There are a lot of definitions of natural and organic between existing standards and private certifications.
What do you need to know to understand them?

Sozio’s regulatory team is here to clear the air!



Natural and organic beauty products seem to be the best answer for concerned customers. There are a lot of certifications (labels) on the market identifying natural and organic products, but they are not offering the same guaranties. It is confusing for the consumer to understand their meaning and differences. These labels include NaTrue, BDIH, USDA ORGANIC, COSMOS, and Nature & Progrès. COSMOS and Nature & Progrès claim a minimum of 95% of ingredients of natural origin in the finished product (water doesn’t count). ECOCERT certified organic personal care products have to contain at least 20% of ingredients from organic farming to obtain a label. The synthetic ingredients that are allowed to be included changes depending on the certification but is limited to 5% in the finished product.

SOZIO is deeply committed with ECOCERT through its French subsidiary in the development of compliant fragrances to COSMOS NATURAL and COSMOS ORGANIC, and through its American subsidiary with NOP USDA.

Below is a quick recap of the key points for each of these certifications:


95% minimum of ingredients of natural origin
5% maximum of synthetic ingredients (allowed by a specific list)





95% minimum of ingredients of natural origin
95% minimum of physically processed agro-Ingredients have to be from organic farming
20% minimum of natural ingredients from organic farming (except for rinse-off products, lotions or powder makeup for which the percentage is reduced to 10%)
5% maximum of synthetic ingredients (allowed by the specific list)


100% of ingredients from organic farming


95% of ingredients from organic farming + other ingredients from a specific list defined by USDA


95% of ingredients from organic farming + other ingredients from a specific list defined by USDA

A new standard has been created within the fragrance industry to provide an international harmonized definition for natural and organic personal care products: ISO 16128.


WHAT IS ISO 16128 ?

This standard has been created according to the ISO rules enforcing stakeholders to create a consensus and answer to brands and consumers’ expectations. The goal of this standard is to give definitions and common calculations to determine the minimum level of natural and organic ingredients required in a finished personal care product calling out natural or organic.

Published in 2016, the first part of the standard (ISO 16128-1) distinguishes four ingredient types: natural, natural derived, organic and organic derived.
The second part of the standard was launched in 2017 and allows stakeholders to calculate the indicators for each category of natural or organic ingredients, or the natural and organic elements in a finished product. The standard ISO 16128 is the reference for all personal care products claiming natural or organic elements if they are not certified by a private label already.



Resulting from a compromise, the standard has been criticized by private labels that have expressed their disagreement on several points such as certain definitions, absence of validation by certification bodies, or permission of use of certain ingredients that are not allowed by most of the private labels.

Valérie Lemaire, Director of Ecocert Greenlife group said: « It is a calculation standard and to do those calculations, definitions were needed but, we disagree on those definitions”.
The Regulatory Affairs Director at FEBEA, Anne Dux, explains the disagreement with some of the private labels: « ISO 16128 standard is an international consensus, that is not possible to be limited to the opinion of different European private labels ».

Globally, the understanding of natural is really different from one country to another. So, for some of them, the availability of an approved reference document is welcomed.
In fact, according to the stakeholders who created the standard, ISO 16128 is offering a global reference document without substitute to private label guidelines. ISO 16128 doesn’t relate to product claims and it is not a label.

In addition, even if the standard ISO 16128 is particularly used in Europe, the European market is influencing the rest of the world in terms of regulation. We are expecting worldwide, a growing interest for the personal care product manufacturers and brands in a near future.



Sozio, a pioneer and leader on natural and organic perfumery, is fully able to meet our customers’ needs whether for private labels or ISO 16128.

We are at your disposal to help guide you further in your natural and organic fragrance developments based on ISO 16128, COSMOS or NOP USDA.

If you have any questions or are looking for more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email: or through your designated Sales Representative.