Published: 12 July 2023  (Updated: 12 July 2023)

OPSS Product Safety Consumer Research

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is part of the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), and is the national regulator for all consumer products (excluding vehicles, medicines and food) and for legal metrology.  OPSS aims to deliver consumer protection and develop business understanding of their regulatory obligations.

OPSS have commissioned YouGov. to conduct research on consumer attitudes and awareness as a key aspect of developing reactive regulation. This stems from the view of OPSS that consumer products are more easily accessible than ever and therefore regulation needs to be adapted and updated regularly

The main objective of the research was to understand consumer views on a range of product safety issues exploring topical policy areas including online shopping, second hand shopping and inclusive design.  Below CTPA have summarised the key findings in relation to cosmetics:

Product safety

  • The public felt that products must be safe for all members of society, particularly those who are the most vulnerable e.g. children.
  • For cosmetic products the brand name is most important when making a purchase choice of a safe product, and is used as an indicator of trustworthiness.
  • The UK public is least likely to buy cosmetics second hand when compared to other product types.
  • The UK public are more concerned with the level of safety of a product from outside the UK or EU on an online marketplace, with older respondents aged 65 and over being the most likely to be concerned. 

Safety reporting

  • Those who experienced a safety issue with cosmetics rated the severity of the issue lowest compared to other product types.
  • Those who experienced an issue with cosmetics are the most likely to report experiencing physical harm from the product.
  • Just under a third of those who experienced a safety issue with cosmetics took no action at all.
  • Those aged between 18 and 29 are more likely than any other age group to report seeing a recall notice for a cosmetic product they own.


  • The origin of the product is likely to be associated with the reputation of the manufacturer. There was a broad assumption that product testing standards in the UK were of a higher standard. 
  • Just over one in ten consumers expect to see safety information about the cosmetic product on the product label.
  • Just under one in ten consumers would like to access safety information through a QR code printed on a product label.

Product specific research

This report presents findings on specific product types including eyelash serums/creams for cosmetics.  They key findings were:

  • Nine out of ten of the UK public have not used any eyelash serums/creams.
  • Younger respondents (aged 18 to 29) being the most likely to have used them.
  • A quarter of those who bought eyelash serums/creams purchased them from a high street retailer.
  • Almost half of respondents who use eyelash serums experienced a side effect of some kind, with itchiness and irritation being the most common.

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