Cosmetic products are subject to regulatory controls in all markets, in order to ensure the safety of products and avoid adverse impacts on the health of users. In the EU, the regulatory framework is provided by the Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC) and its subsequent amendments. Regulatory frameworks differ significantly between the different markets and are far from being harmonised. This has the potential for impacts on the competitiveness and economic viability of the industry. The inability to sell similar products across all markets, or the requirement to change test methods, formulations, packaging and advertising, can increase costs for the sector. Delays and high costs associated with the introduction of new ingredients and products can also reduce the potential for market growth.
To address these issues, the European Commission’s Directorate-General Enterprise contracted Risk & Policy Analysts Limited to undertake a comprehensive study to explore the different approaches taken to the regulation of cosmetics in different markets; identify the similarities and divergences at the international level; analyse the impacts associated with these and make recommendations on the prospects and advantages of a harmonised approach.