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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Council Directive 76/768/EEC has already undergone seven amendments and several adaptations to technical
EU Commission – DG GROWTH – Cosmetics
Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)
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