Natural, Organic Cosmetic Brands Not Fulfilling Marketing Claims

August 23, 2011

Few natural and organic cosmetic brands meet their marketing claims, according new research performed by Organic Monitor on more than 50 international brands.

Few natural and organic cosmetic brands meet their marketing claims, according new research performed by Organic Monitor on more than 50 international brands.

“Many companies claiming to have ‘chemically-clean’ cosmetics actually are falling foul of having contentious synthetic ingredients,” it states. “Many such brands are classified as semi-natural or naturally inspired, even though they claim to be ‘100% natural.’ Surprisingly, some organic cosmetic brands are given low ‘naturalness’ ratings; although their products contain certified organic ingredients, the formulations still have synthetic ingredients not common to natural and organic products.”

Organic Monitor rated these brands has having the highest “naturalness” scores: Intelligent Nutrients, Green People, and Living Nature. “New brands launched by large multinationals also scored high in terms of their natural & organic formulations: Garnier Bio Active (L’Oreal), Diadermine Bio Expertise (Henkel), and Johnson’s Natural (Johnson & Johnson). The high naturalness ratings of these brands epitomizes how the natural and organic arena has evolved from just having small niche brands,” Organic Monitor states.

The company says that having products certified as natural or organic, from programs such as Ecocert, Soil Association, BDIH, NPA, and NaTrue, can help increase credibility and “level the playing field.”

Notably, Organic Monitor also notes that some fair trade products have come under criticism for only containing a minimum level of fair trade ingredients. “Most fair trade standards do not have an approved and prohibited list of synthetic ingredients,” it states. “Tighter standards are called for; otherwise fair trade seals could add to the existing consumer confusion about natural products. “ 

By region, Organic Monitor said that European brands score highest in terms of meeting claims, followed by the U.S. Asia and Latin America brands, however, do not fare as well.

“Many Asian companies are not accustomed to using the new palette of green ingredients, preferring to use familiar synthetics in their formulations,” stated Judi Beerling, Organic Monitor’s head of technical research. “These products, although may contain certified organic ingredients, would fall short of any recognized natural/organic standards."

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