Cosmetic Ingredients

Cosmetics are probably as old as mankind, just like their components. Cosmetic ingredients can be derived from a variety of sources, ranging from natural to synthetic substances.
These ingredients are used in the formulation of personal care products which are broadly classified into hair care, skin care, sun care, cleansing, make up, oral care, toiletries, cosmetics and fragrances.


Cosmetic ingredients bring many benefits to consumers. For example, UV filters help to protect skin and hair from the harmful effects of UV rays. Surfactants are essential for cleansing and foam-building in shampoos and body washes. Preservatives prevent contamination and ensure the longevity of cosmetics and personal care products.

A comprehensive list of cosmetic ingredients and their benefits is available on the website of the European Commission.

European Commission

effci federation
effci federation


Cosmetic ingredients are globally regulated by regional laws and regulations. In the European Union they are regulated under the Cosmetics Regulation. The Cosmetics Directive was first adopted in 1976 and has undergone several revisions since. The latest update, EU Regulation on Cosmetic Products, entered into force 11 July 2013.

Cosmetics Regulation

Regulation & Safety

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

Cosmetics Directive

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 GROWTH – Cosmetics

Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)