It’s an exciting opportunity for any person considering entrepreneurship in the cosmetic industry. The cosmetic industry is one of the most lucrative markets in the world. Cosmetics consists of antiperspirants, fragrances, makeup and shampoo, soaps, sunscreens, and toothpaste. The use of these products is associated with improved healthy lifestyles and improves self-esteem.

In 2017, the cosmetic European market was estimated to be 77.6 billion Euros making Europe the largest market in the world. Consequently, Germany has the largest market at 13.6 billion Euros, followed by France, the UK, Italy, and Spain respectively.

According to a study conducted by French trade offices, Germany remains the leading European market for cosmetics. This is possible bearing in mind that the country is praised for its efficiency in manufacturing eco-friendly products. Besides, the industry is considered extremely reliable and praised for the relevance of its industrial tool and the quality of its products.

What are Eco-friendly Cosmetics?

Echo–friendly cosmetics is simply the term used to describe products using environmentally-friendly formulations, production practices, and packaging methods. Recently, there has been uproar and demand for more environmentally friendly products. Many manufacturers are therefore shifting gears to produce more natural and environmentally-friendly emulsifiers and ingredients in their products.

Traditional cosmetics vs eco-friendly cosmetics

The packaging of cosmetic products can take hundreds of years to break down in landfill whilst leaching toxins into the soil and waterways. Most mainstream cosmetics are filled with toxic chemicals, these chemicals eventually make their way into our soil and oceans destroying natural habitat and wildlife.

In addition to that, traditional cosmetics contain silicones, mineral oils, synthetic polymers, preservatives, and artificial perfumes. Prolonged use of these products can lead to disastrous health effects. Whereas, in organic cosmetics, we have plant elements, such as vegetable oils, essential oils, active ingredients, and natural perfumes which replace the synthetic elements.

Today, eco-friendly products have been embraced because they ensure safety from all dangerous chemicals, and allows families to avoid risky additives that can cause any of these issues. Using eco-friendly products improves the quality of life in terms of mortality, age, diseases, and illnesses. They ensure the safety of families and the planet.

The cosmetic industry hasn’t been left behind and there is an increase in the production of eco-friendly cosmetics. This means that if a cosmetic product is eco-friendly its composition is purely organic.

Cosmetic product manufacturing is increasingly oriented towards efficient technologies that help reduce energy and water consumption, emissions, and waste. Recyclable packaging has been developed and uses sustainably sourced material, as well as water-based coatings and vegetable-based inks. The cosmetics industry has taken a broad range of measures to enhance the sustainability of its manufacturing.

How to source eco-friendly cosmetics from Europe

Know which buyers to target

To avoid getting frustrated it is important to first conduct in-depth market research before you start approaching buyers as this can save you much time and resources. Have in mind how the industry is structured and what the supply chain looks like. It is also important to be aware of your business strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge will help you find suitable buyers that meet your needs. For example, knowing your production capacity and how much volume you can supply will help you gauge what type of buyers are a good match for you.

Suppliers of natural ingredients from developing countries should look to target distributors or cosmetics companies directly. European buyers of natural ingredients for cosmetics vary in size as well as their product range. With a growing trend towards natural products, more conventional cosmetics companies are adding natural ingredients to their formulations.

Participate in industry trade fairs and events

Participating and attending trade fairs that focus on the cosmetic industry will help you gain access to legit manufacturers. Put a lot of emphasis on attending and focusing on natural and organic cosmetic trade fairs. You could specifically target events that focus on natural cosmetics and sustainability. By attending such events, you could gain valuable insights into trends and developments in the sector and network with potential customers.

This gives you a great opportunity to have direct contact with various importers as well as get an idea about your competition and their prices. However, with the recent ongoing pandemic, some of the crucial factors you must carefully consider include the severity of COVID-19 in the country where the trade fair will take place along with the travel, quarantine, and lockdown measures you will have to comply with during your journey and after arrival.

Connect with sector associations

Key sectors that can help you reach out to reliable European cosmetic manufacturers include European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients (EFfCI) an organization for the ingredients sector. Its members are public authorities, trade groups, and private organizations inside and outside the European Union. You can find the list of members on the EFfCI website.

Another key sector to look into is Cosmetics Europe which represents the cosmetics industry in Europe. Its members are personal care manufacturers, as well as associations representing the cosmetics sector at the national level. The full list of members is available on the Cosmetics Europe website. Industry updates can be found on its COVID-19 Resource Platform.

Use the services of a global sourcing agency

Sourcing companies are great when you want to connect and find legit manufacturers. Finding the right manufacturers alone in Europe is like finding a needle in a haystack. In fact, finding reliable and trustable eco-friendly cosmetic manufacturers can be challenging and cumbersome especially if you have no idea where to start or you’re new in the cosmetic world.

That’s where the services of sourcing companies and specialists come into play. Instead of navigating the sourcing process alone, sourcing companies can act on your behalf. Besides finding the right manufacturers for you, sourcing companies will help you negotiate with manufacturers and hence get the best deals. Besides, they effectively take charge of the whole sourcing process without any hiccups and ensure that you get the right products. Sourcing specialists will be on the ground and ensure that what is manufactured is indeed natural and eco-friendly.


The desire to replace synthetic ingredients with natural variants has become the new normal. With the growing consumer awareness of natural and eco-friendly cosmetics, the demand for the use of natural ingredients has skyrocketed. Exporters of natural ingredients are today presented with great opportunities by the European cosmetic manufacturing market.