OUR FAQ INGREDIENTS
1. DO THE PRODUCTS CONTAIN ANY PERFUME?
We use a natural, discreet and hypoallergenic scent, namely vanilla extract.
The quantity added in the products is quite low but still enough to enjoy the use of ZAO products. Some ingredients in the formula, for instance oil, could otherwise give an unpleasant smell.
2. WHICH ONE IS THE BAMBOO POWDER?
The bamboo powder can be found in the ingredient listing under the INCI name: Bambusa arundinacea stem powder. It is a white substance extracted from the bamboo seams, mainly made of organic silica. It has historical use in Oriental medicine. Organic silica, constituent of connecting tissue, is already present in the entire human body. It regenerates the epidermis by contributing to collagen and elastin synthesis. Over time, our silica reserves get lower, which leads to elasticity loss and skin demineralisation. It is therefore necessary to regularly replenish the skin. For this reason, organic silica is present in most of ZAO products.
3. WHICH ONE IS THE ORGANIC BAMBOO HYDROLATE?
The organic bamboo hydrolate can be found in the ingredient listing under the INCI name: Phyllostachys Nigra Extract. It comes from the distillation of bamboo leaves, mainly composed of organic silica. It has historical use in Oriental medicine. Organic silica, constituent of connecting tissue, is already present in the entire human body. It regenerates the epidermis by participating to the collagen and elastin synthesis. Over time, our silica capital gets lower which leads to elasticity loss and skin demineralisation. It is therefore necessary to regularly replenish the skin. For this reason, organic silica is present in most of ZAO products.
4. WHICH ONE IS THE ORGANIC BAMBOO MACERATE?
The organic bamboo macerate can be found in the ingredient listing under the INCI name: Phyllostachis Bambusoides Rhizome Extract*. As well as the bamboo powder and the organic bamboo hydrolate, this ingredient is extremely rich in organic silica. An external intake is necessary in order to maintain our tissues and skin elasticity. The benefit of macerate is the ability to penetrate deeper into skin.
5. DO THE PRODUCTS CONTAIN ANY CHROME?
Chrome is not an ingredient added as such in the products. However, it is a component of pigments called 'chromium oxide greens' whose INCI name is CI 77288. This green pigment allows to formulate green shades of eyeshadows that would not be possible otherwise. You have probably noticed that the range of natural pigments, available to organic certified cosmetics, still remains narrow today. However we are concerned about this pigment safety. We have therefore decided to amend the formulation of the eyeshadows containing this pigment. You will see new shades shortly.
6. DO THE PRODUCTS CONTAIN ANY ARGAN OIL?
To date, we do not use any argan oil in our products. However we have chosen other ingredients that benefit skin due to their essential fatty acid (EFA) content, as EFAs facilitate skin flexibility and elasticity. These organic ingredients rich in essential fatty acids comprise shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, macadamia nut oil etc.
7. DO ZAO PRODUCTS CONTAIN PALM OIL?
The main concern with palm oil is that the culture in Indonesia mainly leads to massive primary forest destruction in favour of palm plantations. In cosmetics, there are many complex ingredients using palm oil or derivatives. In addition to the INCI name "palm oil" which is easily recognisable, there is also "Eleasis Guineensis (palm) oil".
For these ingredients, an RSPO certificate/commitment, although controversial, guarantees that the crops were not involved with primary forest destruction nor endangered animals.
After doing several studies, here are the ingredients of our formulations that can include palm oil during their manufacturing process:
1 - Cetearyl alcohol: ours is derived from coconut oil.
2 - Eleasis Guineensis (palm) oil: only Eleasis Guineensis (palm) butter is used in our formulas. So not palm oil but palm butter. We are therefore waiting for RSPO certificate.
3 - Glycerin: our glycerin is certified organic. Organic farming rules prohibit the destruction of the primary forest.
4 - Glyceryl stearate: ours is derived from coconut oil.
5 - Isostearic acid: ours is derived from rapeseed oil.
6 - Palm oil: It was used only in our previous pencils made in France, but has now been phssed out with our new pencils, which are also now vegan certified.
