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Cosmetic products range from everyday hygiene products, such as soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and decorative cosmetics. These products are regulated at European level in order to ensure consumer safety and to secure an internal market for cosmetic products.

Regardless of the manufacturing processes or the channels of distribution, cosmetic products placed on the market in the EU must be safe. The manufacturer is responsible for the safety of the products, and must ensure that they undergo an expert scientific safety assessment before they are launched for sale.

Special database with information on specific cosmetic substances and ingredients, CosIng, enables easy access to data on these substances, including legal requirements and restrictions.

Cosmetics legislation requires also that all products which are to be marketed in the European Union need to be registered in the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) prior to being placed on this market.

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

The cosmetics legislation provides also for a ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes.

Member States are responsible for the surveillance of their markets at national level.

The European Commission is many ways in contact with different stakeholders active in the field of cosmetics, both at EU and international level. Such cooperation  enables exchange of information and ensures smoother implementation of the EU requirements cosmetic products sector.

Today's cosmetic market is driven by innovation including new colour pallets, treatments targeted to specific skin types and unique formulas concentrating on different needs. Most cosmetics products have a lifespan of less than five years and manufacturers reformulate 25% of their products every year. They need to improve products constantly in order to stay ahead in a highly competitive market where more choice and ever greater efficacy are expected by the consumer.

The European cosmetics industry is a world leader and dominant cosmetics exporter, a highly innovative sector and a significant employer in Europe. The EU's involvement concerns mainly the regulatory framework for market access, international trade relations and regulatory convergence, all aiming to ensure the highest level of consumer safety while promoting the innovation and the competitiveness of this sector.