Cosmetics Certification

Choosing organic cosmetics is not always easy if you don’t know what you are looking for. There are a number of organic certifiers world-wide and each one certifies cosmetic products to a different set of standards.

Consumers choosing products that are certified by ACO Certification Ltd have every assurance that the cosmetics products have been thoroughly assessed in order to guarantee that are compliant with the standard requirements.

ACO certifies organic cosmetics under the Australian National Standard, National Organic Program (USDA), and COSMOS standards. While the standards are recognised as some of the most stringent organic standards for cosmetics internationally, each has different characteristics and requirements, so it is important for manufacturers and cosmetics companies to choose the standard that better suits to their products and markets where the products will be sold.

For Processors the Organic Handling Plan (OHP) or own Quality Plan shall outline the products processed/handled; all ingredients to be sourced with plans outlined to ensure valid certification status, GMO/Nano/Fumigation/irradiation-free status; outline of record keeping system; outline of monitoring practices and procedures to ensure that the plan is effectively implemented (including regular reviews of non organic ingredients and the non GMO status of ingredients); other management practices and personnel responsible to ensure there will be no co-mingling with non certified product and that organic integrity is maintained. See Section 6 Processing/Preparation of the ACO Standard.

Processors may include Contract Processors (CP) whereby processing is conducted by a contracted party for a certified operator. Processors may also include pack-houses where primary product is (re)packed for retail sale.

Processing or handling of certified raw materials and products must occur on certified promises. Only products declared and approved as certified with certifier can be marketed as certified organic.

Some basic rules when certifying a processed product:

  • Obtain valid organic certificates for all certified ingredients
  • Non certified ingredients are generally permitted when certified ingredients are not available on the market.
  • Non certified ingredients cannot: be of GMO origin or manufactured using GMO technology, be fumigated or treated with compounds prohibited by organic standard, cannot exceed 10% of other contamination MRL as defined by FSANZ, cannot be irradiated.
  • Onus is on operator to obtain and supply ACO with proof non GMO, Irradiation and treatment statements for non organic ingredients.
  • The amount of non organic ingredient(s) will affect the type of organic claim :
  • 100% certified organic content, label can state “100% organic” + bud logo
  • 95%-100% certified organic content, label can state “certified organic” + bud logo
  • 70%-95% certified organic content, label can state “made with certified organic ingredients”, cannot use bud logo but must indicate certification number (i.e. ‘ACO 99999P’) (*exception for cosmetics)
  • <70 % certified organic content cannot makeany certification claims, can only list ingredients as ‘organic’, cannot include certification number or bud logo

Use of ‘Bud’ logo

  • Product label must be submitted with ‘bud’ logo for assessment
  • Logo cannot be manipulated with the exception of colour and size
  • Size and quality of logo must be sufficient so that registration number is legible.
  • Logo cannot be used on any product or marketing medium which has not been approved by ACO
  • Cosmetic ‘Beauty’ logo cannot be used on the front of product, % must be rounded down

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find certified organic contract processors (OEM/ODM) that can assist to get my brand organic certified?

A list of certified cosmetic contract processors can be checked here

Do I need to become certified as a Brand Owner?

Under ACO certification brand owners do not need to become certified as long as they use an ACO certified contract processor and use that contract processor certification number and logo on the product labels. Under COSMOS certification Brand Owners need to become certified and audited annually.

Where can I find COSMOS approved ingredients to use on my formulas?

Raw materials certified organic under international standards such as EU, NOP, JAS, Australian standard, etc will be recognized as organic ingredients under COSMOS certification. You can find ACO certified organic ingredients here. Non-organic physically processed or chemically processed agro-ingredients have to be assessed through the following questionnaire. A list of already COSMOS approved non-organic ingredients can be found here.

Are organic ingredients certified under private standards recognised as organic?

No. Only national standards listed on the IFOAM Family of Standards are recognised. Ingredients have to be certified by an IFOAM accredited or internationally recognised (according to ISO/IEC Guide 17065) certifier.

My cosmetics products are ACO and/or NOP certified. If I apply to Cosmos, could I use both COSMOS and ACO/NOP logos?

Your products will be reviewed under COSMOS standard and once approved you will be able to use the ACO COSMOS Organic logo together with your ACO/NOP Certified Organic logo. The beauty logo (Made with Organic Ingredients) can’t be used together with COSMOS logos.

I would like to apply for COSMOS but I am not ACO certified. Do I need to apply for both certifications?

No. It is possible to apply only for COSMOS certification. Please contact us to receive our fee schedule.

I would like to apply for COSMOS but I just had my ACO audit. Do I have to be audited again?

Yes. COSMOS certification is a different certification scheme with different requirements not verified during ACO audits. However, companies that have been certified by ACO or by any other COSMOS accredited certification body in the last 6 months will have a 50% discount on the initial application fee.

My products are certified under the ACO standard as “Made with Organic Ingredients” (beauty logo). Would they be compliant under COSMOS certification?

Your products will be reviewed under COSMOS standard to determine if are compliant with COSMOS Organic or COSMOS Natural certification. Please note that if you decide to keep both ACO and COSMOS certification, you won’t be able to use the ACO beauty logo together with your COSMOS logos.

My “Made with Organic Ingredients” product has been accepted under COSMOS as COSMOS Natural. Is it possible to keep the ACO Beauty logo (Made with Organic Ingredients)?

No. The ACO beauty logo can’t be used together with your COSMOS logos.

I am certified COSMOS with a different certification body. Would ACO recognise my approved formulas?

Yes. Products certified by an accredited COSMOS certifier will be accepted by ACO as COSMOS equivalent. Contact ACO office to know how to switch to ACO COSMOS certification with the best conditions.

Natural ingredients registered under the BFA Natural Ingredients for Cosmetics scheme, would be recognised as COSMOS equivalent ingredients?

No. Those BFA registered ingredients have to be re-evaluated under COSMOS standard. Raw materials suppliers and manufacturers can register those BFA ingredients under COSMOS standard at a discounted price. COSMOS registered ingredients will appear on both ACO and COSMOS database websites.

Are natural ingredients certified under the Ecocert Natural and Organic Cosmetics standard recognised by COSMOS?

No. Both Ecocert and COSMOS standards are different standards with different rules. However, most of the raw materials manufacturers hold both Ecocert and COSMOS certification.