Natural Vs Organic Standards: Are Certifications Important for Your Brand to Succeed?

Over the last two decades, there has been significant growth in the natural and organic certified cosmetic markets. Today, the market has grown into a 12-billion dollar industry. If you are a start-up cosmetics brand that plans on delving into the world of natural or organic products, you should understand the importance of getting your products certified, and how these certifications could resonate with your customers. 

At pH Factor, we live by the “evoke eco-conscious change” ethos, and though natural and organic are certainly leading the path forward, it’s important to note that synthetic ingredients also have their place in the world of eco-conscious beauty and care products. 

Certified products are of value to a particular type of customer profile–the wellbeing and environmentally conscious. Although there is a large market for certifications, it is not a motivating purchase factor for every customer. An important business decision you will need to make is whether the outlay of certifications should be a part of your business strategy.

Let’s dive into the different certification standards and why you could consider them an important asset to your brand.  


Standards and Certifications

As there is currently no legal regulation of the cosmetics industry, how can a customer be sure a “natural” or “organic” labelled product is authentic? 

The only way your customers can trust that your product is genuinely “organic” or “natural” is if it is certified. Organic and natural certification happens after auditing an operation’s methods to keep the process compliant with production guidelines. Across the world there are many certifiers in the marketplace, but the main ones are:


COSMOS: An international standard for organic and natural cosmetics, but as it is a relatively new standard, it is not in wide use at the moment. If you are going to stock your products online to customers worldwide we would recommend this standard. 


COSMOS Organic: A product should contain a minimum of 95% organic materials of plant or animal origin. Water, minerals, and salts don’t qualify as organic in this case.


COSMOS Natural: The product does not have to be 100% natural, but the percentage of “natural” ingredients should be on the list, including salts, water, and minerals.


Australian Certified Organic: This certification comes with two categories for organic cosmetics, namely certified organic and made with certified organic components

  • Certified Organic: To be certified organic, a product must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic ingredients (excluding salt and water) and up to 5% of other approved ingredients. 
  • Made with Certified Organic Ingredients: A product contains 70-95% certified organic ingredients (excluding salt and water). The remaining parts are from approved non-organic sources.


Natrue: This is a global certifier for natural and organic cosmetics and skincare products with a local certifier in Australia. The certification only allows natural ingredients, water, and ingredients derived from natural sources. There are three levels of certification: 

  1. Natural.
  2. Natural with organic ingredients (70% or more).
  3. Organic (95% or more organic ingredients).


NSF: This certification contains “organic” ingredients and is a standard for natural care products. However, a product must be at least 70% organic by weight.


The Importance of Natural & Organic Certifications

A recent Deloitte Marketing Trend Report published that a third of consumers aged 25 and younger see sustainability as a top criterion for beauty and personal care product purchases. 

There are an array of retail products that are marketed as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. However, if you look closely at the ingredients breakdown, you will notice that many fail to meet certification  standards more often than not.

At pH factor we help you gain certification from the organic and natural regulating bodies  mentioned above, so that you can provide your clients with transparency and clarity. 

The standards help cut through “green-washing” so that your customers have an easier choice when buying organic. They also help protect the planet as they need to meet a selection of the following conditions in order to obtain certification (specifics depend on the individual certification bodies standards):

Organic Product Conditions

  • No routine use of antibiotics.
  • No use of manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilizers.
  • No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
  • Limited pesticides allowed.
  • Sustainable land management.
  • No synthetic preservatives, colours, or chemicals.
  • No parabens or sulfates.
  • No animal testing. 
  • No nanoparticles.


Natural Product Conditions

  • Ingredients must be sourced from plants, flowers and mineral origins found in nature. 
  • No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
  • No parabens, sulphates or other harmful substances. 
  • Limited or no petrochemical ingredients.
  • No animal testing. 


The fact that sustainable, organic, and biodegradable ingredients can be found in natural and organic cosmetics helps reassure consumers about the authenticity, origin and quality of your products.

Navigating Organic or Natural Positioning and Labels

If you are targeting the eco-conscious customer, it is wise to opt for a genuine organic or natural product accreditation so that you can proudly display the certification badges and present with a strong sense of brand credibility. It could be considered a critical sustainability criterion for any socially and environmentally conscious brand. 

Whether you’re a business start-up taking the next step or a large retailer developing a new cosmetics range, you can get much needed certification information and hands-on help from the experienced team at pH Factor, where We Create The Different.