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Research conducted by Organic Monitor suggests that natural and organic cosmetic brands are not living up to their marketing claims, that some fair trade organizations are not using strict requirements and that content of natural ingredients varies by geographical region. The company assessed more than 50 international brands of natural cosmetic products and ranked them in terms of their naturalness.
To assess the naturalness of the products, a chemist examined the ingredient composition of cosmetic products and classified formulations according to their "level of naturalness." Certified organic cosmetics received the highest rating (9–10), pure natural cosmetics were rated 5–7, naturally inspired cosmetics were rated 2 and conventional cosmetics were rated 1.
Brands that received high naturalness scores include Intelligent Nutrients (9), Green People (8), and Living Nature (7). Intelligent Nutrients products got high naturalness ratings as they contain high levels of organic (food) ingredients, with reportedly almost all products certified organic. New brands launched by large multinationals also scored high in terms of their natural and organic formulations including: Garnier Bio Active (L’Oréal), 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.
After assessing the natural products, the company reported that the formulations of most natural brands are not meeting their marketing claims. Many companies claiming to have "chemically clean" cosmetics reportedly formulated with contentious synthetic ingredients. Many such brands are classified as semi-natural or naturally inspired, even though they claim to be "100% natural."
The company also gave some organic cosmetic brands low "naturalness" ratings because although their products contain certified organic ingredients, the formulations still had synthetic ingredients not common to natural and organic products.