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Cosmetic products

Consumers of cosmetic and personal care products are protected by strong safety equirements laid down in the cosmetics legislation. At the same time, manufacturers should use the best science and latest available research data to substantiate the safety of a cosmetic product before it is placed on the market.

Some cosmetic products deserve special attention from the regulators due to their scientific complexity or higher potential risk for the consumers' health.

In view of safety concerns expressed in relation to the use of hair dye products, the Commission put in place an overall safety assessment strategy for hair dye substances.

The efficacy of sunscreen products and the basis on which such efficacy is claimed are important public health issues. Therefore, all UV filters used in cosmetic products placed on the EU market have to be assessed by the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety and authorized by the Commission.

In the context of cosmetic products, reference to "nanotechnology" usually means the use of insoluble nanoparticles  as ingredients in cosmetic products. EU legislation provides for a high level of protection of human health where nanomaterials are used in cosmetic products.

The Cosmetics legislation contains also provisions on the use in cosmetic products of substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR substances). In general, the use of CMR substances is prohibited, apart from in exceptional cases.

Differences in regulatory frameworks can be particularly significant for so-called 'borderline products'. The term 'borderline products' refers to those products that at first sight might be difficult to classify into one or another product category, either in the same country or in different countries.