All cosmetics made and sold in the UK and EU, whether by large companies or individuals, must comply with the cosmetics laws.
This page explains the legal obligations when manufacturing, placing or importing a cosmetic product onto the UK or EU market. While CTPA provides below the links to the legal text, we understand that the laws are a long read and can be daunting! However, knowing what you need to do is really important because cosmetic products are used on our bodies and the strict safety rules are in place to ensure our consumers’ safety. Ignorance of the legislation is no defense in a court of law. Therefore, we also provide guidance to make the legislation more approachable.
As well as the text and guidance here, there is a comprehensive FAQs section that can further help you navigate the legal requirements.
All cosmetic products placed on the market of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) intended for sale or to be given away for free in the course of a commercial activity must comply with:
- Schedule 34 of the Product Safety and Metrology Statutory Instrument (hereafter ‘the UK Regulation) for cosmetics marketed in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland);
- Regulation EC 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products for cosmetics marketed in Northern Ireland. This is in accordance with the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.
- cosmetic products solely placed on the GB market must comply with the UK Regulation only;
- cosmetic products solely placed on the NI market must comply with the EU Regulation only.
It is essential that the relevant legislation is followed and businesses are strongly encouraged to download and read the guide as a first step. Further help can be found by watching the recording of the CTPA open webinar on UK Regulations for cosmetics.
Businesses should also refer to the relevant laws in full and ensure compliance before placing a product on the market. We suggest that if you are in doubt you should take legal advice.
In the European Union (EU), the manufacture of cosmetics is governed by the EU Cosmetics Regulation ((EC) No. 1223/2009).
- Regulation (EU) No. 344/2013
- Regulation (EU) No. 483/2013
- Regulation (EU) No. 658/2013
- Regulation (EU) No. 655/2013 (Common Criteria for Justification of Claims)
(+ Guidelines to Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013)
- Regulation (EU) No. 1197/2013
- Implementing Decision No. 674/2013 (Guidelines on Annex I)
- Regulation (EU) No. 358/2014
- Regulation (EU) No. 866/2014 + Corrigendum
- Regulation (EU) No. 1003/2014
- Regulation (EU) No. 1004/2014
- Regulation (EU) 2015/1190
- Regulation (EU) 2015/1298
- Regulation (EU) 2016/314 + Corrigendum
- Regulation (EU) 2016/621
- Regulation (EU) 2016/622
- Regulation (EU) 2016/1120
- Regulation (EU) 2016/1121
- Regulation (EU) 2016/1143
- Regulation (EU) 2016/1198
- Regulation (EU) 2017/237
- Regulation (EU) 2017/238
- Regulation (EU) 2017/1224
- Technical Document on Cosmetic Claims (agreed by Member States)
- Regulation (EU) 2017/1410
- Regulation (EU) 2017/1413
- Regulation (EU) 2017/2228 + Corrigendum
- Regulation (EU) 2018/885
- Regulation (EU) 2018/978 + Corrigendum
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1847
- Regulation (EU) 2019/680
- Regulation (EU) 2019/681
- Regulation (EU) 2019/698
- Regulation (EU) 2019/831
- Regulation (EU) 2019/1257 (relevant to Bulgarian language version only)
- Regulation (EU) 2019/1857
- Regulation (EU) 2019/1858
- Regulation (EU) 2019/1966 + Corrigendum + Corrigendum (II)
Note: The annexes to the Cosmetics Regulation document reflect the situation at the time of adoption of the proposal on 5 February 2008 and do not reflect the current situation. Any updated entries can be found in subsequent amending Regulations (see above list).
EU Consolidated Text
A consolidated (reference only) text is available from the European Commission.
- Consolidated text (up to 1 May 2020) - does not include Regulations/Decisions published after this date.
In addition to the list above, the EU Commission publishes a list of amendments and corrections.
The European Commission has issued a number of guidance documents including:
- guidelines on the 'Period After Opening' requirement.
- a recommendation establishing guidelines on the use of claims referring to the absence of tests on animals.
- a manual on 'borderline products'.
These are available on the European Commission website for cosmetics.
For key points from the legislation see the CTPA guide 'Making or Supplying a Cosmetic Product'
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