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NATRUE is an international, non-profit association based in Brussels which was founded in 2007. Its goal is to protect and promote natural and organic cosmetics worldwide. The label of the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association is one of the most widespread certifications in use. For their certification, the ingredients of cosmetics are divided into three categories:

Natural ingredients:

Natural ingredients come directly from nature, as the name suggests, and are rendered usable through physical processes (for example, pressing).

Near-natural substances:

Near-natural substances occur in nature but are chemically modified. However, only certain modification procedures are allowed and they may only be used in the case that the substance used cannot be replaced by natural ingredients. An example of such substances are the tensides in shampoos as their cleansing effect cannot be achieved by natural ingredients alone.

Nature-identical substances:

nature-identical substances are created through chemical reactions, but also occur in an identical form in nature. NATRUE provides the following information in this regard: "These ingredients are exclusively permitted in the case of preservatives and minerals and then only when the desired natural substance cannot be gained from natural sources in the required quantity or quality."

Furthermore, NATRUE defines the minimum content of natural ingredients as well as a maximum content of near-natural substances. Specific criteria are prescribed for each of the different product groups, so the requirements for soaps are different from those for shampoos, for example.

The following are completely forbidden:

- synthetic fragrances and colouring agents
- ingredients which are based on mineral oils
- genetically-modified substances
- irradiation of individual ingredients or of the end product
- the carrying out of animal testing for individual substances or for end products

All information on the certification procedure and other information can be found at www.natrue.org.

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