Cosmetics Compliance in the UK

Cosmetic products in the UK are regulated under Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on Cosmetic Products, as amended by the Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

Over time we have seen, and will see more amendments creating further diversion from the EU Cosmetics Regulations. It is important to manage your portfolio compliance specifically for the UK independent from the EU, and have products notified for the UK in SCPN.

UK manufacturers and UK importers (for products manufactured outside the UK) are by definition considered to be the Responsible Person (RP) including legal liability. RPs are required to ensure full product compliance and safety, and to demonstrate that at all times.

The Regulatory Company is contracted by many non-UK brand-owners, and mandated by many UK-importers to take over as the Responsible Person.

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Brexit and the impact on the Cosmetics Industry

On January 1st 2021, the UK implemented its own cosmetics regulation. The UK regulation is very similar to the current EU Cosmetics Regulations. However, references to the EU have been replaced; English is the only language of communication; PIF’s have to be maintained up-to-date and available for the UK authorities in English; the Responsible Person for the UK has to be UK based; and products have to be notified in SCPN (the UK equivalent to the EU CPNP).

Over the past years, and in the years to come, we foresee further divergence between the UK and the EU. Divergence will for example increase in the regulatory thresholds and bans for individual substances, and the day-to-day inspection practices by authorities.

What are the UK Cosmetics Regulation requirements?

For each individual product that is available in the UK, the Responsible Person (RP) is required to ensure full product compliance and safety and be able to demonstrate at all times. The RP must be an UK legal entity (a person/company established in the UK).

The key requirements are:

  1. Product Information File (PIF) / dossier building and management

    The Responsible Person (RP) must be in possession of the full dossier for each cosmetic product on the UK market. The dossier contains essential information regarding the composition, raw materials, purity, safety (toxicology), stability, claim support, etc. The dossier can be regarded as a products “passport” for the UK market. Product dossiers must at all times be available to the competent authorities for inspection at the premises of the RP within 72 hours following on the request

  2. Regulatory Compliance & Safety Assessment of the cosmetic products and raw materials

    The Responsible Person must ensure that each product has been assessed and has proven to be compliant safe for consumer use before it is introduced on the market. This assessment must be performed by a qualified “Competent Person” according to the set of rules provided in the Annex of the regulation. The Competent Person must hold a degree in toxicology or equivalent qualification in related health sciences.

  3. Correct product labelling and consumer information (including product claims)

    Cosmetic products on the UK market must be labelled according to strictly defined requirements. The label content depends on the product characteristics, individual raw materials and substances, the product dossier and the related Safety Assessment.

    The name and the address of the RP must be displayed on the product label. For TRC the minimum RP details to be displayed on the label are “TRC UK EC2V 6AA UK” for the UK (and “TRC 2514 AA” for the EU).

    Product marketing claims communicated to the consumer must be in line with UK requirements and guidelines, must be supported with scientific evidence, and cannot claim any pharmacological (medical) effect.

    Special attention must be paid to the formats and font sizes in which the information is presented.

  4. Product notification to the UK competent authority

    Cosmetic products must be notified to the competent authorities by electronic means. These notifications (often called registrations) must be submitted centrally by or on behalf of the RP in the UK Submit Cosmetic Product Notification (SCPN) portal before the products are introduced on the UK market.

  5. Cosmetovigilance (undesirable health effects from product use)

    The Responsible Person must ensure to continuously monitor, record and evaluate (post-marketing surveillance) all potential health-related undesirable effects (consumer complaints) resulting from the use of the cosmetic product. This is referred to as "Cosmetovigilance".

    The cosmetovigilance records must be regularly evaluated and re-assessed with respect to product safety. If the RP considers or has reason to believe that the product is not safe for use, the RP should take appropriate further steps (e.g. product adjustment, market withdrawal and/or product recalls) to ensure adequate protection of consumer health and safety.

  6. Continuous updates and compliance and safety monitoring

    Any changes/adjustments to the product and/or relevant legislation must be assessed and be accommodated for, e.g. updates of the PIF, the Regulatory Compliance and Safety Assessment, labels and claims, and the SCPN notification.

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Safety Assessment and Responsible Person services

We focus on the interests of our clients while supporting on a daily basis with comprehensive in-house services including compliance safety assessment and serving as the RP.

We can be ready for notification in the UK in 2-3 weeks after all required input information has been shared, provided that you share an updated label with us including our EU/UK RP details. These timelines also apply in case of transfer to TRC as the new Responsible Person.

Some key and unique features of our services are:

  1. In-house compliance and safety assessments, AND RP services.

    Having the safety assessments performed in-house by your Responsible Person has clear advantages in terms of efficiency, lead-times, and costs. In the case of 2 separate entities, both will have split interdependent tasks and responsibilities and for example will both have to analyse and evaluate your formulations. And in the case of adjustments and updates both entities would have to be involved.

  2. Regulatory Content Briefs

    Cosmetic products must be labelled according to strictly defined labelling requirements. For each product we will share a label content brief to ensure all mandatory content is included on your prdouct labels. The brief is shared in pdf format so that it can easily be shared in the artwork design process.

  3. Codified RP details

    Our RP details are very much “codified” to avoid confusing/distracting the consumer. For the UK these are "TRC UK EC2V 6AA UK”. No other UK address is needed on your product labels.

  4. Continuous compliance and safety monitoring

    TRC keeps track of regulatory changes in all applicable elements of UK regulations, will inform you timely about the impact on your product portfolio, and will advise on alternatives and how to stay compliant in the everchanging field of regulations.

  5. CPSR reports updated anytime as part of our comprehensive services and included in our services fees

    CPSR are required to be updated in case of relevant changes, such as changes in ingredients and their suppliers, and changes in formulations. Also in case authority requests and inspections it is very valuable to pull together the latest real-time details, and make an up-to-date CPSR and PIF available.

Where to start with UK cosmetics compliance?

Contact us for a free (video) call. Our first step is always to understand where you stand, and as a next step we will discuss more detailed information needed to perform a free Prescan of your products.

Important input for the free Prescan is information about your product positioning, marketing claims, the exact qualitative and quantitative composition of your formulations, and the availability of substantiation for the shelf-life and period after opening (PAO) of the portfolio.

We are flexible to set-up an introductory (video) call at a day and time that is convenient to you.