How do I find out if I can use a ingredient in cosmetics?
The EU Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009 controls what may or may not be put in a cosmetic product and in many cases specifies how certain cosmetic ingredients must be used. This decision tree is intended to take you through the steps of checking whether a substance is prohibited, restricted or otherwise permitted for use.
At each stage you will need to check whether your ingredient is listed in a particular Annex to the Regulation. Substances are identified in the Annexes using information such as chemical name or INN (Non-proprietary Names), CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) number, EC (European Community) number, common ingredient names found in Commission Decision (EU) 2019/701 (Glossary), or in the case of colorants, by their Colour Index (CI) number.
Links to the Regulation and its Annexes can be found here on our website. For ease of reference, the European Commission provides an unofficial consolidated text, (also available on the above linked page) that incorporates any changes made to the Annexes up to the date it was published. Please ensure you check each individual Regulation published after this date for any subsequent changes that may affect your ingredient.
The European Commission also provides a database of information on cosmetic ingredients called CosIng. This includes information on whether a substance is listed under the Annexes to the Cosmetic Regulation. CosIng is a useful tool but is not legal text and is known to contain errors - always refer to the Cosmetic Regulation Annexes to confirm the regulatory status of an ingredient.
Please note that this decision tree is a helpful tool to introduce you to the Annexes. If in any doubt about a particular substance it is recommended that you check with your raw material supplier or a consultant specialising in the cosmetics legislation. Whilst CTPA cannot recommend individual companies, our website has an interactive list of members allowing you to search for specific services.Start