At ARgENTUM, we believe in truth and strive to deliver skincare with integrity. Guided by our responsibility to create sustainable skincare, we use only the finest natural ingredients. We have started to calculate the natural index of our products using a framework that’s a little more strict and standardised, and we’d like to share it with you ~ alchemising mysteries into truths.
Introducing ISO 16128… An international standard, developed specifically for the cosmetics industry that gives brands and the manufacturers they work with a set of guidelines to help define a natural or organic ingredient. But before we jump in, let’s talk about some frequently used industry terms and why we use them.
WHAT DOES ‘NATURAL’ MEAN IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
When ‘natural’ is used to describe the ingredients in skincare and beauty products, these ingredients should come from natural, raw materials.
However, there is no global standard for a ‘natural’ cosmetic product that brands must legally adhere to. Driven by calls for greater transparency and more precise standards for marketing terms, legislative efforts continue to develop.
WHAT IS ‘NATURAL ORIGIN’?
There is now a standardised definition for ’natural origin’ in beauty and skincare, created by ISO. The ISO 16128 defines products and ingredients of ‘natural origin’ as those that are more than 50% from raw materials. These products, then, belong to ISO’s ‘natural origin index’.
With most of our products of 90% natural origin or above, we choose to utilise the power of Nature to create our powerful, patented formula.
WHAT DOES ‘SYNTHETIC’ MEAN?
Understanding what a natural ingredient is, helps to understand what a natural ingredient is not.
Conventional cosmetics ~ meaning those without ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ labels ~ are made using synthetic chemicals, which are compounds produced by chemical synthesis. These can be either entirely artificial ingredients that don’t exist in nature or chemicals engineered in a laboratory to mimic natural ones. Synthetic ingredients can also include natural substances that are chemically modified. In short, think of synthetic as man-made.
WHAT IS A CHEMICAL?
From a scientific point of view, all substances are chemicals, but not all chemicals are synthetic by nature ~ for example, water is a natural chemical.
ARE NATURAL AND ORGANIC THE SAME THING?
No. Natural and organic are not interchangeable, natural ingredients can come from plants that are not organically grown for example.
‘Organic’ is a fairly regulated term (across the UK, EU, US & Australia), meaning that certified organic products are prepared and grown in a way that is consistent with organic farming standards. Organic generally means grown, harvested and processed without artificial fertilisers or preservatives, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms, and with minimal pesticides allowed. ‘Natural’ simply means products or ingredients are derived naturally from the earth, such as from plants or minerals, and are not artificial or synthetic.
“We want you to feel comfortable and entirely at home with your ARgENTUM skincare products. So, with you in mind, we set off on a quest to find the best possible standard to use when we talk about our natural ingredients.”
WHAT IS THE ISO 16128 STANDARD?
The ISO 16128 was developed to help cosmetic suppliers and manufacturers answer questions about their natural ingredients. It’s a set of guidelines that serve as an international standard to help define natural and organic cosmetic ingredients and products, harmonising labelling requirements worldwide.
ISO 16128 uses the following criteria to define natural, derived natural, and nature-identical ingredients:
Natural ingredients: “Obtained only from plants, animals, micro-organisms… via physical processes, fermentation or other procedures without intentional chemical modification.”
Derived natural ingredients: “Cosmetic ingredients of greater than 50% natural origin, obtained through defined chemical and/or biological processes with the intention of modification.”
Nature-identical ingredients: “Lab-based (synthetic) ingredients obtained through chemical processing with the same chemical composition as ingredients that occur naturally in the earth.”
HOW IS THE ISO 16128 CALCULATION DONE?
To calculate whether something belongs to the natural origin index, ISO recommends multiplying the percentage of the ingredient used in a product by its natural index, a figure between 0 and 1.
For example, if water makes up 75% of a product, and its natural index is 1, you would calculate 75 x 1 to get 75% naturalness. This is done for each ingredient in a product, so you are left with a total % figure of a product’s natural origin.
Luckily, when brands are ISO 16128 registered, like ARgENTUM, you won’t need to work this out as it’s labelled clearly on all of our packaging.
SWITCHING TO THE ISO 16128 STANDARD
In a jungle of vibrant green labels, it can be tricky (and a little time-consuming) to work out whether your creams and serums are everything they promise to be. We don’t want you to feel confused about your skincare’s science, naturalness or sustainability and that’s why we’ve switched to ISO 16128. For us, it’s the best tool to help define what it means to be ‘natural.’
IS THERE ANYTHING ISO 16128 DOESN’T COVER?
Although many brands look to ISO 16128 for guidance and clarification, the standard is entirely voluntary, it’s not a legal requirement. There are no ‘ISO 16128 Certified’ logos, but brands are allowed to list natural or organic content on their product packaging, so that’s what we do.
The ISO 16128 standard is a way for conscious beauty brands and manufacturers to follow good industry practices and demonstrate due diligence.
ISO 16128 meets ARgENTUM
You can find the natural origin content of our products on our website (just above the ingredients) and on the illustrated sleeves of our new packaging. We’ve also listed them below…
You’ll notice that not all of our collection is 100% from natural origins, and that’s because we use a Cosmos compliant preservative system permitted for use in certified organic products. Interestingly, this same system is used as a food preservative, found in some of your favourite day-to-day foods.
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OUR JOURNEY CONTINUES
From the very beginning, we chose to be ethically transparent ~ seeking only the finest natural and organic ingredients from sustainable sources to mix the most magical potions that emit the timeless strength of silver. And we will continue to create our silver skincare collection with a positive impact on nature and society.
Recognised as a beauty Brand to Trust, we proudly wear the Butterfly Mark ~ a globally respected mark of trust, awarded to us by POSITIVE LUXURY… And as ARgENTUM’s journey continues, the core philosophy of our founder remains the same…
“My goal as Founder is to instil values of integrity, which go hand-in-hand with our responsibility to deliver something sustainable. Our core philosophy, built around the pursuit of ‘beauty through balance’, connects intimately with sustainability and supports ecological stability.”
Joy Isaacs, Founder & CEO