Organic skincare certification for personal care items can be confusing. The process is similar to that of the organic food industry, but unlike the certifications for organic food, organic skincare is not government regulated. An understanding of the different types of certifications and rules will make your choice as a consumer easier.
How does certification work?
Each certifying body creates a set of guidelines that a product and manufacturer must meet in order to be certified natural and /or organic.
These rules will define requirements such as:
- The minimum percentage of organic content required within a product
- The percentage of synthetic ingredients acceptable under certification
- Ingredients that are excluded from use in products
- The manufacturing processes which can be used in the creation of ingredients and the end product
- Whether water can or cannot be included in the calculation for the organic percentage of the product
- No animal testing
- No ingredients derived from an animal unless produced without harm to the animal eg honey and beeswax
- Avoidance of GM ingredients
- Consideration for how the ingredients are grown and harvested
- Environmentally friendly packaging requirements
Today there are a number of international organisations with organic skincare certification standards. Below, we have compiled summaries of the most common certifications found on our website:-
Labels: Soil Association Organic includes the ‘Made with Organic ingredients' Label
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Business Type: Non-Profit
The Soil Association is a standard for 'organic' and 'made with organic' ingredients. Limited amounts of synthetic preservatives and ingredients are allowed, for example benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid and phenoxyethanol. Excludes water in calculation of organic content.
- Organic - must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients.
- Made with Organic Ingredients - must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
USDA NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM
Labels: USDA 100% Organic, USDA Organic and USDA Made with Organic
Country of Origin: USA
Business Type: Government
USDA NOP is a food standard with three certification variations. Limited amounts of synthetics are allowed in 'organic' and 'made with organic'. Excludes water and salt in calculation of organic content.
- 100% Organic - must contain only organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt).
- Organic - must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Limited amounts of synthetics are allowed.
- Made with Organic Ingredients must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, but cannot display the USDA seal on packaging.
Labels: EcoCert Natural and EcoCert Natural and Organic
Country of Origin: France
Business Type: Profit
EcoCert requires a minimum of 95 percent natural origin as a baseline entry. Water can be included in its calculation of organic content. Up to 5% of synthetic preservatives are allowed eg. Dehydroacetic acid and Sodium hydroxide.
- Natural standard - A minimum of 50% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 5% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming.
- Natural / Organic standard A minimum of 95% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 10% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming.