Humans are exposed to harmful chemicals through various methods on a daily basis. AROMATICA has been excluding the harmful ingredients that have been identified harmful by various professional data for those who want to protect themselves and their loved ones from harmful ingredients. Since its establishment in 2004, AROMATICA has been accumulating a database on potential harmful chemicals based on experiences with strict product certifications such as EWG VERIFIED™, ECOCERT, Vegan, and COSMOS, as well as its advancement into the strict European and American markets.
Despite the rapidly-growing “clean beauty market,” it is not easy for consumers to choose safe products due to the absence of a definitive standard and definition of clean beauty. As the brand leads natural, organic, vegan, and clean beauty in Korea, AROMATICA has constructed the “Worry List” based on the understanding and compilation of various safe cosmetic standards to suggest a new standard for safe and clean beauty that satisfies all criteria.
Our definition of clean beauty includes “Biocompatibility & Sustainability” to avoid potentially dangerous substances that have undesirable effects and are harmful to the human body. Based on several years of experience, we have learned that natural ingredients are not necessarily all safe and synthetic ingredients are not always harmful.
We will make continuous efforts to use safe yet effective plant-based ingredients in order to exclude harmful substances from our products based on a reputable database.
We will conduct sustainable activities to consume renewable energy and minimize energy consumption.
We are cruelty-free and do not conduct animal testing on our products, but rather develop products that pursue the coexistence between humans, animals, and the environment.
In 2011, AROMATICA raised the issue regarding the safety of cosmetic ingredients while introducing EWG Skin Deep Database to the Korean cosmetic market. As a result of the issues of asbestos-containing cosmetics and humidifier sterilizers, the Korean cosmetic market began to pay attention to ingredients and safety. However, it is still using green score* ingredients rated 2 or lower on the danger scare according to EWG Skin Deep criteria. What customers really want to know is what kind of ingredients in cosmetic products are safe and effective.
*Many products claim to be “EWG green grade,” but no such phrase exists. Ingredients indicated with green color are classified as a safe grade, low hazard.
For the past 20 years, we have been making good products with safe ingredients based on various data on harmful ingredients, our experiences of advancing into the strict European and American markets, and strict product certifications, such as EWG VERIFIED™, Vegan, and COSMOS/ECOCERT. We present the following complex and strict standards.
EWG VERIFIED™ is a product safety certification program operated by EWG in the category of cosmetics. It is a strict, prestigious product certification system which offers a mark of certification only to products that meet their strict standards, such as the exclusion of harmful ingredients, provision of information on the ingredient content, and status of GMP compliance. EWG VERIFIED™ helps consumers make purchasing decisions by improving the EWG Skin Deep rating system by one step further.
*AROMATICA acquired EWG VERIFIED™ certification for about 20 products in 2016. EWG VERIFIED™ certification is an influential product certification system that reviews and evaluates product ingredients in a stricter manner than organic certification based on EWG Skin Deep’s ingredient safety rating standards, which are known to be very strict. Such certification reflects AROMATICA’s sincerest intent to produce the safest products.
Founded in 1944, the Vegan Society is the most prestigious veganism certification agency. It is expanding the scope of vegetarianism beyond food to clothes and cosmetics. Veganism prohibits all animal-based matter, including meat (including fish, shellfish, insects), dairy products, egg, and honey. The society aims to refrain from all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals inflicted by humans.
Honey: Honey is an energy source for honey bees. Beekeepers ethically take honey combs in order to increase the honey harvest. An increased propagation of honey bees is poorly influencing the population of other insects.
Dairy Products: In order to produce milk, dairy cows must get pregnant and have calves. This is being done forcibly through artificial insemination. Calves are separated from their mothers from the moment of their births to increase the milk harvest. More than 1/3 of milk cows are slaughtered as they suffer from mastitis.
Egg: According to the European law on egg production, 9 chickens can be bred in an area of 1 m2. Hens are reared in unethical environments - in narrow steel wire cages with limited sunlight – and are slaughtered after laying eggs for one year.
