NATRUE - True Friends of Natural and Organic Cosmetics


ISO 16128-1:2016: NATRUE’s pos...

POSTED: 05.04.2016 IN: Science & Certification

The ISO 16128-1:2016 definitions consider ingredients made from GMOs and petrochemical origin acceptable for natural and organic cosmetics.  Not only are such ingredients prohibited by the NATRUE Standard but they are also not in-line with consumer expectations. The definitions provided by ISO 16128-1:2016 leave the consumer unable to know without doubt from a product’s INCI list, which ingredients are, or are not, from natural origin.

NATRUE believes that the consumer has the fundamental right to know, and so be able to make a conscious and informed purchase decision based upon transparent information.

The definitions and processes used to make ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ ingredients should be clear, consistent and verifiable”, commented Dr Mark Smith, Regulatory and Scientific Manager at NATRUE, “the NATRUE Standard has established coherent definitions for permitted ingredients that help consumers to confidently identify natural and organic cosmetics products at a glance. The natural and organic cosmetics sector does not need weak definitions for its ingredients, as those provided in ISO 16128-1:2016” concluded Dr Smith.

NATRUE is a liaison representative within Working Group 4 of ISO TC/217; contributing and participating in the development process by providing technical comment but without the right to vote.  Further details about NATRUE’s positon on ISO 16128 can be found via our news and factsheet, and for any additional information interested parties are invited to take contact with Dr. Mark Smith


“Keeping GMOs out of organics”...

POSTED: 06.07.2015 IN: Science & Certification

NATRUE is committed to ensuring the availability of premium Natural & Organic Ingredients and to establish a level regulatory playing field for the international Natural & Organic Cosmetics sector to the benefit of consumers worldwide. A perfect illustration of this point is NATRUE’s participation in the IFOAM-EU initiative.

The “Keeping GMOs out of Organics” Roundtable gathers stakeholders, scientists, NGO representatives and EU regions working on GMO-free food production and trade, and on the prevention of GMO contamination. Further information on the Keeping GMOs out of Organics initiative can be found here.

”Raw materials from agriculture are the basis for many NATRUE compliant ingredients, and GMOs are prohibited under the NATRUE criteria.  Therefore, NATRUE’s participation in this IFOAM initiative is essential to help secure the quality of our ingredients” stated Dr. Smith, Regulatory and Scientific Manager at NATRUE.

Without a doubt, GMOs are a key concern of Natural and Organic Cosmetics consumers. Nine out of ten women interviewed stated that Natural and Organic Cosmetics should not contain GMOs. This is one of the results of the NATRUE commissioned research study ‘Exploring the Territory of Natural & Organic Cosmetics’ carried out by GfK to discover more about consumer expectations. The summary of the survey is publically available here.

NATRUE welcomes Biotechnicon, ...

POSTED: 06.03.2014 IN: Science & Certification

"We are very happy about the possibility of accompanying Croatian and more generally companies in the Balkan region through the NATRUE Certification process" explains Ms Ana Marusic Lisac, Managing Director of Biotechnicon "Companies can certify locally with us and benefit from a trustworthy label for natural and organic cosmetics recognized by consumers at international level".

"NATRUE is always looking for new partnership with certification bodies worldwide" affirms Ms Francesca Morgante, NATRUE Label Manager. "To date NATRUE can count on 23 NATRUE Approved Certifiers from 12 different countries and we continue to receive new requests. With the NATRUE Label growing at an average of 75 new products p/month it is not surprising that Certification Bodies are interested in certifying according to our scheme" continues Ms Morgante.

"Moreover since October 2013 the NATRUE Accreditation Program is fully operational and this will reinforce the trust in our certification system".

NATRUE is partnering with IOAS with regards to the Accreditation for Certification Bodies. The program combines the deep understanding of the natural and organic cosmetic sector together with the most widely recognized procedures for product certification, leading to an unprecedented combination of knowledge and integrity in the interest of companies and consumers. The current NATRUE Approved Certifiers are requested to switch to the new accreditation system according to a publically available timeframe. First Accreditation are expected to come at the beginning of 2015.



At NATRUE, processes are at the heart of the definition of Natural and Organic Cosmetics

Naturalness is not just about ...

POSTED: 02.09.2011 IN: Science & Certification

When people ask me what a Natural Cosmetic is, I often make the comparison with organic apples. You can pluck an apple from the tree and eat it on the spot, nothing added, nothing taken away.