7 - Sodium stearoyl lactylate: We are waiting for answers from the manufacturer.
8 - Zinc stearate: It is a palm oil derivative and we have the RSPO certificate.
8. AS A METAL, IS THE SILVER POWDER DANGEROUS?
All ZAO products, excluding pencils, contain micronised silver. In our formulas, silver plays a fundamental role of formula preservative and skin antiseptic. The reason that very few companies (and no makeup companies) use silver as preservative, is due to its high cost of €10,000 per kilo. Silver has been purposefully chosen for its inherent antibacterial qualities. For instance, silver is used in band aids, burn treatment and prostheses conservation before transplantation into the human body; it has been considered for over 2,000 years as a water purifier and a disinfectant. In the Middle Ages, the elite used to eat and drink from silver or silver plated crockery and cutlery. Silver is a superior bacteria killer by asphyxiation.
Generally speaking, the issue with using metals is down to the size of the particles; some metallic nanoparticles can be particularly harmful to the human body. The new European organic standard COSMOS prohibits the inclusion of nanoparticles in the products that it certifies. The silver we use is Microsilver (trade name) and the particle size is between 1 and 10 microns, which is 1,000-10,000 times larger than the size of nanoparticles. Silver is therefore no risk of toxicity for our bodies as long as we avoid nanoparticles.
9. IS SILVER POWDER AN INFERIOR PRESERVATIVE IN COMPARISON TO A CHEMICAL ONE?
The silver powder used to preserve ZAO products is as effective as preservatives used in non organic cosmetics. Synthetic preservatives are derived from petrochemicals and pose carcinogenic dangers.
All cosmetic products, organic or synthetic, sold in Europe must comply with a regulated test on the preservative efficacy. This test called a 'challenge test', consisting of introducing some bacteria in product samples and checking that the bacteria do not grow.
ZAO products have successfully passed the test.
Besides, the silver powder is so effective that it can be used in quantity much lower than that of traditional preservatives. Therefore we reduce risks of allergic reaction also.
10. ARE ZAO PRODUCTS GLUTEN FREE?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains such as barley, rye and sometimes oat. The consumption of gluten-free food products is becoming a real trend. Beyond this trend, some individuals suffer with an autoimmune disease called celiac. In order to give these individuals a guarantee that products are suitable, a european standard (AOECS) was created with requirements such as on-site inspections and annual analysis control plan. Products meeting the requirements of this standard are allowed to bear the defined label. This label is given only to food products, not cosmetic products at the present day.
In this context, it would be relevant to know if ZAO lipsticks contain any gluten. Gluten is found only in the protein part of an ingredient and therefore is absent from food oils used in our products. Therefore, there is only one ingredient used for ZAO that could contain any gluten: palmitoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein. However, we have the supplier’s certificate ensuring that there is no gluten in this ingredient.
We can therefore conclude that ZAO products are gluten-free.
11. DOES THE MALTODEXTRIN USED IN PRODUCTS CONTAIN ANY GLUTEN?
Maltodextrin is not an ingredient we add to our formulation but it is part of another ingredient: Cayoma Olive. Here is the link to the producer Qenax of such ingredient: http://www.qenax.com/products/cayoma-r-olive.
After checking all formulations, we can say that maltodextrine is exclusively included in powders and its concentration in finished products is between 0.00005% and 0.012%.
Maltodextrin is most of the time obtained from starch and mostly from rice starch. Rice is a natural free gluten cereal. Maltodextrin is also gluten free.
12. WHAT INGREDIENTS MAKE ZAO PRODUCTS ANTI-AGEING?
Our makeup products combine use ingredients with specific properties, for instance:
- Bamboo powder with its high level of silica needed for renewal of skin cells
- Silver powder acting as an antiseptic agent, chosen by ZAO as a natural preservative
- Aloe vera, shea butter and pomegranate butter, rich in essential fatty acids to fight free radicals.
13. WHY USE TITANIUM DIOXIDE IN PRODUCTS?
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a white pigment that has been used in cosmetics (toothpaste, face cream, body milk, makeup etc) for decades. This pigment is also included in other products of everyday life: food, paintwork for home and cars etc.
