Guidance for importing cosmetic products

Check what you need to do to import cosmetic products into Great Britain.

Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 defines a cosmetic product as "any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or correcting body odours".

All cosmetic products available to consumers must have a ‘Responsible Person’ who makes sure safety measures are followed and legal obligations are met.

A Responsible Person can be a business or an individual (including sole traders). A Responsible Person must have a UK established address to make cosmetic products available in GB. A UK established address does not include mail forwarding or PO box addresses.

As an importer of cosmetics, you have a legal duty to ensure that the products you supply are safe. Guidance is available below to help you make sure the cosmetics you import are labelled correctly, are accompanied with the correct warnings and instructions, as well as making certain the manufacturer has carried out relevant procedures to ensure the products are safe.

Cosmetic Safety Guidance (English) (Word, 128KB)

Cosmetic Safety Guidance (Simplified Chinese) (Word, 130KB)

If you are an importer based in England, you can contact Trading Standards for further advice via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.