Regulation and Safety

In the early 1970′s, the Member States of the EU decided to harmonise their national cosmetic regulations in order to enable the free circulation of cosmetic products within the Community.

As a result of numerous discussions between experts from all Member States, Council Directive 76/768/EEC was adopted on 27 July 1976. The principles laid down in the Cosmetics Directive take into account the needs of the consumer while encouraging commercial exchange and eliminating barriers to trade. For example, if a product is to move freely within the EU, the same labelling, packaging and safety regulations must apply.

This is one of the main objectives of the Cosmetics Directive: to give clear guidance on what requirements a safe cosmetic product should fulfil in order to freely circulate within the EU, without pre-market authorisation. The Cosmetics Directive aims to guarantee the safety of cosmetic products for human use. This safety relates to composition, packaging and information and it falls totally under the responsibility of the producer or the importer into the EU who is responsible for marketing liability. There is no pre-market control for cosmetic products at Member State or EU level.

Control of cosmetic products within the EU is assured through the responsibility of the person who places the product on the market, a simple notification ofmanufacturing/importing site, and an in-market surveillance system. The legislation consists of the basic Council Directive 76/768/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products, andCommission Directive 95/17/EC laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Directive 76/768/EEC as regards the non-inclusion of one or more ingredients on the list used for the labelling of cosmetic products.

This legislative framework has been completed by an Inventory and Common Nomenclature of Ingredients (INCI) employed in cosmetic products established in Commission Decision 96/335/EC of 8 May 1996. Council Directive 76/768/EEC has already undergone seven amendments and several adaptations to technical progress.

EU Commission – DG Enterprise and Industry – Cosmetics
Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)