The controversy regarding titanium dioxide is in its nanoparticle format. ZAO does not use titanium dioxide in nanoparticle size range and indeed the new European organic standard COSMOS does not allow ingredients containing nanoparticles.
Nanoparticles cause ethical and public health debates because they can be absorbed through human cells due to their size where they can cause damage, and the human body cannot synthesise them for removal. Long term consequences of nanoparticle ingestion or absorption are unknown.
Titanium dioxide used in ZAO products in non-nanoprticle format does not enter the human cells.
14. WHY USE ALUMINUM IN ZAO PRODUCTS? WHAT ARE THE QUANTITIES?
Aluminum salts are still controversial when used in deodorants and anti-perspirants, with concerns that the aluminum salts can increase breast cancer risk, considering the site of application and the quantity used.
ZAO products do not contain any aluminum.
However, you may find in our ingredient list, the INCI name: alumina. It is not an aluminum salt, nor a aluminum chlorhydrate. It is a molecule (Al2O3) used in surface coating of some pigments and pearls creating pigments allowed in organic certified make-up. It is therefore found in quite small quantities. Besides, alumina is found in Nature in bauxite ore. It is this very alumina that creates gemstones like ruby, sapphire or topaz.
Alumina here is no major danger for human health or the environment. In that context, it is allowed by organic cosmetic standard setters (Ecocert and Cosmos).
15. IS THERE ANY SQUALENE FROM SHARK IN ZAO PRODUCTS?
Historically, squalene was obtained from shark liver oil and it is true that some cosmetic companies carry on using it. However, squalene is also found in smaller quanities in plant sources, namely amaranth seed oil, rice bran oil, wheat germ oil and olive oil. You may be aware that organic certified cosmetics must comply with rules regarding ingredient sourcing. Ingredients derived from dead animals are strictly forbidden. Therefore, squalene found in Zao products comes from vegetable sources and mainly from olive oil.
Many plants and animals produce squalene, including humans. It is one of the most common lipids produced by human skin cells and is a major component of nasal sebum. It is a natural moisturiser and some believe that squalene consumption may be protective against cancer.
In the concentrations used in cosmetics, toxicology studies have shown that squalene is not a significant human skin irritant nor a sensitiser.
As far as we are aware with current scientific knowledge, this ingredient not harmful to human bodies or the environment.
16. ARE THERE ANY PHTHALATES ZAO NAIL POLISHES?
ZAO nail polish formula does not contain any phthalates, especially not dibutylphthalate which is known to be an endocrin disruptor and likely to cause eye irritation such as tearing or conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract irritation such as rhino-pharyngitis or bronchitis; if ingested or inhaled, it can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hematuria, dizziness, light sensitivity and nephrotoxicity.
Nail polishes are at the moment difficult to find in organicformat as natural and organic ingredients available at present do not perform well enough to provide effective nail polishes.
However, ZAO has decided to formulate without any harmful ingredients (including phthalates) and with silica from bamboo macerate for you to enjoy!
If you look at the ingredient list, there is one whose INCI could lead you to think it is a phthalate: phthalic anhydride/trimellitic anhydride/glycols copolymer. Names sound similar but they are not actually the same.
Some memories of your chemistry classes… : phthalates today known as harmful are chemical compounds derived from phthalic acid, unlike the ingredient used in ZAO nail polish formula. Even if the chemical name sounds similar, the actual molecules are very different therefore they do not interact with the skin equally. As well, this ingredient is widely used in various sectors such as in the pharmaceutical industry for coating of pills.
17. DO THE ZAO FOUNDATIONS CONTAIN ANY SUNSCREEN?
ZAO foundations do not contain any chemical sunscreen because they are forbidden in natural and organic certified cosmetics as most of them are harmful to humans and the environment. Only topical sunscreens such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are allowed.
The brand has decided not to add sun protection to makeup products because even physical sunscreens are controversial today. The most efficient ones are nanomaterials and the impact on people and the environment is still being studied (please see the question on nanomaterials in Certification part of the FAQ for further details).
