This week I received an email from the Guild of Craft Soap & Toiletry Makers - a guild with which I (Simply Skin) am a member.
The aim of the email was to raise awareness of the Cosmetics Products Safety Regulations.
I want to take a moment, here, to share some of the main content of that email as I feel it is important for you as beauty-product consumers.
The email read: "Hand crafted soaps and toiletries are very popular, but how do you know if they are safe or legal?
The manufacture and sale of soaps and toiletry products must comply with the Cosmetic Products Safety Regulations. This applies to ALL cosmetic products supplied in the UK & EU, whether for consumer or professional use, supplied through traditional retail outlets, craft or farmers' markets or to private purchasers online via mail order."
What does this mean?
Well quite simply - if anyone (and I mean anyone) is selling beauty products i.e. giving possession to someone else in return for payment, then they must comply with the Cosmetic Products Safety Regulations.
The only people who are exempt from this requirement are those who make beauty products at home for their own, personal use.
The email continued: "There are numerous requirements that manufacturers/sellers must meet under the regulations, however two key requirements of the regulations are:
1. All products must be registered with the newly founded Cosmetics Products Notification Portal (CPNP)
2. Finished cosmetic products must undergo a safety assessment by a suitably qualified person, generally a chartered chemist, before they can be placed on the market. This must be documented
These are both legal requirements – they are not optional!"
What does this mean?
This means that if you were to look up the seller's business name in the EU's newly developed Cosmetics Products Notification Portal (CPNP), it must be listed i.e. you must be able to find it.
And it also means that, upon request, a seller must be able to prove that they have a legal Safety Assessment covering all the products that they are selling. Now a Saftey Assessment is numerous pages in length so too much to carry around all the time, but it is easy for a seller to email the front & back cover of their Safety Assessment when asked to do so.
One phrase in the email that hit home was this: "Rogue traders damage legitimate businesses."
I have never, personally, viewed other beauty producers who sell without a Safety Assessment as being Rogue Traders - this is quite a harsh term. I have always taken the stance that they are unaware that they are breaking the law and do not do so intentionally. And so, I chose to advise my customers to be wary - hence the recent blogposts about what to look out for on beauty product ingredients labels. But it seems that the law takes this very seriously.... and, in fairness, rightly so.
The email ended with this advice: "There are many myths in circulation about the sale of cosmetic items – some popular ones are:
• Organic products are exempt (they aren’t)
• I’m not a business, I’m not selling much so I don’t have to have an assessment for my products (not true)
• I was trading before the regulations came into force, therefore I’m exempt (again, not true)
These myths are perpetuated in many chat rooms and online forums, often by people who are unaware of the regulations or who have never actually read them.
The FACT is that the sale of cosmetics is subject to a strict regulatory process, anyone failing to abide by the regulations is breaking the law. Its worth repeating that illegal traders damage legitimate businesses."
Folks - I'm not writing this post to panic or scare you or to put you off buying handmade beauty products, I only want to help you understand that there are legitimate sellers out there but there are many, many illegitimate sellers so please..... be careful.
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