Brazil’s Organic Cosmetics Take First Baby Steps

Brazilian organic company Arte dos Aromas

The increase in global demand for natural products that respect the
environment have motivated many companies to invest in the production of organic
cosmetics. Great brands, like the French L’Oréal and L’Occitanne and the British
Lush are taking concrete steps in this direction.

They are all launching new products without substances derived from oil or synthetic chemicals and chemicals of animal origin.

Recently, Stella McCartney, the daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney, released the Care line, in association with Sephora, one of the most important perfumery chains in the world in the area of certified organic and natural cosmetics.

In Brazil, some makers have already noticed this tendency and have taken the lead. Although still shy – the first certification was only approved three years ago – specialists believe this movement will progress rapidly, repeating the phenomenon that took place overseas, in markets that are more mature in the offer of organic cosmetics, like Europe and the United States.

Many national companies already use certified natural and organic ingredients in their formulas, but, according to the IBD (Instituto Biodinâmico – Biodynamics Institute), just four brands are certified as producers of organic cosmetics by the organization: Reserva Folio, in the city of Nova Friburgo, in Rio de Janeiro (SE Brazil), Terrapi, from Bahia (Northeast) and Magia dos Aromas, from Botucatu, and Bioessência Produtos Naturais, from Barra Bonita, both cities in São Paulo state (Southeast Brazil).

One of the strong attraction factors of organics is ecologically correct production. The producers publicly accept the engagement of not testing products on animals or using species of fruit or flowers that are on the verge of extinction. People who seek organic cosmetics also seek greater quality of life.

“Natural products are beneficial to skin health, as everything that is used on the body is absorbed into the bloodstream. Those who make this option are generally people who are greatly attuned to their bodies and to the environment,” stated Simone Valladares, the owner of Reserva Folio. “We were the first Brazilian cosmetics manufacturers to be certified by IBD,” she explained.

According to Simone, Reserva Folio uses 100% natural raw materials, mainly originating from Brazilian biodiversity like Brazil nuts, andiroba, cupuassu and babassu and always from projects that are socially and environmentally responsible.

The group includes suppliers like the Association in the Settlement Areas of the State of Maranhão (Assema) and other certified projects. “The company has a philosophy of adding product quality to conscience in the productive chain,” she said.

According to the businesswoman, the brand’s formulas use Brazilian vegetable oils and butters, rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Apart from that, the scenting and conservation is made based on natural essence oils. “There is no use of substances derived from oil, nor products of synthetic or animal origin,” she explained.

Reserva Folio also developed formulas of organic soaps based on certified honey and propolis. “Products coming from bees have been greatly appreciated since early times. This is because honey, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are all beneficial to the health and to human well-being,” pointed out the businesswoman.

Exclusive Space

Biofach Latin America 2007, which took place between October 16 and 18, in São Paulo, had a space exclusively dedicated to organic cosmetics. Chemical engineer Geysa Belém, the owner of Arte dos Aromas, based in the city of Diadema, made use of the opportunity to launch a special line of natural body-hydrating butter with organic ingredients and scented oils from the Amazon.

Among them Brazil nuts, cupuassu, buriti palm and andiroba. “Our products are free of parabens and do not contain mineral oils, artificial pigments and ingredients of animal origin,” explained Geysa.

According to the entrepreneur, the growing demand and the concept of working with ecologically correct products caused her entry into the organic cosmetic market.

“I have been working with organic inputs since 2004. This year I started using just certified ingredients and I am awaiting the brand certification process to start exports,” said Geysa. France and Germany are the countries that post the greatest potential, in the businesswoman’s evaluation.

Moisturizers, bath and massage oils, clay for facial use and bath salts by Arte dos Aromas are traded in natural product shops, mainly in the south and southeast of Brazil. Next year the target is to expand to the north and northeast of the country.

To add value to the products, the company sets up kits with baskets and sieves made by riverside communities in the Amazon, and also add gourds with texts that recall the culture of the Marajoara, Kayapó, Xingu and Assurini native tribes.

Another producer from São Paulo, Phytophilo, had a stand at the Biofach to announce the pre-launch of the Phytophilo Organics line. The line, to be 100% organic, should arrive on the market in December. According to Adriane Falcão, the sales supervisor, the new line includes body treatment like liquid soap, bath salts, bath foam and moisturizing cream. Hair care includes shampoo, conditioner and hair treatment.

According to Adriane, all the organic components are certified and the formulas do not contain lauryl and sodium, chemical substances found in all traditional cosmetics and that may cause allergies. “They (lauryl and sodium) are the hardest ingredients to replace for natural ingredients. After great research, we managed to find the natural formula to replace the function of these chemicals,” she guarantees.

On the domestic market the products are traded in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Pará, Maranhão and Paraná. The other company lines have been exported to Kuwait, Portugal and England for around five months. “As soon as the company receives the organic certificate for the new line we will be able to start foreign sales,” she says.