18. ARE ZAO PRODUCTS COMEDOGENIC?
Comedogenic ingredients are not an issue when used in lip, eye lashes or nail products. For other applications, ZAO is aware of the need to use as little as possible comedogenic oils and butters. Therefore, you can find the following ingredients, likely to be comedogenic, but used in sensible quantity to still get their benefits :
- Mineral silk: wheat germ oil (0.5%) et cocoa butter (1%)
- Cream eyeshadow: wheat germ oil (0.5%)
- Pearly eyeshadow: soybean oil (less than 1%)
- Mineral touch eyeshadow: soybean oil (less than 1%)
- Compact powder and blush: cocoa butter (1%)
The whole range of products are suitable to all skin types, including sensitive or acne prone skin, barring any specific allergies.
19. ARE THE INGREDIENTS CONTAINED IN ZAO NAIL POLISH SAFE FOR CONSUMERS?
The following controversial ingredients are not used in ZAO nail polishes: acetone, formaldehyde, toluene, camphor, dibutylphthalate, xylene, rosin.
Our nail polishes are free from ingredients with known toxicity concerns and furthermore are enriched with organic silica from bamboo macerate. As you may know, silica or silicium is vital for healthy nails, skin and hair, playing an important role in nail production by our body.
OUR FAQ PRODUCTS
1. WHERE DOES THE NAME ZAO COME FROM?
David Reccole, the brand designer explains 'I have been influenced by Eastern philosophies and ways of thinking, especially Buddhism. The idea of a range focused on bamboo came about in Taïwan. Bamboo plays an important part in Asia and in Buddhism. I wanted the brand to depict this link. Buddhism has various expressions and several pillars. Amongst them, two are well-known and based on nature observation: ZEN and TAO. As an invitation to meditation, peace of mind, search of harmony and authenticity, following the example of Nature, ZAO is a contraction of these two words.'
2. WHERE ARE ZAO PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED?
ZAO products are manufactured in Europe.
We work with 3 main manufacturers, chosen for their knowledge and expertise on different product categories:
- Pencils: the German company Schwan manufactures pencils in Czech Republic
- Nail polishes: the Italian company Cosmetic Service manufactures nail polishes near Venice , Italy
- All other ZAO products are made by Laboratoire Phytotechnique, an italian company near Milan. This company has been a key partner for over 15 years. Besides, David Reccole, founder and director of the brand ZAO, was at the start of Laboratoire Phytotechnique as its president from 2006 to 2013.
We trust these companies for producing organic certified quality products.
You can always find the place of manufacture on the product labelling (eg 'made in Italy').
3. WHERE DOES THE BAMBOO COME FROM?
Bamboo used for our packaging comes from China where it is worked locally. ZAO has created specific tools to model raw bamboo because they were not available elsewhere. Our local manufacturer uses these tools exclusively for ZAO packaging.
We have chosen bamboo for its modern, stylish look and because we are convinced that a certified organic make-up range should offer natural, sustainable packaging.
Each tree can store carbon but bamboo is particularly efficient: its exceptional growth speed makes it a champion for carbon capture during its life cycle. In this way, it helps ZAO to make a minimal carbon footprint. Bamboo does not require pesticides for cultivation, and it's speedy growth enasures sustainability.
Bamboo is also added to our formula by means of powder, hydrolate or macerate. More information in the Ingredients part of the FAQ.
4. HOW IS THE BAMBOO CUT?
Bamboo used for packaging is cut from 4 to 5 year old stems, each of them being around 10cm diameter. Stems are cut at their base because it immediately allows rhizomes to create more stems.
5. CAN THE USE OF BAMBOO AFFECT THE RAIN FOREST AND ESPECIALLY THE GIANT PANDA?
Sadly Giant Pandas are now concentrated in small protected areas in Centre of China as shown below in brown areas:
Our bamboo forest is in Wuyishan, Nanping, Fujian, China, which is 2000 km far from the protected area where Giant pandas live.
Then giant pandas diet is based on 2 main bamboo species :
- Sinarundinaria fangiana = Bashania fangiana = Gelidocalamus fangianus which grows between 2300 and 3600 metres above sea level.
