Natural Cosmetics Not Living up to their Marketing Claims

misleading natural marketing claimsNew research by Organic Monitor finds that few brands marketing cosmetics as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are living up to their claims.

Organic Monitor assessed over 50 cosmetic brands and ranked them according to their level of ‘naturalness’. The research was led by a chartered chemist who analyzed the formulations of natural and organic cosmetics and compared them to their marketing claims.

Brands were categorized by their rankings as follows: Certified organic cosmetics received the highest rating (9-10), pure natural cosmetics were rated 5-7, naturally inspired cosmetics 2 and conventional cosmetics 1.

The study found that the majority of brand’s formulations do not accurately reflect their marketing claims. Products that claim to be 100% natural were discovered to include synthetic preservatives, emollients and surfactants. Some brands with ‘natural’ claims were conventionally formulated, and several organic cosmetics did not even meet natural standards.

However, the study did show that products certified by a recognized agency received the highest ranking. Although, some products contain certified organic ingredients, the formulations still have synthetic ingredients not common to natural and organic products.

Organic Monitor emphasizes the importance of natural or organic certification as it adds continuity to the industry with strict standards and guidelines on allowed natural formulation processes and ingredients. Moreover, Organic Monitor encourages companies to become certified and establish trust with consumers by helping them distinguish a truly natural product from a falsely labeled one.

Natural Cosmetic Brands Assessed

Brands that received high naturalness scores include: Intelligent Nutrients (9), Green People (8) and Living Nature (7). Intelligent Nutrients products received high naturalness ratings, as they contain high levels of organic (food) ingredients, with almost all products certified organic.

New brands launched by large multinationals also scored high in terms of their natural and organic formulations: Garnier Bio Active (L’Oreal), Diadermine Bio Expertise (Henkel) and Johnson’s Natural (Johnson & Johnson). The high naturalness ratings of these brands epitomize how the natural and organic arena has evolved from just having small niche brands.

Natural & Organic Certification

Not all certifications are created equally. While natural and organic certification agencies like ECOCERT, Soil Association, BDIH, NPA and NaTrue standardize what constitutes a natural product, the report criticized Fair Trade organizations which allow cosmetics to be certified Fair Trade if they contain a minimum level of Fair Trade ingredients. Some consumers perceive these products as natural since they are certified and often marketed on their Fair Trade (natural) ingredients.

The study went on to show that many certified Fair Trade cosmetics received low naturalness ratings because of high levels of synthetic ingredients. Organic Monitor calls for Fair Trade certification standards to be tighten so they do not add to consumer confusion of what constitutes natural and organic cosmetics.

According to the study’s findings, the level of naturalness of brands varies considerably between geographic regions. European brands, partly because of the high adoption rates of natural and organic standards, score highest. North American brands are the second most natural, and whilst brands in other regions generally receive lower ratings. Although a growing number of Asian and Latin American brands are emphasizing their natural – and in many cases, indigenous – ingredients, the formulations are usually high in synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers and other ingredients.

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Posted by on Aug 3rd, 2011 and filed under FEATURED ARTICLES. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

10 Responses for “Natural Cosmetics Not Living up to their Marketing Claims”

  1. Nice article… but how about taking a look at Australia for certified organic products!
    At http://www.nochemicalcosmetics.com free reports show how to recognise chemicals in skin care and cosmetics and avoid ingredients that may cause premature ageing of the skin.

  2. I’m glad you pointed out the multitude of natural and organic certification agencies and how varied their standards are. An article like yours is a great step in the right direction. You briefly mentioned preservatives which I think could use even more attention as there are many “organic” or “natural” products that use chemical preservatives.

  3. Luella Remund says:

    Kudos to you Julia Roberts! I am a firm believer that this whole screwed up smelly society has become “paranoid” of the natural scent of the human body. We now have super-viruses that we cannot kill because we are so “sterile-minded”. I personally think that half the crap they sell out there (Desitin, Oil of Olay, Shower to Shower, Baby Powder) and all that other horrendous smelling garbage is what is causing all these new cancers and other diseases! I personally get horrible migraines from the products listed above and feel violated and angry when some inconsiderate jerk rapes my nose with their stench! I shower and keep myself clean, but I do NOT pollute the air (and everyone else’s noses with chemically created fragrances! If I want to smell particularly nice for my husband or a party or something, I dab a SMALL amount of vanilla, or essential oil behind my ears, inside elbows (and other places prone to odor). Whatever happened to natural pheremones? So the next time you go to “splash on some stink” think of others (asthmatics and other “scent-sensitive” individuals) and be considerate to other’s noses! Not everyone wants to smell you before you even arrive! P.S. Plain Zinc Oxide is way better than Desitin and the chemical fragrance is not so irritating, to baby’s bum and other’s noses!Report this comment as spam or abuse

  4. Maxie Muell says:

    Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess baggage, the shorter the trip. Arnold H. Glasgow

  5. Alex says:

    Some cosmetics brands claim their products to be completely natural, though some creams or shampoos may contain only 1 natural product (at best). On http://prettyandsmart.net they say that in some countries there areno particular legislation concerning natural cosmetic. It means they can put anything into their production and write “natural” on the label.

  6. Sami says:

    Now, what about the small companies that formulate and manufacture truly 100% organic products, but can not afford the outrageous annual feed for the certifications?

    The organic seal for cosmetics has become a sort of gamble in which who has more money get it. That is the result of so many “organic certified” products out there “establishing trust with consumers” due to a USDA seal on it.

    The truth is while the cosmetic business is not regulated/enforced for organics, the organic seal does not guarantee anything more than a clear evidence that it is there not because their products are truly organic, but because they can afford to pay for it.

  7. Van says:

    We make sure our products don’t even contain preservatives that contribute significantly to toxicity results. We encourage anyone in this market to do as you say.

  8. WE make our products on organic and natural old style without preservatives and a name cant you ive spelled

  9. Dominique says:

    One of the very good product brands is also Alverde. It is missing from your list.

  10. Jim says:

    What does it cost to get certified?

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