Article by: Perry Romanowski

Since cosmetics are chemicals that get applied to people’s bodies, governments from around the world strive to ensure they are safe. It’s a laudable goal, but a challenging one to implement since there is no universal standard for what is “safe”.

The most difficult thing about cosmetic regulations for cosmetic scientists is that few people know definitive answers about the rules. They are almost always open to interpretation so your actions will depend more on what your company regulatory expert thinks than on what the regulating agency thinks. Unfortunately, most regulatory departments are set up to tell you what you can’t do, rather than help you figure out what you can do.

The best way to combat this regulatory obstacle is to find the answers yourself. To that end, here are 5 key websites that will help you find regulatory information about cosmetics.

Cosmetic Regulation Websites

1. FDA Cosmetic Info – Everything you need to know about the rules governing the sale of cosmetics in the United States is here. Some say the cosmetic industry in the US is not regulated but it is, by the FDA. You can find information useful to both the consumer and cosmetic business owner.

2. European Commission – In the EU, cosmetics are regulated by a document called the Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC. At this website you can find the full-text version and also some important commentary on the implications of the rules. An excellent website for all things EU regulatory.

3. Health Canada – While it’s not as big a market as the US or EU, Canada is still a significant player in the cosmetic industry and their government wants to have their say. At this website you can find all the rules (current and proposed) that will govern how you can sell your products in Canada.

4. Ministry of Health (Japan) – While all governments have access to the same science, they don’t always come to the same conclusions about what is safe. At this site you’ll find out what compounds are restricted in cosmetics sold in Japan.

5. Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board – This one isn’t a governmental agency but an industry agency that reviews safety data about cosmetic ingredients. They report to the FDA and provide an excellent guide as to what ingredients you can and can not use when formulating cosmetics.


6.  Australian cosmetic regulations.

There you have it. If you have any regulatory questions about the cosmetic industry you can probably find the answers on one of these pages. Of course, if you’re still left with questions, no doubt one of the fine industry consultants can help you out for the right price.

Do you have a regulatory question about cosmetics? Leave a comment and we will try to answer if we can.


About the Author

Perry Romanowski

Perry has been formulating cosmetic products and inventing solutions to solve consumer problems since the early 1990’s. Additionally, he has written and edited numerous articles and books, taught continuing education classes for industry scientists, and developed successful websites. His latest book is Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry 3rd Edition published by Allured.


  1. Avatar
    Clare Leung

    Any information about the Mexico Cosmetics regulation? Such as suncreen product, is it OTC product in Mexico? Any registration should be done for sunscreen? Please help.

  2. Avatar
    Chuck Friedman

    Can 4% Lidocaine be marketed in Australia as a Cosmetic or Drug?

    If so, what are the regulations?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      I’m not really sure. You’ll have to check with the Australian regulatory agency. The link is listed in the comments above.

  3. Avatar

    Do you know how regulate Cosmetics Devices (that are used to improve and change appearance without any medical impact) in US and EU


    1. Avatar

      Devices are regulated in the US by the FDA.

  4. Avatar

    I can’t seem to find any regulatory info for Mexico, I know it’s out there but my googling skills just aren’t at their best today…

  5. Avatar
    Thomas Muthumani

    What is the permissible limit or maximum allowed limit for para-phenylene diamine in ready to use dye


  6. Avatar
    Myriam Vazquez

    Include IFRA web site fragrance are in almost all cosmetic products and are also regulated specially in the European Union

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