Simple ISO standard 16128 for organic and natural cosmetics indices free

Why the ISO 16128 makes sense for natural cosmetics

After the first guideline for certified natural cosmetics was developed in 1997 and aroused great interest, it was not long before further signs for certified natural cosmetics appeared on the market. At the same time, the signs themselves have become more and more complex due to the introduction of different categories. The consumer faces today an impenetrable tangle of different signs that he can not distinguish. For this reason trade and consumer protection alike demand since the first days an agreement on one globally recognized natural cosmetics standard.
In this context, the definition of a natural cosmetics standard as ISO with easily understandable indices for the natural content has some advantages. Thus, ISO standards are generally known to both retailers and consumers. Particularly in the area of ​​purchasing, the reduction to a single ISO standard for natural and organic cosmetics with indices for natural content is of further importance because retailers only have to know the meaning of the indices, instead of using innumerable guidelines that define quality in different ways.
For the consumer, there are advantages, such as a cheaper price, because the natural cosmetics companies save the license fees and no longer have to raise the product prices. The elimination of license fees also makes it possible for small companies, such as start-ups, to offer proven natural cosmetics, even if these companies can not afford a budget for license costs. The saved license fees can be invested by the manufacturers in better raw material quality and thus further increase the product quality.
For the consumer, the search for the right cosmetics for him simplifies, because this advertises with easy-to-calculate numbers as a measure of the naturalness.
Meanwhile, both parts of ISO 16128 have been published and some raw material companies are already calculating the indices, for various raw material providers this is already a mandatory service. There are already products that advertise in the market with the calculated natural content, but without direct reference to ISO 16128.
Critics at the ISO 16128 seem to publish mostly their thoughts about dubious abuse potentials of the ISO 16128 and thereby always place natural cosmetics with bad quality into the foreground.

These are the criticisms:

  • The ISO is just a definition and is not certifiable as a standard.
    • That’s right, but what is not mentioned is that the calculation method for the indices is certifiable
  • The certification according to ISO is incomprehensible.
    • Companies can publish the calculation basis on their company website
  • There are no content limits or categories anymore
    • On the contrary, this is actually an advantage because it dispenses with complicated categories and instead gives simple numbers for the natural content
  • The ISO does not correspond to the consumer understanding of natural cosmetics
    • In Europe, the consumer is facing a jungle of signs, but globally this is not true. The global consumer understanding refers to the ISO
  • It lacks a positive list
    • Positive lists are of no importance to the consumer and professionals can derive the suitability of a substance for natural cosmetics from the norm

ICADA advises the natural cosmetics companies in this topic and thus allows a simple recipe development with a high degree of naturalness and without uncertainty whether a raw material is suitable or not by using the ISO 16128.


The ISO 16128 offers advantages for


  • easy to understand for consumers
  • clear, easy to understand contents
  • easy recognition of high quality natural authenticity


  • focuses on the core: the natural and organic product content
  • gives easy-to-understand numbers for advertising and packaging imprint
  • has no complicated category divisions that consumers do not understand
  • but clear numbers for natural or organic shares and allowed derivatives


  • no entry costs
  • does not require manufacturers to pay certification fees, licence fees or association membership
  • can be used quickly
  • Calculation can be done in-house rather than through certifiers
  • previously usual certifications are not absolutely necessary
  • strict control through competition: competition legislation and Article 20 of the CPR
  • additional controls through official supervision
    (did not take place with usual natural cosmetic labels so far)
  • End of market entry hurdles
  • again more offers of authentic natural cosmetics in the trade
    no trade restriction by entry costs, just because one offer snatural cosmetics
  • more quality
  • investment in product quality and not in label licensing costs and certification effort
  • individual brands, product concepts, plants and effects come back to the fore
  • end of the label image freeloaders as “natural cosmetics companies”
  • new market opportunities for medium and small businesses

The molecular content of natural resources must be at least 50%. This gives high-quality natural cosmetics the advertising opportunity to distinguish themselves by much higher proportions of nature up to 100% and set off from ISO running board riders.

Voiced criticism

  1. no regulations on the minimum content of natural or organic substances to highlight natural or organic cosmetics
  2. there are no requirements for product labeling or advertising claims
  3. safety aspects for humans and the environment are not treated
  4. there are no socio-economic criteria
  5. ethical aspects are not treated
    • genetically modified plants
    • raw materials of dead animals
    • animal experiments
  6. environmental and waste management are not dealt with
  7. there is no binding list of permitted and / or prohibited processes / substances
  8. ISO 16128 must be bought at a high price
  9. no harmonized standard
ICADA comments on the criticism:
(1) High quality does not require an indication of a minimum quantity, but is characterized by the highest possible proportion
(2), (3) These points are regulated in the KVO
(4) – (6) The aim of a natural and organic cosmetics definition is to define natural and organic cosmetics
(7) Support lists of permitted processes and substances are only for laymen without natural product knowledge
(8) The ISO 16128 does not have to be purchased, the calculation basis is open to the public. There are no annual fees for using ISO 16128
(9) Not yet

Would you like further information or have your natural cosmetics calculated to ISO 16128? Then contact us.