UK perfumers and EU Cosmetic Regulations post Brexit. Now What?

On 29th March 2019 the EU will remove UK cosmetics from their database. Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays is holding a series of workshops to discuss the issue.


For the last 40 years all UK cosmetics companies have complied with EU regulations, and since 2013 every single cosmetic has needed a safety certificate and been registered on the EU portal in order to be sold legally and safely. Cosmetics companies, small and large, have all invested a lot of time into building this up.

On March 29th this all (probably) changes. All products which were registered and tested in the UK will be wiped off the portal, unless there is an EU27 responsible person to take the place of our UK based ones.

In the meantime, the UK doesn't yet have a system for us to use. We can expect our own regulations to be stricter than the EU27, because we have a specialist - the British man who chaired the EU commission - who actually thought the EU rules weren't strict enough. (Sigh.)

Right now we're being treated as part of the chemicals industry, and also as part of the pharmaceuticals industry by the UK government, and we're told to carry on as normal.

If UK cosmetics makers want to continue to sell within the EU 27, we all have to appoint a responsible person in one of the EU countries to upload our data to the portal, and to take calls if needed; we can no longer do this ourselves. We also have to do this by the 29th March. At 4160Tuesdays we're planning for this.

EU companies will have to do the same within the UK, which they can't yet because the structure doesn't exist. For this reason, some EU cosmetics companies are already closing down their UK operations. That, and the huge extra cost of duplicating the work they've already done, and the risk of their products being stuck in customs for months.

In the meantime, IFRA is already adapting all its guidelines to comply with forthcoming EU regulations because it's an international organisation, so we've got those updates to deal with too. If we don't comply, we risk making unsafe cosmetics, and being prosecuted by Trading Standards.

As we're directly affected by this at 4160Tuesdays, from complying with IFRA right through to uploading our data on to the EU portal, we've collected all the intelligence that we can, and assembled it into something we can share.

We're running an afternoon meeting, symposium, conference, tea party on Friday February 22nd, to be followed up with a whole day workshop on March 22nd, as we hope to know more by then. The venue is 4160Tuesdays in Acton, unless we get really busy and have to move out, in which case we'll book a nice room in a pub because we'll probably need gin.

If you were thinking of starting a cosmetics company, or if you're already trading in the UK and the EU27, come over and meet us, and people in the same boat, and make sure that this doesn't catch you out.

(Frankly, most of the time we just want to hide under the duvet and pretend it isn't happening, but it looks as if it really is, and we don't want to get caught out.)

You can book your place at this link here.
About author
Northerner now living in London. Perfumer at 4160Tuesdays. I like making people laugh, making scents and helping others learn how to make them too. I trained as a musician and a yoga teacher and I'm qualified to ship dangerous goods. I made Freshly Laundered for Samsung.

Yoga, books, making things I can wear, and smelling good.


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