- Fargesia spathacea = Fargesia robusta which grows between 1600 and 2700 metres above sea level.
In all Wuyishan area, we don’t go above 1000 metres, so these species are not present.
Our bamboo latin names are: PHYLLOSTACHYS NIGRA for hydrosol, BAMBUSA ARUNDINACEA for stem powder and PHYLLOSTACHIS BAMBUSOIDES for rhizome extract. So none compose part of giant pandas' food.
6. WHAT IS THE GLUE USED?
It is a white glue for wood, a standard glue for now.
7. ARE PACKAGING MATERIALS RECYCLABLE ONCE THE PRODUCT IS FINISHED?
Recycling techniques today depend on the country you live in. We know that in France for instance, makeup products are too small to be recognised by the recycling equipments, for now. It is likely that it will be the same in your country.
Thanks to a simple and innovative system, almost all of our products are sustainable and refillable, excuding pencils for obvious reasons and presently liquids for hygiene reasons, although we are working on a solution to this. Genuinely economical, refills reduce costs and packaging, while also allowing customers to change colours dependent on season, mood and occasion. The bamboo products also come in a sophisticated cotton pouch, making them even more sustainable; so they can hold one refill after another after another.
On first purchase, customers choose a bamboo item; on second purchase, they only need to buy the refill.
8. WHY IS THERE NOT MORE REFILLABLE PRODUCTS? WHEN WILL MINERAL SILK REFILLS BE AVAILABLE?
Most of ZAO products are refillable: concealers, compact powders, cooked powders, blushes, complexion base, silk foundations, compact foundations, eyeshadows, eye primer, eyebrow powders, lipsticks and lip balm.
Mineral silk refills have just become available. The new refillable dispenser features an enhanced dispenser for ease of use.
Regarding the other types of products such as mascara and lipgloss, we are currently facing a technical issues that makes refills difficult to properly seal. We carry on working on this matter and would like to offer you soon a complete range of refillable products.
9. ARE REFILLABLES IN PLASTIC MATERIAL?
Some refillable products, such as pressed powders, are sold in plastic material which is allowed by organic certification because the material is recyclable.
Regarding refillables themselves, they are made of various materials depending on the product. For example, Silk foundation tubes are made from polypropylene (PP), whilst lipsticks mechanisms require several materials such as aluminium.
10. WHY THE NEED FOR THE POUCHES?
Each product comes in a aesthetically pleasing pouch in order to protect the packaging and product. For instance, pouches prevent products from opening when carrying them in your handbag for a perfect look all day long.
11. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN ZAO MAKEUP BRUSHES?
ZAO makeup brushes use a handle made from bamboo, with synthetic nylon brushes. Synthetic is preferred over natural because the brand commits to protect animal welfare and do not wish for any animal to be distressed, let alone killed, for the manufacture of makeup brushes.
The brushes can be cleaned with mild soap and some cold water. This should be efficient whilst still preserving their quality.
12. WHAT CAN I DO IN CASE OF ALLERGIC REACTION?
Despite the precautions taken by ZAO, if you suffer from an allergic reaction following the use of one of our products, we are truly sorry. We would advice you to go to your doctor or dermatologist in order for them to determine the cause and treat it. Your GP will then be able to comfirm if the allergic reaction is to the product or another heath issue. Afterwards, we invite you to contact us to inform us of the verdict from your GP, providing the name of the product used, its lot/batch number and point of purchase.
13. ZAO PRODUCTS ARE NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS, BUT DOES THIS ALSO APPLY TO THE INGREDIENTS?
Ingredients used in cosmetic products are not permitted to be tested on animals, according to the European Regulation n°1223/2009. However, some other regulations may still ask for those tests. For instance, REACH is a european regulation striving to protect human health and the environment against risks linked to chemical substances. In order to reduce the number of trials on animals, the regulation still supports the substitute methods to assess those risks.
