Know the legislation before selling your homemade cosmetics!

What you absolutely need to know before selling your homemade organic cosmetics

The cosmetics market is regulated and requires any retailer to comply with the legislation, whether it is an international brand or an individual interested in selling its homemade organic/natural cosmetics.

When large organisations have many people working for them and making sure their products are compliant, the small retailer hasn’t.

This is why I have summarised  in this article the law and regulation 2008 concerning cosmetics in the UK.

This article is for guidance only. To read the full law and legislation for cosmetics,
follow the link at the end of this article.

Before you can sell your handmade soaps or cosmetic products in the UK or any part of the EU, you need to do a little bit of homework and make sure that your goods and practices adhere to the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008 (latest amended regulation to date).

Please note that a new regulation will be in place from July 2013. It will replace the current legislation for cosmetics and personal care products across Europe.

                      1 – Safety requirement:

No person shall supply a cosmetic product which may cause damage to human
health when applied under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of
use, taking into account, in particular:

  • the product’s presentation,
  • its labeling,
  • any instructions for its use and disposal, and any other indications

– What does it mean in practice of the homemade organic products seller?

  • you must conduct a health assessment of all your products (I mentioned it in more details later on the page). You need to test your products before selling them with a recognized organization (not your family or friends…)
  • you must have an insurance that covers you against any possible claims against your products.

                      2 – Labeling requirements

No person shall supply a cosmetic product unless the container and packaging bear the following information in indelible, easily legible and visible lettering.

If you want to be perceived as a serious and honest company, add the following requirements to your products.

Every manufacturer and retailer must include:

  • the name or style and the address or registered office of the manufacturer or the person responsible for marketing the cosmetic product who is established within the EEA.
  • the date of minimum durability- indicated by the words: ‘best used before the end of’ followed by either the date itself, or details of where it appears on the packaging;
  • particular precautions to be observed in use. The ‘Conditions of use and warnings which must be printed on the label.
  • the batch number of manufacture or the reference for identifying the goods;
    This is a very important information that is way too often overlooked.
  • the function of the product, unless it is clear from the presentation of the product;
  • a list, preceded by the word ‘ingredients’ of the ingredients in descending order of weight as they are added
  • an ingredient must be identified by the name provided for in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) or in the absence of such identification, by its chemical name, its CFTA name, its European Pharmacopoeia name, its International Non-proprietary name (INN) as recommended by the World Health Organisation, its EINECS, IUPAC or CAS identification reference or its colour index number.

However some elements of the final product shall not be regarded as ingredients:

  •  impurities in the raw materials used;
  •  subsidiary technical materials used in the preparation but not present in the final product
  • materials used in strictly necessary quantities as solvents or as carriers for perfumes and aromatic compositions
  • perfume and aromatic compositions and their raw materials shall be referred to by the word ‘perfume’ or ‘aroma’.
  • ingredients in concentrations of less than 1% may be listed in any order after those in concentrations of more than 1%;
  • colouring agents may be listed in any order after the other ingredients
  •  for decorative cosmetic products marked in several colour shades, all colouring agents used in the range may be listed, provided that the words ‘may contain’ or ‘+/-‘ are added.

                      3 – Claim no animal testing

The supply of a cosmetic product in respect of which a claim that the product or its ingredients have not been tested on animals appears on the packaging or in any documents, notice, label, ring or collar accompanying or referring to the product is only permitted if:

  • the manufacturer and his supplier have not carried out any such tests on the finished product, its prototype or on any of the ingredients contained in the finished product or its prototype;
  • (b) the manufacturer and his supplier have not commissioned any such tests on the finished product, its prototype or on any of the ingredients contained in the finished product or its prototype; and
  • the cosmetic product contains no ingredients which have been tested on animals by others for the purposes of developing new cosmetic products.

** Point 3 – Information you need to keep for competent authorities

                      4 – Information you need to keep avaialable for competent autorities at any time

Where a cosmetic product is manufactured or supplied in the United Kingdom a responsible person shall keep the following information easily accessible to a United Kingdom competent authority for control purposes:

  • the qualitative and quantitative composition of the product,
  • the physico-chemical and microbiological specifications of the raw materials and the finished product and the purity and microbiological control criteria of the cosmetic product;
  • The cosmetic product shall be manufactured in such a way that under normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use it shall not endanger human health or safety;
  • a specific health assessment in respect of cosmetic products intended for use on children under the age of 3 and for cosmetic products intended exclusively for use in external intimate hygiene;

Every cosmetic product placed on the market requires a safety assessment carried out by a suitably European qualified professional. The website for the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association at has a
link to the Regulations and can provide a list of safety assessors.

  • the name and address of the qualified person or persons responsible for the health assessment;
  •  existing data on undesirable effects on human health resulting from use of the cosmetic product;
  • proof of the effect claimed for the cosmetic product, where justified by the nature of the effect or product; and
  • data on any animal testing performed by the manufacturer, his agents or suppliers, relating to the development or safety evaluation of the product or its ingredients, including any animal testing performed to meet the legislative or regulatory requirements of countries which are not Member States;

                      5 – Fine and law enforcement

Any person guilty of an offence shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to imprisonment not exceeding three months and, on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment not exceeding six

To see here the complete cosmetic product regulation (2008 if not updated since),
click here:

You will also find out in the above document:

  • Substances which must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products
  • List of colouring agetns allowed for use in cosmetic products
  • List of preservatives allowed
  • List of preservatives provisionally allowed
  • List of permitted UV filters which cosmetic products may contain

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