Thursday, 4 July 2013

Cosmetics Legislation - Getting into a Lather!

Did you you know that EU Cosmetics legislation was one of the most difficult pieces of legislation to fully understand?

No, neither did we when we started - but as time has progressed we are in little doubt that its true!

In truth, there are many soap-makers, hobbyists especially, who are blissfully unaware that they are breaking the law by not holding a cosmetics safety assessment license.  However, ignorance is not an excuse and even if you plan to give your soap away for free to the public or sell it once a year at a craft fair - you must have a Cosmetics Safety Assessment, public liability (unless the place you are selling it provides this for you) and insurance not to mention complying with Good Manufacturing Guidelines.

Whilst at it, there is also quite a bit of ground to cover with Trading Standards, Environmental Health, and Consumer Safety in regard to labeling, appearance, weight and descriptions, choking hazards and food imitation legislation.  In regard to the latter, if you sell soap that looks, smells, or is packaged like food, fruits, cup-cakes, cakes, buns, sweets etc, it must, by law be submitted to a choking hazard test and a bite test.  Trust me, there are countless soap-makers absolutely unaware, or pleading ignorant, of this somewhat inconvenient piece of legislation unique to the EU.  We did have a momentary panic as we contemplated the EU successfully killing off another creative business.  I write about it here:

To be honest - I'm glad we learnt the hard way as it could easily put you off ever starting out and no matter what you think of the bureaucratic nonsense that is the EU - who can argue with the desire to have only safe products sold in the EU market. Still, as a consumer of craft or seller - its probably a good idea to ensure you know a thing or two about the legislation in order to protect yourself.  If not solely because so many seller's are not quite up to speed themselves.

As a buyer: 

You need only ask a seller one question, "Do you have a Cosmetics Safety Assessment?"  If they do, and they have read the detail, it will ensure that they also meet Good Manufacturing Practice, be compliant with Trading Standards, Consumer Safety and Food Imitations Legislation.

For the Maker:

Further,The European Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No.1223/2009 replaces the current Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC and comes into full effect on 11th July 2013.  Many requirements in the new Regulation will stay the same as the old Directive but there are some changes that will impact you if you sell your products to the public.

Regulation 1223/2009 states in article 13 that all products that will be placed on the market in the European Union need to be registered into the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) prior to being placed on this market. As from 11 July 2013, the use of CPNP will become compulsory but it has been possible to register and access the system since January 2013.

The CPNP is supposed to helps producers fulfill the requirement for notification of their products. This electronic system will also cover the requirement to notify poison centres, replacing the different processes under the old Directive.

In order to access the CPNP, the user needs a user login and password.

Two systems are needed:
1. The European Commission Authentication Service (ECAS)

This system provides the user with a login and password to connect to multiple European

Commission applications.

To register on ECAS:
2. The SANCO Authentication and Authorisation System (SAAS)

This system provides the user with a profile and access rights for a specific European

Commission application, in this case the CPNP.

Once you have your user name and password, log-on to:

A user that accesses the CPNP for the first time needs to follow a 3 step-procedure:

1. Create ECAS login/password

2. Request an access to CPNP

3. Connect to CPNP

Nanomaterials notification: Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1223 on cosmetic products requires that, in addition to the notification under Article 13, cosmetic products containing nanomaterials shall be notified to the Commission by the Responsible Person by electronic means six months prior to being placed on the market.

Before you Panic...

If your product was placed on the market before 11 July 2013 and it currently complies with the Cosmetics Directive (the ‘old’ legislation), you can continue to sell your product until it is out of stock/off the shelf. So you can make a big batch of your product, place it on the market before 11th July 2013.  There is an exception to this – if your product contains ingredients with nanomaterials – you will have to get a new CSPR (cosmetics safety product report).


In regards to labelling: Much of it is the same - only a few things have changed. You can check out more here.

If you are a cosmetics maker and want more information then just click on the links above or find out more information from a Cosmetics Safety Assessor. We use as Scott is passionate about supporting local crafters likes us. Prepare yourself for a bit of a wait though as they are up to their eyes getting everything ready for those of us who are existing members.