ZAO range has been certified with the 'Leaping Bunny' certificate by Cruelty Free International, for some years. This organisation works towards stopping animals suffering experiments around the world. Certification prevents any ingredient used in ZAO range to be tested on animals. Of course, finished products as well have not been tested on animals. You can find more information by clicking on the following link : https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/
14. HOW ARE THE PRODUCTS TESTED IF NOT ON ANIMALS?
Cosmetic products do not need to be tested on animals to prove their safety. Safety can be attained by using safe ingredients, such as organic ingredients and those approved to be used in organic cosmetics by standard setters such as Ecocert and Cosmos. These ingredients have a long-standing safety record and as such, do not require testing.
Every cosmetic product sold in the European Union must first be approved by a toxicological expert. This person assesses the safety of the product. If the assessment conclusion comply with current regulations than the product can be used by consumers. Otherwise, the brand has to work again on the composition of the product and go again through the toxicological expert assessment.
ZAO products have not been tested on animals and all products have successfully passed the safety assessment.
QUESTIONS ABOUT ORGANIC CERTIFICATION
1. CAN CERTIFICATIONS BE DISPLAYED?
Certifications are indicated on each ZAO certified product label.
2. WHAT IS THE SHELF LIFE OF ORGANIC PRODUCTS COMPARED TO NON-ORGANIC ONES?
The shelf life is calculated with the following parameters:
- Product nature: shower gel, skin care, toothpaste, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, etc.
- Packaging type: opened jar, tube, airtight pump bottle, etc.
- Accelerated age testing results.
Thus, an organic cosmetic product can have the same shelf life as a non-organic one. Depending on the packaging, it may also be higher!
The European regulation n°1223/2009 for cosmetic products stipulates that the date of minimum durability must be labelled. It is the guaranteed date until which the cosmetic product will continue to fulfil its function without compromise, subject to being stored under appropriate conditions. However, indication of the date of minimum durability is not mandatory for cosmetic products with a minimum durability of more than 30 months. For such products, there shall be an indication of the period of time after opening for which the product is safe and can be used without any harm to the consumer.
3. WHY IS THERE ONLY 10% OF ORGANIC INGREDIENTS IN FORMULATIONS? WHY CAN’T PRODUCTS BE 100% ORGANIC?
An organic ingredient comes from organic farming. It can therefore be plants and plant derivatives for instance. But these are not enough to formulate cosmetic products that, depending on the nature of the product, also need water (sometimes up to 90%), minerals such as pigments or clays (sometimes up to 100%) and other ingredients. Of course, water and minerals do not come from organic farming. Therefore they can not be certified. This means that cosmetic products using 80% water, 10% minerals and 10% organic ingredients contain only 10% of organic but still is certified organic to the maximum of its ability.
What matters most is the quantity of organic ingredients with respect to the quantity of plant ingredients. Organic certified product must contains at least 95% of organic ingredients with respect to the plant ingredients, 10% of organic ingredients on the total of the formula and 95% of natural origin ingredients.
A summary can be found on the following link: http://www.cosmebio.org/fr/nos-label.php
ZAO organic certified products contain the maximum of organic ingredients possible. There is often more than 10% organic and soon over 20% thanks to the European organic certification COSMOS.
4. WHAT IS COSMOS?
Cosmos is the European harmonised standard for natural and organic cosmetics.
This standard guides brands through the organic certification process for cosmetics: ingredients and product composition, nature of packaging, manufacturing, filling, storage, document management and communication.
You have probably come accross the Ecocert standard before. You can find the Ecocert label on ZAO certified products.
Ecocert and 4 partners (BDIH in Germany, Cosmebio in France, ICEA in Italy and Soil Association in the UK) have put together their values, knowledge and vision of organic cosmetics to create, after many years of hard work, a common standard. That is how from 1st January 2017, all new organic certified cosmetic products will only be certified according to Cosmos standard.
For more information: http://cosmos-standard.org/cosmos-standard-aisbl/
The transition to the European harmonised standard has been anticipated during the development of ZAO products. Most of them already comply with Cosmos. However, as the standard is more demanding than the current Ecocert standard, some ingredients are now unavailable. To meet Cosmos standards, ingredient suppliers must give more confidential information for the approval of their ingredients and can sometimes be reluctant. This involved the reformulation of some ZAO products during 2016.