* AROMATICA does not use animal-derived ingredients, including honey, dairy products, or eggs, in order to maintain the value of respect for the living. We use only plant-based, natural ingredients, however we do not use ingredients derived from endangered species of plants to practice the principle of sustainable development.
COSMOS is an abbreviation of COSMetics Organic and Natural Standard. It is an international organic cosmetics association (COMOS-AISBL) allied with 5 certification agencies from four countries in Europe, such as BDIH (Germany), BIOFORUM (Belgium), COSMEBIO & ECOCERT (France), ICEA (Italy), and SOIL ASSOCIATION (England).
COSMOS prohibits the use of nano substances, GMOs, gamma rays & X-ray radiated ingredients, as well as animal testing. COSMOS requires an organic certification or CSPO (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil) certification in the case of palm oil use or the use palm oil-derived ingredients for bio-diversity and sustainability. Ingredients include water, minerals/mineral-based substances, physically processed agro-ingredients (PPAI), and chemically processed agro-ingredients (CPAI). Other permitted ingredients include non-natural ingredients (NNI), petrochemical moieties (PeMo), and animal-derived ingredients. Some PPAI substances must use organic ingredients, such as argan, almond, chamomile, cocoa butter, olive, and rosemary. Ethanol must be obtained from organic and natural ingredients through chemical processing. COSMOS monitors the entire process of product manufacturing so that it complies with the strict standards.
COSMOS organic content standard is a 20% organic ratio with 2% or lower permissible synthetic ingredients. COSMOS does not limit organic ingredient content in the case of natural products but it limits synthetic ingredients to 2% or lower.
* AROMATICA has acquired natural and organic product certification for some of its products from ECOCERT, an organic certification agency that has been receiving high levels of public trust due to its strict monitoring and standards over the entire product production process. Furthermore, in 2019, AROMATICA plans to acquire COSMOS certification for finished products to produce products within our facilities, rather than through OEM. Ingredients, such as sulfate surfactant (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, etc.), as well as argan and peppermint, can be used in COSMOS natural-organic cosmetics. However, sulfate surfactant has excellent foaming and cleansing effects, so it can cause skin and eye irritation (AROMATICA’s Worry List ingredients). In addition, EWG VERIFIED is limiting argan oil (ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL) to 10% or lower and pulegone containing peppermint oil (PEPPERMINT (MENTHA PIPERITA) OIL)) to 1% or lower. AROMATICA will continuously develop safe products in accordance with strict ingredient selection criteria accumulated through several years of experience.
According to the regulation on the natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics standards, which were revised in July 2019, usable ingredients consist of four kinds excluding natural ingredients, plant-derived ingredients, water, and other permitted ingredients. “Organic plants/organic plant-derived ingredients” are limited to ingredients approved by the law and certification agencies. “Plants/plant-derived ingredients” include marine plants, such as seaweed and marine algae, as well as mycelium, such as mushrooms. “Animal ingredients/animal-derived ingredients” include ingredients produced naturally by animals, such as eggs, milk, and milk protein, but do not include the animal itself (cells, tissue, and organs). “Minerals/mineral-derived ingredients” refer to matter produced naturally through geological actions and they do not include matter from fossil fuel. “Synthetic ingredients” are required to maintain the quality and safety of products and they are partially permitted if they cannot be replaced with natural ingredients.
Ingredients should be processed according to a permitted process. If ingredients are processed using a physical process, they should be extracted with plant-derived natural solvents (including water) while following the restriction on the use of chemical/biological processing solvent. In addition, there are regulations on production processing (permitted/prohibited processing), production site and facilities, and packaging and storage.
