Defining Natural Cosmetic Formulations


 May 20, 2020

Natural Cosmetic Formulations

One of the biggest challenges brands face when selling and marketing natural cosmetic formulations lies in defining what is truly “natural.” Let’s take a look at current regulations for today’s beauty brands.

Regulation for Natural Cosmetic Formulations

Unfortunately, in today’s beauty market, many companies market their product as “natural” even if their formulations only contain trace amounts of natural ingredients. Companies have gotten away with this because the FDA has not historically regulated the word “natural” as it applies to cosmetic formulations.

A landmark bill, The Natural Cosmetics Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney at the 116th U.S. Congress is aiming to amend the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Under the Act, cosmetics labeled, sold or represented as “natural” must have at least 70 percent natural substances other than water and salt and have no fragrance ingredient other than a natural substance or naturally-derived ingredient, among other standards.

The bill defines “natural” as any chemical substance that is naturally occurring and which is (a) unprocessed, (b) processed only by manual, mechanical, naturally derived solvent or gravitational means, by dissolution in water or steam, by flotation, or by heating solely to remove water; or (c) extracted from air by any means.

A “naturally-derived ingredient” can be:

  • any substance where the starting material is of mineral, plant, microbe, or animal origin but has been chemically processed;
  • any substance where the starting material is of mineral, plant, microbe, or animal origin but has been chemically processed and combined with other ingredients, excluding petroleum and fossil fuel-derived ingredients; or
  • an ingredient that is derived from a plant feedstock and bio-manufactured using processes like fermentation, saponification, condensation, or esterification in order to improve performance or make the ingredient biodegradable or sustainable.

As of December 3, 2019, the bill was co-sponsored by seven other representatives from California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and New York.

The Natural Cosmetics Act also aims to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to issue an order to cease distribution of, or to recall, misbranded cosmetic products. Therefore, cosmetic manufacturers must ensure that their natural cosmetic formulations comply with the law before they are marketed.

If passed, this Act has the potential to drastically alter the way cosmetics products are formulated and marketed in the United States.

What Are Natural Cosmetic Formulations?

Natural cosmetic formulation encompasses all of the ingredients that contribute to the whole product. Think of it as a recipe. Each ingredient plays an important role in the formulation of the overall final product. One change in the recipe can affect the way the ingredients behave together.

Typically, the main components of a cosmetic formulation – or base ingredients – make up close to 80 percent of the product. In natural cosmetic formulations, these ingredients are often botanicals such as shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, etc. The active, or supporting ingredients are added to provide therapeutic actions, such as skin-softening, or aesthetic functions such as texture. Natural active ingredients may include seed oils or fruit oils. Finally, adjustment agents are ingredients in the formulations that help make the product stable such as a preservative.

Read More: Natural Ingredient Alternatives for Personal Care Products >>

Innovating Natural Cosmetic Formulations with Kinetik

As natural cosmetic formulators, we take the term “natural” seriously. At Kinetik, “natural” means that ingredients come straight from nature. We do our homework to provide only the highest quality, raw ingredients when sourcing from trusted global partners.

Kinetik is headquartered in the USA, but we work with clients and represent suppliers worldwide. Contact us at (732) 335-5775 to speak with one of our sales representatives about the raw ingredients to support your natural cosmetic formulations today.