UK Cosmetics Regulations and Amendments

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:

Products placed on the market in the UK, which includes Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI), must comply with both the UK Cosmetics Regulation (UK CR) and EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (EU CPR).  The NI Protocol may be amended in the future as part of ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU.  CTPA will update this advice should the negotiated terms change.

CTPA has published detailed guidance related to the supply of cosmetic products into the market in the UK, as well as the EU (including NI).  To better understand the relevant guidance to the applicable legislation, we encourage you to download the guidance for the UK market as a first step.  Further help can also be found by watching the recording of the CTPA open webinar on UK Regulations for cosmetics which took place on 9 March 2021.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is the competent authority for cosmetic products in the UK, and has issued guidance on cosmetic compliance for the GB and NI markets, as well as a general guidance

Tracker of ingredients status divergence between the EU and the UK 

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has not yet published the Annexes to the UK Cosmetics Regulation.  The UK adopted the EU Annexes of the Cosmetics Regulation up until 31 December 2020; the EU consolidated text published on 3 December 2020 contains the version of the Annexes that is currently applicable to the UK.  Companies can therefore use this version of the EU Annexes for formulating in the UK until further communication.  Many of the changes that occurred under the EU Cosmetics Regulation from 1 January 2021 are expected to also be implemented in the UK, once a clear process to manage cosmetic ingredients under the UK Cosmetics Regulation is in place.  However, we do not know the timing for this yet.  CTPA will keep companies informed.

The below table aims to address the points of divergence between the Annexes of the EU Cosmetics Regulation and the UK Cosmetics Regulation.  CTPA updates this table as and when the two markets implement different rules.

EU Annexes

UK Annexes

Titanium dioxide (Annex III, IV and VI – restrictions for certain particle sizes for inhalation exposure, see flowchart in Reference Zone page).  Applied from 1 October 2021.

Titanium dioxide (Annex III, IV and VI – restrictions as per EU situation prior to 01.10.21, which means fewer restrictions currently than in EU)  

Salicylic acid (Annex III – restricted at 3% in rinse-off hair products; 2% in other products except body lotion, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, roll-on deodorant; 0.5% in body lotion, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, roll-on deodorant; not to be used in specific types of products and related labelling requirements).  Applied from 17 June 2021.

Salicylic acid (Annex III – restricted at 3% in rinse-off hair products; 2% in other products except body lotion, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, roll-on deodorant; 0.5% in body lotion, eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, roll-on deodorant; not to be used in specific types of products and related labelling requirements)

For the 0.5% restriction the placing on the market deadline is 15.12.2022, making available deadline is 15.03.23

Tetrahydropyranyloxy phenol (Annex II). Applied from 26 July 2021.

Annex II. Placing on the market deadline is 15.12.22, making available on the market deadline is 15.03.23

DHA (Annex III entry 321, restricted to 10% in self-tan and 6.25% in non-oxidative hair dye).  Will apply from 22 April 2022.

No restriction published yet

Butylphenyl methylpropional (Annex II).  Will apply from 1 March 2022.

Annex II. Placing on the market deadline is 15.10.22, making available on the market deadline is 15.12.22

Methoxyethyl acrylate (Annex II).  Will apply from 1 March 2022.

Annex II. Placing on the market deadline is 15.10.22, making available on the market deadline is 15.12.22

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (Annex II and Annex V amendment if the maximum theoretical concentration of releasable formaldehyde, irrespective of the source, in the mixture as placed on the market is ≥ 0,1 % w/w). Will apply from 1 March 2022.

Annex II. Placing on the market deadline is 15.10.22, making available on the market deadline is 15.12.22

Annex V amendment if the maximum theoretical concentration of releasable formaldehyde, irrespective of the source, in the mixture as placed on the market is ≥ 0,1 % w/w

Zinc pyrithione (Annex II). Will apply from 1 March 2022.

Annex II. Placing on the market deadline is 15.10.22, making available on the market deadline is 15.12.22

Methyl-N-methylanthranilate (Annex III). Will apply from 21 November 2022.

No restriction published yet.

5th CMR Omnibus (contains methylene di-t-butylcresol, methyl isobutyl ketone which will be added to Annex II; methyl salicylate will be added to Annex III). Will apply from 17 December 2022.

No restriction published yet, but expected in the future.

18th ATP tp CLP/6th CMR Omnibus (contains benzophenone, theophylline, melamine, margosa (azadirachta indica) extract, trimethylolpropane triacrylate, pentetic acid, pentasodium pentetate which will be added to Annex II). Will apply from 1 December 2023.

No ban published yet, but expected in the future if the same harmonised classification is assessed under GB CLP.

Specific Questions?

If you have specific questions, the Frequently Asked Questions section has a comprehensive list of the sort of questions we are routinely asked.