Precious Amazon

Concerns with environmental defense and with the generation of consumer awareness for the use of natural and organic products starts with the president of Surya Brasil, Clélia Angelon, who always had great affinity with a lifestyle engaged with nature.

“Developing organic cosmetics had been part of our plans for years. This is an evolution of the company’s thought pattern,” stated Clélia.

According to her, the Amazônia Preciosa organic line, certified by Ecocert in April this year, was initially launched as a natural line, and took almost one year to be developed. But not only the product is organic.

“The concept and the package are too. The Amazônia Preciosa pots are biodegradable. It is the only package of the sort in Brazil, and we won the Embanews Highlight of the Year award,” she says.

The organic line includes hair care – shampoo, conditioner and mask – and facial care – moisturizer, clay mask and facial tonic. What stands out the most is the clay mask package, made out of wood lignin. When disposed of, it degenerates in up to eight months, without polluting the environment. The rest of the organic line is made with 100% recyclable amber PET to protect the product from the effects of light.

Surya also recently launched an organic antiseptic hand gel. The product should please both the domestic and foreign market. “What happens is that the foreign market already has a distribution network and a demand for organic products, so it is easier to sell to American and European clients right from the start. In Brazil we are still establishing this clientele, but we are very enthusiastic. We participated in Biofach Latin America in October and have generated great interest,” she said.

In Clélia’s opinion, the global tendency is for cosmetics to move towards natural and organic products. “We participated in Biofach Latin America, and also in the fairs in the United States, Japan and Nuremberg (Germany), and have seen how this segment is growing strongly,” she explained.

“In Nuremberg, next year, the cosmetics sector is going to have a separate fair from the Biofach, called Vivaness. Now, in the Brazilian market, consumers are getting prepared, and we are proud of taking part in this process,” she added.

The products made by Surya Brasil, which is specialized in the production of cosmetics based on plants and herbs from the Amazon and India, have already broken out of the country borders. Apart from the head office in São Paulo, the company also has offices in the United States and India and exports to countries like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Japan, the United States, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Chile and Uruguay.

Forestry Project

The Forestry School is a project developed by Surya Solidária (Surya Solidarity), a Surya Brazil unit dedicated to actions and projects turned to the environment, education and social integration. Promoted in Manaus, in the state of Amazonas (northern Brazil), the objective is to train people to work as forestry identifiers and foresters, whose work in locating and collecting plants.

“The work started one year ago. They are six-monthly courses and include around 30 students per group. It is a project that changes according to the needs of those participating. It may even become a cooperative. The idea is to help the natives support themselves from the forest, and not investing in soy or cattle, destroying the habitat in the region,” explained Surya president Clélia Angelon.

According to her, the foresters currently in activity know the forest very well, but what they lack is scientific knowledge for botanical classification of the thousands of existing plants. “The students trained are capable of working with companies that develop research, or as ecological guides in the collection of plants, without losses to natural resources,” she explained.

The Forestry Project is developed in partnership with the Botanical Garden of Manaus, which offered its installations and made available the edges of the Ducke Biological Reservation for promotion of the project.

Natural Magic

Cupuassu, buriti, andiroba, rosemary, lavender, marigold, lemon, orange, geranium and roses are some of the ingredients used by Magia dos Aromas, whose mission is to “research, develop and produce organic cosmetics”.

Having been certified by the Biodynamic Institute (IBD) a year and a half ago, the factory in the city of Botucatu, in the interior of São Paulo, produces lotions and moisturizing cream, soap, moisturizing oil, repellent and body deodorant.

“Our family had a manipulation chemist and we started noticing that many people complained of allergies caused by cosmetics with synthetic products. They also found it had to find natural formulas. That was what caused us to invest in the organic cosmetic factory,” explained Marcos Caram, a grandson of Syrians and Lebanese and one of the partners at Magia dos Aromas.

The small factory has seven employees and the raw material is found in several Brazilian states. “A significant share of the products come from the south, north and northeast of the Amazon,” stated Caram. According to him, one of the main products made by the company is scented oil used to scent environments and for massage, after being diluted in carrier oils.

The domestic market, according to Caram, has already accepted organic cosmetics made by Magia dos Aromas, which intends to increase its production capacity in the near future. “We already have distributors in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro (SE Brazil) and chemists in Rio Grande do Sul (S) and Goiás (MW), and we hope to be selling all over Brazil in coming months,” stated Caram.

Talks with the foreign market have also generated their first results in 2007. “We received several contacts from countries in Europe. We had already sent samples and are now awaiting the closing of the first orders,” explained the excited businessman.


Reserva Folio
Telephone: (+55 22) 2522.1492

Arte dos Aromas
Telephone: (+55 11) 4043.1820

Telephone: (+55 11) 5642.1162

Telephone: (+55 11) 3732.3417

Magia dos Aromas
Telephone: (+55 14) 3813.8431

Anba –


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