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Regulatory framework

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Legislation

Council Directive 76/768 of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ("Cosmetics Directive") has been adopted in 1976 in order to ensure the free circulation of cosmetic products in the internal market and to ensure the safety of cosmetic products placed on it.

Since its adoption, the Cosmetics Directive has been amended by the European legislators (the European Parliament and the Council) seven times in order to reflect new trends and challenges concerning cosmetic products. For example, the "sixth amendment" led to the adoption of the inventory of ingredients used in cosmetic products and introduced the principle of marketing ban in relation to tests on animals. The "seventh amendment [143 KB] Deutsch " provided inter alia for more detailed provisions on the phasing out of animal testing and introduced the "period-after-opening labelling".

Apart from these so-called 'amendments', the Commission has adopted more than fifty 'adaptations' in order to adapt to technical process the provisions in the annexes to the Cosmetics Directive to technical progress.

In order to provide guidance to Member State authorities, industry, and other stakeholders on the interpretation of various provisions of the Cosmetics Directive, a number of guidance documents, for example on borderline-products, have been adopted in close cooperation with the Member State authorities.

Moreover, the Cosmetics Directive has been subject to a number of European Court of Justice rulings on the interpretation of the Directive.

Revision of the Cosmetics Directive

The Cosmetics Directive has been recasted into a Regulation. For more information and documentation related to this process, please see the page Review of Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC.

Other applicable EU legislation

The Council Directive 76/768 of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ("Cosmetics Directive") is the main regulatory framework for a finished cosmetic product as defined therein when placed on the Community market. However, apart from the Cosmetics Directive, other EU-legislation applies, some of which are listed in the section "Reference documents".

Parliamentary questions on cosmetic products

A list of written questions relating to cosmetic products from Members of the European Parliament and the replies by the European Commission are available on our page on Written Parliamentary questions on cosmetic products.

Last update: 13/07/2010 | Top