Label-series: #1 Natrue

NATRUE is an international non-profit association based in Brussels, aiming to make the difference between green-washing and truly natural and organic cosmetics visible for consumers by establishing strict criteria for manufacturers. Brands and their labelled products have to re-certify every 2 years and even the certification grants need certification every 4 years.

  • consumer protection
  • not necessarily vegan
  • 75% of the products of one product range have to be certified, otherwise the brand isn’t allowed to use the label
  • requirements differ within product categories
  • nanomaterials are permitted but have to be labelled in the INCI
  • detergent surfactants substances used must be completely biodegradable

They take part in and contribute to EU decision making in terms of natural and organic ingredients.

They also do research in collaboration with many of their companies and institutions regarding development of bio-surfactants and they participate in the initiative “keeping GMOs out of organics”, to name two of their actions.

“Requirements to be met by packaging and packaging materials 1. As far as possible packaging must be kept to a minimum. 2. If at all possible, products should be designed for multiple uses (except for sample packs). 3. If at all technically feasible and available, recyclable packaging materials, if possible made of renewable raw materials, are to be used. 4. Halogenated plastics may not be used as packaging materials. 5. Pressurised gas packs only with Air, Nitrogen, Oxygen and/or Carbon dioxide (…) can be certified as natural or organic cosmetics”


  • natural cosmetics: the basis of certification – all products showing the NATRUE label have to fulfill these criteria. There is a lower limit for natural ingredients and an upper limit for near-natural ingredients.
  • natural cosmetics with organic content: all criteria from above have to be fulfilled and at least 70% of all natural ingredients (plant or animal origin) in the product have to be organic or from organic wild-harvesting. The upper and lower limits are even higher/lower in this level of certification.
  • organic cosmetics: all criteria mentioned before have to be fulfilled and at least 95% of all natural ingredients have to be organic or from organic wild-harvesting. Limits for natural and near-natural ingredients are the strictest here.

“In natural cosmetics, natural fragrances (for example essential oils) (…) may be used. This includes isolates of essential oils and essential oils reconstructed from them. Synthetic nature-identical fragrances may not be used in naturalcosmetics”

Shown below is an example of how the percentages of organic and natural ingredients are calculated:

Example: Extraction of calendula (organic) with vegetable oil (natural and organic, where applicable):

P = 20 kg dried plant material (organic)

E = 80 kg vegetable oil (organic, where applicable)

F = 70 kg extract after filtration

Extract: 100% natural, thereof X = 20/(20 + 80)*100 = 20% organic

If organic vegetable oil is used, the extract has to be counted as 100% natural and organic.

source: Annex 5

As cruelty-free products are prefered by many consumers:

“NATRUE members do not and never have as a matter of principle conducted animal testing on ingredients or finished products unless required to do so by law.”

You can read on in their position paper regarding animal testing here.

Further reading about certain issues and the position of NATRUE available here.

All information obtained here:

I hope this article provided insight into how NATRUE works and what that means for labelled brands and products you buy. But what’s always best: choose your products carefully with open eyes and gain yourself some knowledge regarding the ingredient list, so that no one is able to deceive you 😉


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