Cosmetics are different. You cannot pluck flowers and just put them in a bottle: Natural Cosmetics are products who’s ingredients are treated in some way.

So the question arises: how may they be treated?

Part of the answer is easy: mechanical processes like mixing and pressing are allowed. Very similar to pressing an olive oil, mechanical processes leave valuable ingredients largely intact. They are not chemically transformed. 

But there are products for which some ingredients need to be chemically transformed: soaps are a typical example and so are creams and shampoos. And this is where the definition of Natural Cosmetics becomes really important. It is where we define the boundaries.

These boundaries must be strict and that is why we allow only very few processes to chemically transform natural ingredients (they are listed in our official criteria). It is important that these rules are not random: all raw materials may be treated with these processes only, without exception.

Applying uniform rules allows us to achieve what makes the NATRUE standard unique: we limit the overall amount of chemically transformed ingredients in the final product, thereby making sure that products remain as natural as they can be. 

To take an example: a skin care emulsion (W/O) can contain no more than 15% of chemically transformed ingredients. This is necessary for the cream to perform its function but we don't allow more. No matter how many ingredients a manufacturer may wish to chemically transform, their quantity can never exceed 15 % of the overall ingredients.

Predictability for manufacturers
The fact that we make no exceptions also means that the permitted processes can be used on all natural raw materials.

Let's take saponification (the process of making soap) as an example. You can use it to make soap out of coconut oil and you can use it to make soap out of other natural ingredients of your choice – be it olive oil, fatty acids or something else.

It is up to the manufacturer to choose the appropriate ingredients,  presuming of course that the product meets all criteria for naturalness and product safety. 

This gives producers predictability. Say a company wanted to make soap with a plant that has never been used for soaps before: the product will be certified even if the ingredient is not yet mentioned in our list of chemically transformed ingredients (we call these ingredients Derived Natural Ingredients).

This list (in Annex 3 of the full criteria) is therefore not a Positive List but an indicative list - a helpful overview of ingredients that may typically be used.

To summarise all the above in a nutshell: our strict definition of the NATRUE standard along transparent processes makes life easier for manufacturers while also ensuring that every product is as natural as it can be.

Read more about the NATRUE guarantee here
This article by Rita Stiens explains what can happen without such guarantee.

Quantities matter: certified natural and organic cosmetic products must be as natural as they can be.

The NATRUE guarantee or why|qu...

POSTED: 26.05.2011 IN: Science & Certification

What do you expect from your Natural and Organic Cosmetics product?

If you are like most people, you want it without synthetic ingredients like fragrances, colors and preservatives. And you certainly don’t want it to have petroleum derived products or silicone oils.

These are important pillars. But did you know that they are not enough to make a product as natural as possible?

This is why:

Some products cannot be made without chemically transforming some natural ingredients.

A shampoo is a good example. It cannot clean without surfactants. And there is no ‘natural’ way of making them: you need to chemically modify a natural ingredient to obtain a surfactant.

This has an important consequence: if you cannot exclude such substances, you must limit their use to a strict minimum.

Under the NATRUE-Label we call such ingredients ‘Derived Natural Substances’. We chose this name to indicate that they can never be entirely synthetic: they must be derived from a natural substance.

We only allow them when natural ingredients (by themselves) cannot achieve the required function - like the surfactants in our shampoo example. We also have strict rules on how they can be derived: only some specified chemical reactions are allowed.

But it takes more

Quantities matter: just because you have to include a Derived Natural Substance doesn’t mean a product should be full of it.

That is why it is not enough to define how natural ingredients may be modified, you must also define how many of these modified ingredients may be used.

We solved this by our double-guarantee: every product must contain more than a defined percentage of natural ingredients, and may only contain a limited percentage of Derived Natural Substances.

These strict thresholds are higher or lower depending on the type of product.

To take just one example, a shampoo needs more Derived Natural Substances than a body cream and that is why they have different rules.

This is how we achieve the NATRUE guarantee: every product is as natural as it can be.

I also recommend you to read this article by Rita Stiens. It shows what can happen without such a guarantee.

Natural cosmetics should be natural, not chemically transformed.

Let natural be natural, not ch...

POSTED: 24.03.2011 IN: Science & Certification

Let me explain.     

Natural and Organic Cosmetics should guarantee the highest possible levels of naturalness. Plant oils are a good example here because they are such important ingredients in creams.

These oils are full of active components. It's why nutritionists recommend them in our foods and it's why they are so good for our skin.  

But these valuable natural oils are often replaced by ester oils – oils that are made in a laboratory.

