Product categories

Organic cosmetics, natural cosmetics

From niche product to mainstream - natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics are on the rise


Refine your search
Go to search

Natural Cosmetics and Organic Cosmetics

From niche product to mainstream - natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics are on the rise
The range of natural and organic cosmetics has been growing for years, because an increasing number of consumers are looking for an alternative to synthetic ingredients in cosmetics. The awareness of substances in cosmetics that tend to be harmful to health and/or the environment is constantly increasing. This also has an influence on the purchasing behaviour of consumers. Most people associate naturalness with something positive that is good for the body, and thus the market for natural cosmetics is showing a good plus.
From 2007 to 2017, the turnover in natural cosmetics in Germany rose by around 50% from 600 million to just under 1.2 billion euros (source: Statista). This makes the German market one of the most successful sales markets for natural cosmetics in Europe, and it accounts for around 8.8% of the market share of the entire German cosmetics industry. In comparison: Conventional cosmetics have a market share of 83% (13.6 billion euros), near-natural cosmetics 8.2%. With an increase of around 3% over the previous year, natural cosmetics continue to be the leader in growth.


Natural cosmetics include cosmetic products made from plant-based raw materials. The definition of natural cosmetics is not clear, because it is not a protected term. However, there is consensus that natural cosmetics do not contain certain ingredients such as silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances, paraffins and petroleum products.
The relationship between plant-based and synthetic ingredients at which a product may officially be referred to as "natural cosmetics" is not specified. There are therefore now a number of certifications that have addressed this problem. With a seal, they would like to provide consumers with reliable information about the naturalness of a cosmetic product.


The terms organic cosmetics and natural cosmetics are often mistakenly used synonymously. While the majority of ingredients in natural cosmetics are based on plant origin, these raw materials do not necessarily have to come from organic cultivation. Organic cosmetics thus describe the fact that the plant-based ingredients of a product come from controlled organic cultivation. Organic cultivation prevents harmful substances from later finding their way into the end products of agricultural cultivation. Therefore, organic cosmetics are usually also natural cosmetics, but natural cosmetics do not necessarily have to be organic.
Plant-based cosmetics or botanical cosmetics are additional terms that manufacturers like to use on their products to symbolise naturalness. As a rule, these products contain a proportion of plant-based ingredients, but these can also be highly processed, for example as oil or extract. In addition, they often make up only a relatively small part of the total product. The term "plant-based cosmetics" is therefore not synonymous with natural or organic cosmetics.

Vegan cosmetics

Even if natural or organic cosmetics are mostly produced without animal testing, they do not necessarily have to be vegan - animal raw materials such as beeswax or lanolin are often used. Conversely, a product does not have to be of natural origin simply because it is labelled as vegan. Consumers who value both of these attributes should therefore pay attention to the respective labelling of the product.


Much has changed in recent years in both decorative and skin care cosmetics, and there is hardly a product that does not have a natural cosmetic counterpart.

Care-giving natural cosmetics for every skin type

Facial and body care on a natural basis has also been popular in Germany for many years. The reporting of harmful ingredients such as aluminium salts in deodorants or microplastics in creams has led to a continuous increase in the demand for natural alternatives. Manufacturers of natural cosmetics are therefore endeavouring to offer consumers products with natural and environmentally friendly ingredients that are in no way inferior to conventional cosmetics with regard to their care effect. Nature offers a plethora of raw materials that are suitable for the production of skin care cosmetics, so that a wide variety of skin care needs can now be met - whether anti-ageing effects or products for skin prone to impurities. In the area of caring natural cosmetics you will find everything from facial care, body care, bath additives and shower gels, shampoos and styling products right up to natural deodorants.

Decorative natural cosmetics

After the trend towards natural cosmetics emerged from the field of care cosmetics, it has now also reached the decorative cosmetics sector. Consumers' environmental and health awareness is also asserting itself here, leading to more and more new products and innovations in certified, decorative natural cosmetics.
Although the range of decorative natural cosmetics on offer is not yet quite as comprehensive as in the care sector, there is also a clear trend here towards more naturalness. Even drugstores now offer plant-based alternatives to normal eye shadow, make-up and mascara, and by no means do they have to hide behind conventional cosmetics in terms of quality.
The special challenge in the production of decorative cosmetics from natural raw materials lies in achieving a similar texture, durability and colour intensity as with conventional cosmetics - for instance in eye shadows or lipsticks. The products have been significantly improved in these areas in recent years, and today they hardly differ from conventional cosmetic products.
At the same time, the users of the decorative natural cosmetic products often benefit from an additional care effect due to the natural ingredients. Only waterproof mascara cannot yet be produced without synthetic additives and is consequently not offered in the natural cosmetics range.

Natural cosmetics for men

Men's cosmetics and natural cosmetics - two product categories come together here, each of which is already on the upswing. Also in conventional cosmetics, the man and his care needs have been discovered as a promising target group. Increasingly, separate departments for men's cosmetics can be found in drugstores and perfumeries, offering the entire range of care products for men.
Thus, it was only a matter of time before the two categories were combined. After all, men also attach importance to sustainable production and natural ingredients. The range is still not as broad as it is in cosmetics for women, but an upward trend is also clearly discernible here. Particularly in online retailing, numerous small natural cosmetics brands are active offering products explicitly for men. The market for men's natural cosmetics now ranges from facial and body care, to after-shave and deodorant, right up to hair and beard care.

