Yes, organic skincare certification for personal care items can be confusing. The process is similar to that of the organic food industry, but there's a big difference - organic skincare isn't government regulated nor is there global harmonization. But knowledge is power people! An understanding of the different types certifications and rules makes your choice as a consumer easier.
How does certification work?
Each certifying body creates a set of guidelines that a product and manufacturer must meet in order to be certified natural and/or organic.
These rules will define requirements such as:
The minimum percentage of organic content required within a product
The percentage of synthetic ingredients acceptable under certification
Ingredients that are excluded from use in products
The manufacturing processes which can be used in the creation of ingredients and the end product
Whether water can or can't be included in the calculation for the organic percentage of the product
Part of the requirements also include the regular auditing by a third-party organic certifier of both the manufacturers ingredients and processes to ensure it's compliant with all the rules of the certification standard.
There are a few general guidelines which apply to most certifications such as:
No animal testing
No ingredients derived from an animal unless produced without harm to the animal eg honey and beeswax
Avoidance of GM ingredients
Consideration for how the ingredients are grown and harvested
Environmentally friendly packaging requirements