Do cosmetics sales on the Internet need to follow EU rules?

Cosmetics manufacturers need to be aware that selling their products on the Internet and thus making them available to the EU market subjects them to the same rules applicable to cosmetic products offered in physical stores in EU Member States.


Cosmetics can be marketed in the European Union in a number of different ways. The most common way is to physically offer them for sale in stores. In this case it is clear that the Cosmetic Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 applies and the manufacturer, the Responsible Person, the importers and distributors should follow the rules prescribed therein. Cosmetic products which are sold in the EU from websites established in the EU or in a non-EU Member State and whether they have to comply with the legal requirements established in the Cosmetic Regulation constitute a much more ambivalent situation.

EU established websites

The manufacturers, importers and distributors need to be aware that selling cosmetic products on the internet through an EU established website constitutes “making available on the market”, in accordance with Article 2 of the Cosmetic Regulation. Therefore the same rules apply as if the product is made physically available in a store.

Non-EU established websites

In cases when cosmetic products are sold on non-EU websites which offer shipping to the EU and directly target EU consumers in general, the rules established in the Cosmetic Regulation are still applicable. The EU legal requirements are not applicable only in the case when the cosmetic products were bought outside of the EU and brought in by individuals exclusively for personal use.

With more than 25 years of regulatory experience, it would be our pleasure to help and advise you on how to achieve the compliance of your products and access the EU market. If you would like to know more about EU regulations on cosmetics products, please contact us.

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