, they can be confident that the product contained inside is made with certified organic or natural ingredients.
Cosmos certification (click link for full standard document) applies to all aspects of the sourcing, manufacture, marketing, and control of cosmetic ingredients.
According to the Cosmos website, the certification program is centered around four main principles:
“Green chemistry,” per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is “the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.” In other words: it’s right there in the name.
Sections 6 to 11 of the standard are key. These sections set guidelines for:
The Cosmos standard is overseen by a Brussels-based nonprofit organization, whose board and team are advised by specialist committees. This organization works with 10 certifying bodies around the world, which examine all of the aspects listed above during the certification process. Most of these bodies work internationally through local auditors or national offices. This means Cosmetic Creators have several options when selecting a body to work with.
*Photo by Erol Ahmed *
There are two certifications offered by Cosmos for cosmetic products: Cosmos Organic and Cosmos Natural.
In addition to the Organic and Natural designations for products, Cosmos also certifies raw ingredients. There are two certifications available for ingredients:
Cosmos assesses several fees that go toward administering the program. These include:
A brand considering Cosmos certification should contact Cosmos for an up-to-date statement of required fees, to find out about any additional costs that might need to be paid, and to get a better idea of how much extra time and resources might be needed to support the process.
As for timing, this can vary. According to the Cosmos website: “The process of achieving certification can take several months, depending on the complexity of products and manufacturing processes.” This involves inspections and audits of the brand’s facilities and practices as well as those of the manufacturing partner, if an external manufacturer is being used.
Brands should ask Cosmos for more detailed information on the timeline. Also, if a manufacturing partner is being used, the brand can ask them if they’ve gone through certification before, and what kind of support they can provide during the review process.
In 2022, following a review, Cosmos will issue a new version of its standard.
Cosmos is continuously accepting applications from Cosmetic Creators and ingredient manufacturers. To apply, contact the certification body of your choice directly. The process includes at least one audit visit. How long the process takes depends on how complex the applicant’s operations are.
For more information on the Cosmos standard, visit cosmos-standard.org.