How? By decomposing natural oils and combining the fatty acids with glycerin or other alcohols. The result has little in common with a natural oil. The protective and regenerating benefits are largely lost.

You can find these ester oils in many certified products because their use is not restricted under some labels.

How does this look on the ingredient list? Let’s take the example of a cream base that is made with three oils as major ingredients.
When the use of ester oils is not restricted, you could find the following three ingredients among the first on the list:

Dicaprylyl Ether, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride and Octyldodecanol.

These are three ester oils.

Where the use of ester oils is restricted you could find the following three natural and highly beneficial oils instead:

Broccoli Seed Oil (Brassica oleracea italica), Olive Soja Oil (Olea europea) and Jojoba-oil (Simmondsia Chinensis).  

According to my understanding of natural cosmetics, the first product should not obtain natural or organic certification.

Congratulations to NATRUE for leading back to the right path: pure natural oils should be used where possible. It's what consumers expect.

Do you understand the ingredie...

POSTED: 26.01.2011 IN: Science & Certification, Beauty and ingredient tips, Sector News

Pick up a cosmetic product.

Do you see an ingredient list?

How does it look?

What you see depends on where you buy. Regulations differ around the world.

In Europe and the US, among others, manufacturers have to use the International Nomenclature for Cosmetics Ingredients. You are most likely to come across the abbreviation: the INCI-list.

Why there is no petroleum in|N...

POSTED: 14.12.2010 IN: Beauty and ingredient tips, Science & Certification


Mineral oil is not derived from a living source. The material has been dead for tens of thousands of years. It cannot nourish the skin like extracts from a freshly harvested plant. Mineral oil also has a composition totally different from our skin’s natural composition. It leaves our skin greasy and suffocated.

NATRUE and QAI with mutual rec...

POSTED: 15.03.2010 IN: Science & Certification

The mutual agreement means that companies do not have to undergo a full certification process with two different bodies if they wish to certify under both labels. “We need to make life easier for manufacturers of Natural and Organic Cosmetics. With this agreement, we are reducing the administrative burden as well as overall certification costs. This is especially important for our sector with mainly small and medium sized companies,” said Julie Tyrell, NATRUE General-Secretary.


NATRUE has three certification types:


This is the first equivalency agreement that NATRUE has concludedfor a US standard. NSF/ANSI 305equals the second certification level: Natural Cosmetics with organic ingredients.  Earlier this week, NATRUE announced that it will also worktowards an equivalency agreement with the Natural Products Association (NPA). This would benefits producers with products that are certified with NATRUE as Natural Cosmetics.

About QAI

QAI (Quality Assurance International), an organic industry pioneer founded in 1989 and headquartered in San Diego, Calif., is the leading provider of organic certification services worldwide. Accredited by multiple organizations, QAI verifies organic integrity at each link of the supply chain. The company has operations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the EU. QAI remains dedicated to fostering sustainable agriculture and a healthier planet while providing educational outreach to the organic community and consumers. For more information, visit

NPA and NaTrue work toward Equ...

POSTED: 12.03.2010 IN: Science & Certification

The Natural Products Association (NPA), the leading U.S. trade organization for manufacturers, retailers and distributors of natural products, and NATRUE will work toward establishing a mutual recognition agreement. Like NATRUE, NPA has created a high level standard for natural personal care. Once in place, the agreement would mean products complying with either the NPA or NATRUE standard would be recognized as compliant with the standard of the other body.

"On a practical level, products that meet the NPA standard will not need to repeat the full certification process for the NATRUE label, and vice versa," said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., NPA's vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. "Our goal has always been to protect the integrity of the word 'natural' when it comes to personal care. This agreement with NATRUE will help consumers at the point of sale in identifying a wider array of truly natural cosmetics."

"Both associations are based on similar values and this is reflected in the fact that both standards have strict criteria that leave no room for black holes," highlights Julie Tyrrell, NATRUE general secretary. "It is only logical that comparable standards cooperate instead of competing against each other. With the mutual recognition we offer label users easy access to the most important markets worldwide. This is what consumers expect."

The NPA standard was launched in May 2008 and over 340 products and ingredients have been certified to date. The NATRUE standard was launched in September 2008 with over 460 products certified. Several hundred other products are in the process of being certified by both trade associations.

We hope to have the formal agreement in effect by summer 2010.

About NPA

The Natural Products Association is the largest and oldest non-profit organization in the US dedicated to the natural products industry, representing more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids.

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