Mineral ingredients (excluding those of fossil fuel origin)
Natural content of 95% or more
(Attachment 2 Contamination Precaution)
Organic content of 10% or more
Natural content of 95% or more
(Attachment 2 Contamination Precaution)
(Chemical/ biological processing)
Mineral-derived ingredients (excluding those of fossil fuel origin) (Attachment 1)
|Water||Other permitted ingredients (Attachment 3), permitted synthetic ingredients (Attachment 4)||Within 5%, part petrochemistry of 2% or less|
* Korea’s natural/organic cosmetic standard is very similar to COSMOS/ECOCERT natural/organic cosmetic standard and process. Organic ingredient content in Korean organic cosmetics is 10% similar to that of ECOCERT, but COSMOS requires 20% or more organic ingredient. In the future, AROMATICA plans to develop organic/natural certified products that comply to the stricter standard of COSMOS, as well as the Korean standard, and get certified accordingly.
20% or more*
95% or more organic among PPAI ingredients
10% or more
95% or more organic plant (plant-derived) ingredients
|10% or more*|
|Other||Petrochemistry part of 2% or less||5% or less of permitted synthetic ingredients||
95% or more allowed ingredients,
5% or less of permitted synthetic ingredients
2% or less Petrochemistry
5% or more
50% or more organic plant plant-derived) ingredients
|Other||2% or less Petrochemistry||5% or more of permitted synthetic ingredients||
95% or more of permitted ingredients,
5% or less of permitted synthetic ingredients,
2% or less Petrochemistry
Beginning with “AROMATICA's Declaration of Environmental Management and Respect for Life” in 2013, AROMATICA has been making various attempts and practicing change steadily both domestically and internationally. We are introducing “sustainable packaging” that practices product planning to maximize the recycling rate of resources, such as the use of biodegradable and recyclable containers and packaging materials, the use of paper tape on parcel boxes, and paper buffers instead of vinyl. We are also making efforts to minimize electric consumption and the production of organic waste. In 2019, we completed the construction of a “Sustainable Smart Factory” to reduce carbon emissions and increase the energy recycling rate by generating sustainable energy, such as using energy obtained from the outdoor air temperature for refrigeration and heating.
We practice bioethics that prohibit humans from inflicting unilateral exploitation, unethical pain, torment, or cruelty on animals. We oppose causing animals pain and using innocent animals for cosmetic production and ingredient testing. As the effectiveness of animal testing is low and alternative technologies are being developed, animals that suffer due to animal testing have the right to avoid such abuse. Accordingly, AROMATICA does not conduct animal testing on any ingredients or products.
Vegans who practice the strictest standards among several classifications of veganism do not consume any type of animal foods, including dairy products, eggs, and honey. AROMATICA does not use animal-derived ingredients to practice bioethics and sustainability, as well as to prevent disease contamination such as mad cow disease, avian influenza, and hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
Among animal-based ingredients, lanolin is an animal oil extracted from wool and it is used as an ingredient in lip balms, lip glosses, lipsticks, balms, and nipple creams. This oil is obtained after purifying a solvent that is extracted from waste liquid after washing wool, so it is likely to contain pesticides or insecticides. It is being used widely in natural cosmetics and organic cosmetics as an alternative ingredient for Petroleum (Vaseline), but this matter often causes allergic reactions.
AROMATICA does not use animal-derived ingredients such as lanolin (wool), mink oil (mink), animal-based elastin, animal-derived collagen (pig skin, fish), keratin (animal horns, feathers), snail cream (snail secretion), hyaluronic acid (chicken combs), bees wax (bee hives), milk, honey, or eggs.
* AROMATICA’s brand philosophy pursues the coexistence of humans, animals, and the planet’s environment. For such a philosophy and for creating natural cosmetics that are not subject to animal testing, AROMATICA received a “Thank You” plaque from KARA (Korea Animal Rights Advocates) in 2013. AROMATICA uses 100% vegan formulas, being equipped with an ingredient verification system that secures confirmation letters and certificates from ingredient suppliers/ manufacturers, verifying the avoidance of animal testing.
