When it was founded in 1877, Cosmydor specialised in the manufacture of premium soaps and eaux de toilette. It was hugely successful for almost a century thanks to the quality of its products, the originality of its fragrances and packaging, and the beauty of the illustrations used in its advertisements – including the iconic woman painted in 1891 by Jules Chéret, a famous artist of the time. The brand, which won prizes at the Universal Exhibitions in Paris in 1889 and 1900, disappeared in the late 1960s due to a succession crisis.
In 2015, a French entrepreneur fascinated by heritage brands and a naturopathy-lover creative rediscovered Cosmydor and were struck by its incredible aesthetic, original personality, and deep botanical roots. They decided to bring it back to life through exceptionally high quality cosmetics in line with the public’s new expectations for naturalness and authenticity. They wrote an extremely demanding list of specifications and spent a year researching the best way to manufacture their products in a 100% artisanal manner and using aromatherapy-inspired 100% active natural components in France to meet the strictest “organic” requirements, while minimising environmental impact.
Cosmydor now offers a full range of products of the highest quality for all skin types.
ULTRA-CONCENTRATION IN ACTIVE NATURAL COMPONENTS
It is not water, nor oil-based paraffin, nor even texture agents such as silicon or synthetic ingredients – however “innovative” they may be – that guarantee the efficiency of a cleansing or skincare product. What they do guarantee are financial margins by avoiding the use of more costly manufacturing processes and by reducing active natural components that offer quality and efficiency.
Our approach, based on modern aromatherapy principles, is the opposite: we use as few ingredients as possible, and more active components. Vegetable oils and essential oils known for their moisturising, soothing, antioxidant, antiseptic and regenerating powers are not merely ingredients to us, they form the basis of our formulas. We only include active natural components in our products; we do not dilute to lower the cost; we remove anything unnecessary.
If we post the composition of our products on our website in a readable way it is because we have nothing to hide, and our active natural components represent from 35% to 99.5% of the cream or balm you buy.
ARTISANAL SENSIBLE MANUFACTURING METHODS
Conversion processes are just as important as the quality and quantity of active natural components. To allow them to retain all their benefits, they should be modified as little as possible and respected. When refining a good hemp oil, not only are its fibres that contain tannins and vitamins removed but, and most importantly, the fatty acids that make it up are changed and, although they bear the same name (the labelling “trans” for a converted fatty acid is not required), they become harmful to health.
Our processes are artisanal because they require ongoing human intervention and surveillance, a skill comparable to that of a carpenter, a master violin-maker or a seamstress working for one of the great fashion houses. We respect nature as much as possible at every stage of the manufacturing process, attempting to create a harmony between what it offers us and what we ask of it for our skin. The irregularity of our solid soaps, the organic deposits you sometimes see in our liquid soaps, as well as the oils in some of our creams, are signs that our products are fresh and our expertise artisanal.
Cold process soap-making
The solid soaps you usually buy are hot-processed, in keeping with the leading industrial method. The increase in the temperature of the oils allows for the acceleration of the chemical reaction, speed and production quantity but is not without consequences for the oils and active natural components. Once mistreated, they break down and lose their properties. The naturally produced glycerine is removed and only the detergent properties of the soap are retained. Deprived of vitamins, fatty acids and natural glycerine, these hot-processed soaps strip the skin without offering any benefits. Recomposed glycerine, chemical agents and fats are often added in order to rebalance the skin’s pH, moisturise it minimally and allow the “ultra-rich” marketing card to be played.
Good to know: read the label!
Legislation requires manufacturers to indicate the components in descending order according to their percentage. You will notice that the percentage of useless or even harmful ingredients is often the vast majority, at the expense of quality active natural components. Cosmetics that boast the merits and benefits of an active natural component such as jojoba oil or lavender essential oil will often only contain between 1% and 2% of these ingredients.
Conversely, cold-process soap-making respects thousand-year-old artisanal methods of soap-making. It keeps the virtues and benefits of the vegetable oils and essential oils intact. Worked at low temperatures, the fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants naturally present in the oils are preserved. The natural glycerine that results from the saponification reaction is also retained, allowing optimal skin hydration. To achieve this, production must be carefully watched to manually adjust the ingredients... not to mention the patience required to wait three weeks for the soap to harden naturally.
Cosmydor holds the only certification in France relative to cold process soap-making.
It is impossible not to use a preservative in a cosmetic that contains water, for reasons of hygiene, safety and minimum use time.
