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Cosmetics Europe comments on the Microplastics Restriction


The European Commission adopted the Restriction on synthetic polymer microparticles (microplastics) intentionally added to consumer or professional use products of any kind on 25 September 2023. The Restriction aims to address pollution caused by intentionally added microplastics.

Cosmetics Europe shares concerns regarding the issue of microplastics pollution and overall goals of the European Union to tackle this challenge. Cosmetic products that are safe both for consumers and the environment are an absolute priority for the cosmetics and personal care industry.

The adoption of the Restriction on microplastics intentionally added to products by the European Commission brings to an end uncertainty over key aspects of the Restriction such as the definition of microplastics, and this is to be welcomed.

Cosmetics Europe is pleased that the European Commission has, at least partially, acknowledged the challenge of complex reformulation of leave-on cosmetics in the absence of suitable alternatives.

Intentionally added microplastics from cosmetic and personal care products represent an extremely small contribution to overall aquatic plastic litter. Based on figures included in the initial ECHA proposal, intentionally added microplastics from leave-on cosmetics represent 2% of all microplastic releases covered by the Restriction, although, evidence presented by Cosmetics Europe during the consultation phase showed it is less than 2%.

Cosmetics Europe already recommended to its membership to phase out plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics eight years ago.

Our industry will continue to act to remove the very small volume of synthetic polymer microparticles in cosmetics products covered by the ban in accordance with the required transition periods. Cosmetics Europe will work with the European Commission and other stakeholders on certain aspects of the Restriction which remain very unclear, in particular with respect to labelling requirements.


Cosmetic products containing synthetic polymer microparticles (with the exception of microbeads), including those containing glitter, are granted specific transitional periods under paragraph 6 of the Restriction and can continue being sold until:

-          16 October 2027 included, for rinse-off cosmetics (paragraph 6b),

-          16 October 2029 included, for leave-on cosmetics (paragraph 6d),

-          16 October 2035 included, for make-up, lip and nail cosmetics (paragraph 6c).

The European Commission has clarified the following:

“Only the sale of cosmetic products containing microbeads is banned as of 17 October 2023 (date of entry into force of the restriction).

The sale of plastic glitter on its own (“loose glitter”), or in products for which no transitional period is laid down under paragraph 6 of the restriction (e.g. toys, textiles), is also banned as of 17 October 2023. This ban does not apply if glitter is made of material that is inorganic (e.g. glass, metal), biodegradable or soluble in water - or if glitter is used at industrial sites.

Finally, it is worth noting that products containing synthetic polymer microparticles (including glitter) that have been placed on the market (i.e. bought/sold/imported) before 17 October 2023 do not need to be recalled or withdrawn from the market but can continue being sold (for example products in distributors/importers/retailers stocks).”


Cosmetics Europe is the European trade association for the cosmetics and personal care industry. Our members include cosmetics and personal care manufacturers as well as associations representing our industry at national level, right across Europe.

Media questions

Media representatives should address their questions to media@cosmeticseurope.eu.

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