Cosmetics regulations for online sales

Cosmetics regulations for online sales

Personal care businesses worldwide have been operating entirely online in the wake of Covid-19. Take a moment to ensure you are practicing compliance by reviewing these important digital regulations specific to each major global cosmetics market.


Trade in China must follow general trading standards, in addition to those outlined in the country’s specific Cross Border E-commerce (CBEC) policy. CBEC in China allows products like cosmetics to be purchased from international brands online. Products sold via CBEC are categorised as personal goods and are therefore exempt from regulatory requirements. Additionally, cosmetics sold via CBEC are able to avoid animal testing.


USA Cosmetic products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Fair Packaging and Labelling Act (FPLA).  Selling cosmetics online in the USA requires the same regulatory compliance as it does in-store. Another important consideration is state-specific regulations, a key localised example being the California Proposition 65 act.

European Union

Cosmetics sold in the EU market must fulfil standards laid out in the EU Cosmetics Regulation. Whether the sale is online or in-store, the governing body remains the same. Every product sold in the European Union will require an EU-based ‘Responsible Person’ (RP) with a product information file (PIF) set for review. The latter should document all details about the finished product, from its ingredient selection to the manufacturing process and product labelling.

Be aware that products sold online in the EU must have compliant labelling which should be reported to the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP) before going on sale within the EU. Please note, these guidelines also apply to the UK market at the time of publishing.

Want to know more about the latest regulations? Sign up for our Pre-Show Regulatory Conference, taking place at in-cosmetics Global on 05 October 2020 from 13:30 – 18:30.

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