5. ARE ORGANIC PRODUCTS AS EFFECTIVE AS NON-ORGANIC ONES AS REGARDS OLOUR, DURABILITY, TEXTURE, PERFORMANCE ETC?
Yes, organic cosmetics are as effective as non-organic ones, and even more so. Actually, when we look at the ingredients used, an organic cosmetic has more active ingredients. Each ingredient does not only have a basic function in the product but also additional properties that adds to the organic cosmetic compared to a non-organic one. Our natural and organic ingredients benefit skin, nourishing, regenerating and protecting skin from free radicals, whereas synthetic ingredients damage skin with continued use.
6. CAN THE ORGANIC CERTIFICATION ENSURE GMO-FREE PRODUCTS?
Yes, the organic certification chosen by ZAO ensures GMO-free products.
Being GMO-free is one of the leading principles of natural and organic cosmetic standards (Ecocert or Cosmos). The ingredients used in cosmetics must be from renewable and sustainable resources and transformed by processes respectful of humans and the environment. Ingredients coming from GMO plants do not comply with this rule. Certification bodies (Ecocert for instance) are in charge of checking each ingredient before brands can decide to add it to formulations. Hence, this certification ensures that there is no GMO derived ingredient in ZAO products.
7. CAN THE ORGANIC CERTIFICATION ENSURE NANOMATERIAL-FREE PRODUCTS?
Organic certification according to Ecocert or Cosmos-standard ensures that product are respectful of humans and the environment. These certification bodies have determined that some nanomaterials are safe for consumers, namely physical sunscreens such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, and are therefore allowed in organic certified sunscreen products.
Nonetheless, ZAO has chosen to go further. The brand has decided not to use nanomaterials at all and therefore asks all suppliers to prove that their ingredients are nanomaterial-free.
8. CAN THE ORGANIC CERTIFICATION ENSURE PRODUCTS ARE FREE OF HEAVY METALS (SUCH AS NICKEL)?
As you know in our formulations we use some mineral ingredients such as pigments, mica or mineral silica.
Minerals extracted from earth contain many impurities in very low quantity expressed in ppm (parts per million. 1ppm = 0,0001%).
The minerals we use are monitored for impurities, especially heavy metals, of which nickel falls into this group. Others subject to testing are arsenic, mercury, lead, zinc, copper, chromium, cadmium and barium.
In all our ingredients, the only heavy metals present are mineral pigments.
The international regulation, including Ecocert, prohibits a maximum quantity for Nickel above 50 ppm which is equivalvent to 0.005%.
A pigment will be used at less than 20% of the total formulation. That means a maximum of 10ppm (0.001%) of nickel in the whole formulation.
For those for who are sensitive to nickel, their only choice at present is makeup made with synthetic pigments which have other side-effects, asit is not currently possible for mineral pigments to be 100% free of nickel traces. We are aiming to transition from using mineral pigments to vegetable pigments; we are on the way but it takes time. Here is a simple table about pigments:
9. CAN THE ORGANIC CERTIFICATION ENSURE PESTICIDE-FREE PRODUCTS?
Ingredients allowed in organic certified cosmetics have been carefully checked by certification bodies. As you may know, organic certified ingredients come from organic farming where using pesticides is strictly forbidden. Hence, farmers growing organic plants, the source of cosmetic ingredients, do not use any pesticides. However we all know that wind unfortunately can bring some pesticides from one non-organic land to one organic land, even though there are distances between 2 lands to comply with. In all honesty, it is difficult to guarantee 0.00% pesticide.
However we note that there is still 1000-10,000 times less pesticide in the organic sector then in conventional sector.
The organic certification ensures an extremely low level in products where no other certification can currently.
10. IS ZAO VEGAN?
Most of the range is vegan, certified from the year 2015, by the Vegan Society in UK.
Some products remain not certified due to the use of beeswax, despite the fact that organic beeswax ensures that the well-being of the animal is preserved, namely our lip glosses, lipbalm stick and liquid lipbalm, and concealers.