Essential oils are natural aromatics used as the basic matter for aromatherapy. Essential oil means 100% pure, natural, volatile oil extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, fruits, peels, and resin according to the characteristics of herbs. They have been used as natural remedies since the olden times to improve the health of the mind and body and to boost self-immunity. Recently, essential oils have been receiving attention as alternative medicines.
Synthetic fragrance is made through a synthetic manufacturing process that separates fragrance from petroleum and natural gases based on an analysis of the chemical structures of certain substances contained in expensive natural fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are being used in various industries. Particularly, in the cosmetic industry, they are used as part of packaging to artificially increase the attractiveness of cosmetic products. The main purpose of using artificial fragrance, rather than natural fragrance, is economic efficiency. Under the pretext of price competitiveness, there are several thousands of different kinds of indiscreetly produced synthetic fragrance and there are scores of compounds, but they are indicated simply as one ingredient named, “Fragrance” or “Parfum.”
The biggest problem of natural fragrances is the high unit cost. To produce 1 gram of oil, it sometimes requires several hundreds of flower bulbs, depending on the plant. Furthermore, cultivation amounts can vary greatly depending on climate and low yields have a great influence on the price.
Did you know that it is legal to withhold information on the substances used for the production of synthetic fragrance? A negative aspect of synthetic fragrances is that they are being applied to various products with industrial development and they have become part of our daily lives. Among the components of synthetic fragrances, phthalate is known to cause disruption in human reproduction and development and in the internal system. According to a report titled “Not Too Pretty” (2002), phthalate was detected in several products under testing. Substances such as DBP and DEP are prohibited in Europe. However, currently, there is no legal system that can protect us from these substances.
Can synthetic fragrances, which imitate natural fragrances, provide the therapeutic features of plant-based essential oils? Synthetic fragrance cannot reproduce the various natural features of plant-based ingredients, demonstrating different actions in the human body as well.
The founder of AROMATICA, Jerry Kim, tries to resolve the dangers of cosmetics and household items made with synthetic fragrance and harmful substances with the apothecary formula, created based on his deep understanding of the effects of herbs and plants. He is the first-generation Korean aromatherapist who is committed to physical and mental freedom through the strong energy of natural essential oils. His role is different from that of perfumers who make new fragrances by simply mixing several aromatics and trying to mask the true scents of products.
AROMATICA will not use harmful fragrances that withhold its ingredients, using only natural essential oils that contain the scent of nature. We will conduct continuous research on how to exclude ingredients that are known to cause allergic reaction. In the upcoming years, we will take continuous steps towards the truth and transparency.
|Synthetic Fragrances||Triclosan||Oxybenzone||Formaldehyde & FRPs|
|Phthalates||Retinol and Retinyl palmitate||1,4-Dixoane||Octyl methoxycinnamate|
|Toluene||Hydroquinone||Lead and Heavy metals||Aminobenzoic acid|
|MIT/CMIT||Coal Tar||Petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin||GMO|
|BHA & BHT||Cocamidopropylbetaine||Ethanolamines||Nanoparticles|
|Silicones||Carbon black||Lauramidopropyl betaine||Animal Derived Ingredients|
AROMATICA, as a pioneer and specialist in the clean beauty field, makes efforts to protect consumers and the environment moving forward towards sustainable growth. Since its foundation in 2004, AROMATICA has been assembling a database on potentially harmful matter based on experience with the strict product certifications of EWG VERIFIED™, ECOCERT, Vegan, and COSMOS. On our advancement into the strict European and American markets, we drew up the “Worry List,” which details ingredients that consumers should avoid based on the database. The ingredients that are introduced here are representative harmful substances. The Worry List will evolve further through continuous communication with customers and continuous monitoring in the future. We also promise that by 2020, we will stop using the Worry List ingredients that are introduced below.
We will review 26 classified ingredients, such as synthetic fragrance, paraben, preservative, sulfate surfactant, synthetic anti-oxidant, silicon, talc, and organic UV protectant, and provide information on the proven harmful ingredients.