GENERAL HEALTH & BEAUTY CERTIFICATION
Is organic and natural H&B certification mandatory?
Unfortunately, it is not mandatory to undergo certification for organic health and beauty products. However, certification ensures that you can substantiate organic claims and provide consumer clarity. The application process varies on a case by case basis, however, our aim is to have businesses certified within 3 months.
Read our standards and support guides to help understand the certification process. Click here for the supporting documents.
What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a misleading term used by companies that promote the environmental and ethical benefits of a product, service or company practise. There are no regulations around using the term for natural or organic for cosmetic products. We work hard to raise awareness of greenwashing in the cosmetics industry to provide clarity for the consumer.
Click here to see our Come Clean About Beauty Campaign.
GENERAL COSMOS CERTIFICATION
What is COSMOS and what role does the Soil Association play within it?
The Soil Association charity is a founder member of the COSMOS-standard. COSMOS was founded in 2010 by the Soil Association and other leading organic organisations in the industry, with the aim of creating a harmonised international standard for the certification of organic and natural cosmetic products and creating a less confused market for consumers. Soil Association Certification is one of the certification bodies able to provide certification and business support for this standard.
Are SA health and beauty licences recognised by COSMOS?
No, something that is organic on a Soil Association health & beauty licence is not considered organic for COSMOS. You can tell H&B licences as on the certificate the licence number will have a ‘DJ’ or ‘H’ prefix.
What is the difference between COSMOS Organic and COSMOS Natural?
Organic is at the heart of everything we do, we recognise that there is a demand for natural products, so to address this we also offer COSMOS natural certification. The COSMOS Natural products do not have to contain any organic ingredients – although in practice many do. COSMOS Natural is most suitable for products containing a lot of ingredients which cannot be a result of organic farming, such as water, salt or clay – for example toners, bath salts or face masks.
To learn more about the difference click here.
Who needs to be certified?
Manufacturers and brand holders of COSMOS products have to be certified; also anyone that wants to sell ingredients with some organic content needs to be certified (if the ingredients are also food grade it is an option to get a food organic licence as this certification is also acceptable into the COSMOS supply chain).
Why does COSMOS permit the use of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil?
Due to the growing global concern and urgent need to protect the planet from irresponsible deforestation, COSMOS believe that the organic and natural cosmetics industry should take responsibility for the sourcing of palm oil and palm kernel oil, to ensure as best we can that the environment is not being harmed. COSMOS carried out some research on availability of palm and palm kernel oil derivatives and has decided to introduce a new standard on CSPO palm derivatives (taking effect 1st January 2019). Note that COSMOS would prefer all ingredients from palm and palm derivatives from organic sources but at present this is not possible due to availability.
GENERAL STAND-ALONE SERVICE
What is the difference between ingredient Review Service and the application process? Is it mandatory?
The ingredient Review Service is a stand-alone service which allows you to check your ingredients meet organic and natural standards before applying for full certification.
It is not mandatory that you undergo this service, however it is strongly recommended for applicants who fall into the 'start-up' category and may not have access to an in-house technical specialist.
Please note, you cannot apply the Soil Association symbol until full certification is gained. This also applies to marketing and distribution of bulk ingredients.