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 transition period ends on 31 December 2020, cosmetic product companies are required to comply with the following:

  • RPs currently located in UK* must relocate to a Union/EEA state in order to continue to make cosmetic products available on the market in the Union/EEA.

  • Products currently bearing UK* addresses on their packaging must have made amendments to include an address in the Union/EEA on the packaging of any new batches placed on the market after the end of the transition period. 

  • 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, by written mandate.

  • Products sourced from the UK must comply with the EU cosmetic regulation (EC) 1223/2009.

*Please see further information below in relation to the applicable rules in Northern Ireland after the end of the Transition Period. 

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 period for the UK government to seek an extension period has now expired.

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 published two Readiness Notices in the form of Notice to Stakeholders on 13 March 2020 that are relevant to cosmetic products.

The Notice to Stakeholders regarding the Withdrawal of the UK and EU rules in the field of cosmetic products replaces that previously published on 18 July 2019.

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

  • This document 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).

  • This 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 Notice to Stakeholders regarding Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of industrial products replaces previous publications by the European Commission: the Notice to Stakeholders of 22 January 2018 and the Q&A document dated 1 February 2019.

  • This notice provides further information on the legal situation at the end of the transition period, on certain separation provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the rules applicable to Northern Ireland as of the end of the transition period for cosmetic products (and other products covered under the New Approach legislation).

  • The notice also provides examples of when goods are considered to have been placed on the market and information regarding products placed on the EU or the UK market before the end of the transition period, including the obligation to appoint a new RP in the EU where the current RP is based in the UK.

The HPRA encourages responsible persons, distributors, manufacturers and retailers of cosmetic products to consult the details of both published Notices 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 Union market. If there are any specific queries, these can be sent to cosmetics@hpra.ie.

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

Both Notices to Stakeholders regarding Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of industrial products and in the field of Cosmetic Products are available for download from the European Commission website.