Cosmetic products - Brexit

Cosmetic products placed on the Union/EEA market must have a Responsible Person (RP) based in the Union/EEA. They also must have an address in the Union/EEA listed on the packaging. In addition, any entity receiving a cosmetic product from a country outside of the Union/EEA becomes an importer as well as a distributor and in certain circumstances may also become the RP.

When the Brexit transitional period ends on 31 December 2020, cosmetic product companies would be required to comply with the following:

  • RPs currently located in UK will need to relocate to a Union/EEA state in order to place cosmetic products on the market in the Union/EEA.
  • Products bearing UK addresses on their packaging will require amendment to include an address in the Union/EEA.
  • Irish entities sourcing cosmetics from the UK for supply to the Union/EEA should be aware that they will become an importer and potentially the RP for the product if one has not already been designated in the Union/EEA.
  • Products sourced from the UK must comply with the EU cosmetic regulation (EC) 1223/2009.


Brexit Transitional Period: Implications for Cosmetic Product Companies up to 31 December 2020

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was agreed by the European Council on 17 October 2019. The agreement includes a transition period until at least 31 December 2020. The EU and the UK will start negotiations on a new future relationship agreement which, if agreed, is due to come into effect from 1 January 2021. EU law in its entirety applies to, and in, the UK during the transition period.

The HPRA wishes to highlight that the European Commission has published a Readiness Notice on 13 March 2020, in the form of a Notice to Stakeholders, regarding the Withdrawal of the UK and EU rules in the field of cosmetic products.

This Notice to Stakeholders outlines the legal situation applicable as of the end of the transition period, particularly advising to:

  • establish a Responsible Person in the EU and reflect this in the corresponding labelling;

  • ensure compliance of the safety assessment in relation to qualifications of the safety assessor; and

  • take the necessary steps to update the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP).

The notice also discusses cosmetic products placed on the EU or UK market before the end of the transition period and provides information in relation to the applicable rules in Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period. 

The HPRA encourages responsible persons, distributors, manufacturers and retailers of cosmetic products to consult the published Notice to Stakeholders and to take the appropriate steps in preparation for the end of the transition period to ensure supply of compliant cosmetic products to the market. If there are any specific queries, these can be sent to cosmetics@hpra.ie.

Have you verified if your cosmetic product has a Responsible Person registered within the EU-27 member states?

On 1 February 2019, the EU Commission published a Q&A document to provide further information on the impact of a no deal Brexit on cosmetic products (and other products covered under the New Approach legislation).

This Q&A follows on from the publication by the Commission of two ‘Notice to Stakeholders’ on 22 January 2018 and on 29 November 2018, and highlights some of the implications on labelling, representation and supply in the event of ‘no deal’ Brexit. The ‘Notice to Stakeholders” of 29 November 2018 was updated and was replaced on 18 July 2019.

The latest Q&A provides examples of when goods are placed on the market and in the supply chain, which includes clarification on the requirements in relation to presentation of the Responsible Person (RP) contact details on the labelling.

The Q&A also reinforces the importance of updating the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP) for products currently registered with a RP in the UK. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, all cosmetic products made available to the EU market as of the date of withdrawal date are required to be registered on CPNP with a RP of one of the EU-27 member states. Information is available regarding transfer of an existing notification in CPNP to a future EU-RP in the Commission’s 18 July 2019 Notice to Stakeholders.

In the context of the UK becoming a 3rd country post Brexit, the HPRA takes this opportunity to remind Irish entities sourcing products from the UK for supply to the EU-27 to be aware that they will become an importer and potentially the RP for the product if one has not already been designated in the EU-27.

The HPRA is continuing to work with the European Commission and other Member States in relation to cosmetic product issues arising from Brexit.

The HPRA encourages any responsible persons, distributors, manufacturers or retailers to take the appropriate steps in preparation for Brexit in relation to supply of compliant cosmetic products to the market. If there are any specific queries, these can be sent to cosmetics@hpra.ie.

EU Commission Q&A

EU Commission Notice to Stakeholders January 2018

EU Commission Notice to Stakeholders November 2018