Germany at its Most Beautiful

Close-up of eyeshadow and make-up products | © matka_Wariatka -

Source: Close-up of eyeshadow and make-up products | © matka_Wariatka -

Market Access

Regulation of the production and import of cosmetic goods is based on the European Cosmetics Directive (EU Regulation 1223/2009).

The implementation of the EU cosmetics regulation requires that all cosmetics products entering the EU must be registered in the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) before being placed on the market. The CPNP makes this information available electronically to the Competent Authorities for the purposes of market surveillance, market analysis, evaluation, and consumer information, and to the Poison Centres or similar bodies established by Member States for the purpose of medical treatment.

In Germany, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) is in charge of the health-based consumer protection area. Nevertheless, the BVL does not license cosmetic articles to be sold in the country. Instead, producers and importers must provide evidence that the product's safety has been approved by an authority to meet the standards of the Cosmetics Directive. This inspection can only be done by authorized experts. Assistance in searching for an expert in the field can be found at the different cosmetic federations as well as at the local Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Germany.

Producers and importers have the duty to inform consumers and authorities about their products. For example, there are specific labeling requirements to be printed on the product's package. If a product is imported into the European Union for the first time, local authorities must be informed in advance at the city where the product is introduced and statements have to be made concerning the product distribution within the European Union. The German Cosmetics Directive, which is based on the European Directive, lists several ingredients that cannot be used or may only be used in cosmetics under certain conditions.

Besides the existing legislation for the importation of cosmetics, the raw materials used in the cosmetics' production also fall under the newly introduced chemical legislation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Products). The main goal of REACH is to control the safety of chemicals in consumer products. Manufacturers and importers must register the chemical substances contained in cosmetics in order to make sure that the products are safe for both human consumption and the environment. REACH applies to all chemicals that are either produced in Europe or imported into the EU, including cosmetics.

ORGANIC COSMETICS - Although Germany there is no mandatory certification for natural cosmetics in Germany, many organic cosmetics on the market carry some type of ''bio'' seal offered by private organizations. The mostly used and widely recognized certification for natural personal care products in Germany is the seal ''Certified Natural Cosmetics'' from the BDIH, the Association of German Industries and Trading Firms for Pharmaceuticals, Health Care Products, Food Supplements and Personal Hygiene Products. In order to obtain this certification, products must comply with strict guidelines, which include the use of natural raw materials from controlled biological/organic cultivation and the verification that the products are friendly to the environment.

Another widely used organic certification is the European ''NaTrue'' label. NaTrue is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 by a group of European natural cosmetics manufacturers with the goal of safeguarding and promoting pure and authentic natural skin care. The group represents today more than two thirds of the European market in the field. NaTrue offers three levels of certification: Natural Cosmetics (all ingredients must be natural but do not have to be organic), Natural Cosmetics with Organic Portion (at least 70% of the ingredients must be from organic origin) and Organic Cosmetics (at least 95% of the natural ingredients must come from controlled organic cultivation or collection).

In May 2010, the European cosmetics standards working group consisting of the BDIH (Germany), BIOFORUM (Belgium), COSMEBIO (France), ECOCERT Greenlife (France), ICEA (Italy) and SOIL Association (UK), established the international non-profit Association COSMOS-standard. The association's goal is to elaborate a harmonized and recognized standard through defining minimum requirements and common definitions for organic and natural cosmetics. This European harmonization project strives to establish a single worldwide standard for natural cosmetics and personal care products. Besides introducing two levels of certification, Cosmos-Natural and Cosmos-Organic, the Cosmos standard will identify criteria regarding the products' origin, processing, composition (ingredients), packaging, labeling and disposal. The complete process for certification and the final approval of the certifying agencies is expected to be concluded in the coming months.