Industrial cosmetics may have stopped using parabens but unfortunately they have replaced these with equally toxic preservatives such as triclosan, also known as 5- chloro-2-(2.4-di- chlorophenol), phenol, cetrimonium bromide, methylisothiazolinone, formaldehyde and phenoxyethanol.
We are currently testing the use of completely natural preservatives (i.e. extracted from plants), but our data does not yet stretch back far enough to guarantee their effectiveness in all cases, and no-one else does. We use preservatives from natural origins, i.e. naturally present in nature but manufactured, and always approved by our organic certification.
You will notice that the best before dates on our products are shorter (usually 12 months from manufacture) than those containing dubious preservatives (3 to 5 years); this is a conscious and conscientious manufacturing decision, the choice of fresh products without risks for the human being.
We promote a responsible manufacturing policy because we believe it is foolish to make use of the benefits of nature while continuing to devastate it through habit, greed or carelessness. Cosmydor favours handmade over mechanisation and human expertise over automation.
The most demanding organic certification
All our products are certified by the organic Nouvelle Cosmétique label, hence comply with the strictest specifications of all existing labels in France, and probably elsewhere globally. Our agricultural raw materials come from organic farming. We favour harvested products. Naturally derived substances are tolerated if no organic ingredients can replace their function.
One very simple example of eco-responsibility is the use of powdered almond kernels, coffee beans or wheat germ in our exfoliating products (creams and soaps). Why on earth would you use plastic micro-beads, which end up in our oceans causing enormous damage to flora and fauna, when such simple and natural – still very efficient - solutions exist?
Our “no plastic/optional packaging” policy
Plastic, even if it is recycled, is still plastic which sooner or later ends up in the natural environment, poisoning it for centuries to come. Using cardboard with sophisticated printing techniques for packaging which is not intended to last after purchase does not seem sensible to us either. That is why we have opted for a “no plastic” policy.
Our jars, bottles and tubes are designed from noble and environmentally-friendly materials, such as opaline glass, Miron glass and aluminium – they also protect the organic molecules in our formulas.
Our products are only wrapped in tissue paper which is 100% biodegradable and made using artisanal processes in France. For our products’ transportation and presentation, we have chosen organic cotton bags or nice reusable boxes.
When we have no choice but to create a secondary packaging, it is only in recyclable cardboard and multi-use. For instance our creams’ boxes are designed to be re-used for decoration and storage of your little objects. We also incentivise our clients to avoid them by offering a discount when they buy without secondary packaging on our e-commerce website.
We are currently seeking innovative and effective solutions to get rid of the last plastic elements we use once and for all, namely the pumps for our liquid soaps (although they are as small and economical as possible) and the lids for our tubes - which make us “only” 99.5% plastic-free. We have also launched a re-filling system for our liquid soaps and are working on recycled paper alternatives for wrapping our solid soaps.
In fact, we reject the very idea of “packaging”, and prefer to present and transport our creams and soaps in objects in their own right, capable of being an integral part of your bathroom’s aesthetic.
A very French artisanal know-how, which enables to create exceptionally effective products for the skin, thanks to their:
MAXIMUM QUANTITY OF ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
They are the key to an effective formula because they are the ingredients that actually have an effect on your skin. Giving their exact percentage is the only way to inform about real effect on your skin.
The way in which we source our ingredients (organic crops, others harvested by hand) and the extraction methods we use (e.g. first cold press for vegetable oils) guarantee high-quality ingredients.
This relies on the combination of age-old botanical know-how and modern bio-analyses, like chromatography, enabling us to precisely identify which plants and plant parts contain the most active ingredients.
GENTLE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
There is no point in choosing the best plants and growing and harvesting them in the best possible conditions if the manufacturing processes damage their active ingredients. Craftsmanship is the most respectful way of preserving them.
It is foolish to make use of the benefits of Nature while continuing to devastate it through habit, greed or carelessness.
BEING NATURAL & FRESH
A demanding organic certification guarantees the origins of our ingredients, with no chemicals whatsoever. Smells and textures come solely from the active natural ingredients used in the formulas. Naturally derived preservatives, in minimum quantities. 100% biodegradable products.
NO PLASTIC CONTAINERS
No plastic containers whatsoever: instead we use glass, opaline glass and aluminium; even cardboard packaging is reduced to a strict minimum.
MINIMUM CARBON FOOTPRINT
Priority given to local production and manufacturing (origin of ingredients; 100% European jars, tubes and boxes; 100% French printing) in order to minimise transport and reduce carbon footprint.
RE-USE AND REFILL
We are currently looking for solutions allowing us to set up a deposit and re-use system for our glassware. Our liquid soaps are already available in eco-refills.