Natural cosmetics do not always have to be expensive

While natural cosmetics were mainly available in health food stores and organic shops just a few years ago, they are now increasingly filling the shelves of conventional drugstores. In the meantime, the largest part of the turnover with natural cosmetics in Germany is realised in drugstores - a great success for the producers of natural and organic cosmetics. With the spreading of the products in drugstores, prices have also adjusted to demand.
High-quality natural cosmetics are often priced higher than conventional cosmetics due to the valuable ingredients. However, customers are willing to pay a little more for naturalness. At the same time, it is also becoming apparent that natural cosmetics are increasingly no longer exclusively in the higher-priced segment. Especially through the introduction of own natural cosmetic brands in the drugstores, products can be manufactured in larger quantities and thus also offered to the end customer at a lower price. Natural cosmetics brands can now be found in all price categories and for every purse.

Online retailing

Although drugstores clearly dominate the natural cosmetics industry with a 42% share of total sales, online retailing is also on the rise and has now achieved a market share of 6%. Direct sales are often cheaper for manufacturers, and consumers appreciate the convenience and wide range of online products. Here, smaller manufacturers and labels also have the opportunity to position themselves on the market through innovative advertising concepts and social media.


There are a multitude of products that provide consumers with terms such as "plant-based", "botanical" or the specification "free from..." to suggest naturalness, but by definition are not natural cosmetics. In this context, the term "greenwashing" is often used for products that are at best to be described as "near-natural". However, how can consumers recognise "genuine" natural cosmetics and how can manufacturers of natural cosmetics ensure that they stand out clearly from the beneficiaries of the trend?
In order to give more substance to the concept of natural cosmetics, there are numerous seals, which are intended to confirm genuine naturalness to the consumer. There are more than a dozen different certifications in Germany, some of which set very different standards for the products to be certified. Partially, manufacturers design their own seals, which should act as an independent certification for the customer. It is thus not always easy for the consumer to interpret the value of a seal. The largest and best-known independent certifications are the BDIH seal, NaTrue and Ecocert.


The Federal Association of Industrial and Commercial Enterprises for Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare Products, Food Supplements and Cosmetic Products e.V. (Bundesverband der Industrie- und Handelsunternehmen für Arzneimittel, Reformwaren, Nahrungsergänzungsmittel und kosmetische Mittel e.V. - BDIH) has introduced a natural cosmetics standard to bring together different national standards in natural and organic cosmetics in a reliable certification procedure. Products with the BDIH test mark may obtain a number of natural raw materials only from controlled organic cultivation or wild collection. In addition, there are substances that may not be used in BDIH-certified products. These include, for example, synthetic dyes and fragrances, silicones and paraffins. In addition, the certification also takes into account resource-saving and environmentally compatible production processes, the biodegradability of the products and the use of recyclable packaging materials.


NaTrue is also an independent certification authority for natural cosmetics. The label distinguishes between the three certification levels "natural cosmetics", "natural cosmetics with organic ingredients" and "organic cosmetics". Products certified with the NaTrue seal are not allowed to contain silicones, mineral oils, parabens or synthetic fragrances and must also have been produced without animal testing. Animal ingredients are acceptable as long as they can be obtained from live animals (e.g. beeswax).
The NaTrue seal does not regard water as a natural ingredient. This prevents that the proportion of natural ingredients is artificially increased by a high water content. The packaging should be recyclable for the NaTrue seal. Depending on the certification level, the limit values and specifications for the use of natural and near-natural ingredients vary.


The Ecocert seal is another well-known certification, although it is less widespread in Germany than the first two. In addition to cosmetic products, the Ecocert seal also certifies organic farming, textiles and the environmental compatibility of cleaning agents and laundry detergents. Together with the BDIH and others, Ecocert founded the COSMOS (Cosmetic Organic Standard) in 2011 and is committed to achieving standardised minimum requirements for natural cosmetic products.
Ecocert certification has two different certification levels. They both have in common that they must not contain parabens, phenoxyethanol, GMOs and synthetic fragrances and colours. The ingredients may not be genetically modified and may only be obtained from live animals. In addition, attention is paid to an environmentally friendly manufacturing process as well as the degradability of the ingredients and packaging.
Finally, a distinction is made between organic cosmetics and natural cosmetics in the two certification stages. Although both variants must have at least 95% natural ingredients, for the "natural cosmetic" seal, however, it is sufficient if 50% of the ingredients are of plant origin and 5% of these come from organic cultivation.
In the case of the "organic cosmetic" seal, however, the requirements are stricter, since 95% of the ingredients must be of plant origin and at least 10% must come from controlled organic cultivation. Ecocert is thus stricter than the NaTrue seal, but NaTrue is more widespread and better known in Germany.


Natural cosmetics are often associated with many positive attributes and, of course, natural cosmetic products are often more environmentally friendly. Not necessarily true, however, is the assumption that natural ingredients are also automatically gentler on the skin.
Natural cosmetics are not per se better or worse tolerable than conventional products, because people with allergies or intolerances can also react negatively to many synthetic substances in conventional cosmetics. But, of course, herbal raw materials also present a similar allergy risk to synthetic ingredients. Marigold, arnica or chamomile are well-established ingredients in creams for face and body, but they also belong to the substances that can relatively often trigger contact allergies. People prone to allergies should therefore pay particular attention to the ingredients when using natural cosmetics and avoid products containing allergenic substances.
Whether a product is well tolerated, generally does not depend on the naturalness of the raw materials used, but rather on the skin type of the user. In case of uncertainty, customers should contact the manufacturer's service number to check the exact ingredients and compatibility with existing allergies.


Every year, experts from the beauty and cosmetics industry meet at BEAUTY DÜSSSELDORF. On three trade fair days, more than 55,000 trade visitors will exchange views on the latest trends, tried and tested and innovative technologies from the industry.
As the leading trade fair for the beauty and cosmetics industry, BEAUTY DÜSSELDORF is particularly suited for presenting new products and innovations to a broad specialist audience.

Other areas of BEAUTY Düsseldorf are:
decorative cosmetics
Body Care
apparative cosmetics
colour and style counselling
medical cosmetics