Companies: Why certify with us?

The ONLA is the only certification body that reassures consumers that your product:

(1) Is 100% Truly Natural and contains zero synthetic chemicals,

(2) Is scientifically proven to be ‘Skin Microbiome Friendly’ – in other words good for the skin.

It will help you build trust with consumers by reassuring them that a product is honestly labelled and also scientifically proven to help the skin. At the ONLA, we have exclusive access to the first ever reliable mechanism for measuring the health of skin using skin microbiome biodiversity.

Why is ‘100% Truly Natural’ important?

A skin allergy epidemic sweeping across the developed world has seen a 500% increase in skin ailments since the cosmetics industry began. The link between synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and skin damage made consumers demand ‘natural’ products, as even a small amount of synthetic chemicals can disrupt the skin’s natural state.

The cosmetics industry responded by bringing out more ‘natural’ products. However, a lot of these products contained similar chemicals as before, but with a few natural ingredients included. The word ‘natural’ was used loosely because it isn’t defined in law, whereas in the food industry, ‘natural’ is specifically defined.

The ONLA uses a very similar definition and is campaigning to introduce cosmetics safety legislation into UK law that mirrors the groundbreaking Food Safety Act 1990. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Trading Standards will then have industry guidelines and legislation to prevent the misuse of terms ‘natural’ and ‘pure’.

What definition of ‘Natural’ is used?

To have ONLA certification for a 100% Truly Natural product, it must meet the basic criteria below.

“All ingredients in this cosmetic product are taken directly from nature using normal mechanical extraction or natural solvents. No chemical or physical changes have occurred.”

To read more about the exact definition, visit our ‘Natural Standards’ page: https://onla.org.uk/labelling/

To read about some of the common confusing terms used on products which aren’t 100% Truly Natural, please read the section below titled “Confusing Terms…”

Why is ‘Skin Microbiome Friendly’ important?

The ONLA discovered a new skin health measuring mechanism in 2017, showing that biodiversity of the skin microbiome is the only reliable indicator of skin health. The skin allergy epidemic in the western world has seen a catastrophic decrease in biodiversity of the human skin microbiome. Tribes people with little or no contact with civilisation display much higher, and in some cases unprecedented, levels of skin microbiome biodiversity.

To truly be an industry where skin-care products are health-giving, they need to be scientifically proven to have a positive effect on the skin microbiome by increasing its biodiversity and as a result boosting the health of the skin.

Why was the ONLA set up?

  1. To protect consumers. It will help them understand whether a product really is natural, and skin microbiome friendly. A lack of law and regulation means that there are a lot of confusing claims, and currently thousands of consumers falling victim to this. The consumer has a right to absolute transparency about the products they are buying, and the companies they are supporting.
  2. To protect companies. Those that have endeavoured to produce truly natural formulations which are skin microbiome friendly can stand out from the rest of the industry with proof of their claims regarding ingredients and skin health.
  3. To operate not only as a certification body, but as a pressure group. We will campaign for the definition of ‘natural’ to be put in law, just like in the food industry. This will protect consumers from being misled and it will protect companies who have endeavoured to produce truly natural formulations which are beneficial for skin health.
  4. To revolutionise the industry in the same magnitude as Anita Roddick (The Body Shop) did for her campaigning against animal testing. We will campaign to radically transform it from one which is mis-leading for consumers, and begin a new era of honestly-labelled, health-giving and science & research based cosmetics.

Confusing terms within the ‘Natural’ cosmetics industry

“Naturally Derived” – a common misleading description of an ingredient. This is the process of the chemical alteration of natural substances – this includes every synthetic chemical ever made!

“Nature Identical” – This is the process of manufacturing in the laboratory an obscure substance found in nature, and then including it in a ‘Natural’ finished product.

“97% Natural” – Less that 1% of some synthetic products can cause severe damage, so 2-3% of any synthetic product is potentially harmful.

“Plant Based” – a term widely used that is used to cover up the fact that the ingredient is a chemical synthesized from plant extract raw materials. Soap is the common example.

“Soap is Natural” – all soaps and detergents are synthetically created by the violent reaction of natural raw materials (a fat or oil) with a powerful caustic chemical alkali like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. Please get this straight: there is no such thing as ‘natural’ soap!

How is ‘Skin Microbiome Friendly’ assessed?

The ONLA has exclusive access to the first and only reliable mechanism for testing the health of skin using skin microbiome biodiversity. Using this, trials with human participants will be carried out in conjunction with The Medical University of Graz. Depending on how the biodiversity is affected over the course of the trials, the product will be given a level of attainment. An increase above a certain level will see the product be givena ‘Gold’ level of Skin Microbiome Friendly accreditation. ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ will be for lower levels of microbiome biodiversity enhancement. If a decrease or stagnation is seen, then the product will fail.

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