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The Cosmetics Industry and REACH

Purpose of REACH and its application to cosmetic ingredients

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (abbreviated REACH) governs the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals in the European Union. Its purpose is to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment, the promotion of alternative methods for the assessment of hazards of substances and the free circulation of substances in the internal market while enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

Useful links:

REACH Regulation
ECHA guidance
ECHA Training Webinars

National helpdesks
Small & Medium-sized Enterprises

The provisions of REACH apply to substances and preparations used in cosmetic products.

For cosmetic uses of substances, the Chemical Safety Report - and therefore the exposure scenario - does not need to include considerations of risks for human health. In case of substances subject to authorisation or to restriction only because of hazards to human health, such requirements do not apply to their use in cosmetic products. This is to avoid duplication with the Cosmetic Products Regulation which adequately addresses the assessment of cosmetic products’ safety for human health.

Useful link:

The Cosmetic Products Regulation

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Under the REACH Regulation, the registration deadline for phase-in substances manufactured or imported in quantities between 1 and 100 tonnes per legal entity per year is 31 May 2018. Companies using such substances need to ensure that these are registered by their manufacturers or importers before this deadline (unless exempted), and that their cosmetic use is covered in the registration dossier, so that they can continue to use these substances as of 1 June 2018.

Useful link:

ECHA (the European Chemicals Agency

The cosmetics industry as a “downstream user”

The responsibility to comply with REACH is placed on companies (legal entities) manufacturing or importing substances (on their own or as part of finished cosmetic products) in quantities exceeding 1 tonne, per legal entity, per year. Companies using substances to manufacture cosmetic products are known as “downstream users”.

Cosmetics Europe and its National Associations play an important role in assisting their member companies to implement and comply with REACH.

At European level, Cosmetics Europe is part of DUCC (the Downstream Users of Chemicals Coordination Group), an informal platform of European trade associations representing sectors which formulate preparations as finished products for end users, in particular consumers and professional users.

Useful link:

DUCC website

Cosmetics-specific Use Mapping

Cosmetics Europe has developed use-mapping documents to improve the quality and the efficiency of the information on use and conditions of use communicated up and down the supply chain.


Useful link:

ECHA’s use maps page

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