The obligations of distributors of cosmetic products

Cosmetic products knowledge base – The obligations of distributors of cosmetic products


Basic rule for understanding the liabilities of distributors of cosmetic products

If the distributor considers or has reason to believe that a cosmetic product is not in conformity with Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 shall immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring that product into conformity, withdraw it or recall it, as appropriate.

Furthermore, where the cosmetic product presents a risk to human health, responsible persons shall immediately inform the competent national authorities of the Member States in which they made the product available and of the Member State in which the product information file is readily accessible, giving details, in particular, of the non-compliance and of the corrective measures taken.



It means any natural or legal person in the supply chain, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who makes a cosmetic product available on the Community market.

Not considered to be a distributor who places a cosmetic product under his name or trademark on the market, or changes a product already on the market in a way that may affect compliance with the requirements for the product, as in this case, he is considered to be the responsible person.

Only those cosmetic products can be placed on the market which has a safety assessment, product information documentation and labelling according to the Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009, and their production is carried out in accordance with good manufacturing practices.

Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 should apply from 11 July 2013 to members of the European Community and members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein.


Obligations of the distributors

1. Responsibilities of the distributor to check:

  • whether the required labelling information are shown on the product
  • name of the responsible person or its registered company name and address
  • the batch number or identification number of the cosmetic product
  • the list of ingredients on the container or on the packaging, or possibly on the supplied information material

2. If the prescribed language requirements are met – the information must be written on the official language of that country in which the final product will be placed on the market

3. It is necessary to check if the specified shelf-life time has not been expired yet.


Label elements

Cosmetic products shall be made available on the market only where the container and packaging of cosmetic products bear the following information in indelible, easily legible and visible lettering:

1. The name or registered name and the address of the responsible person. The country of origin shall be specified for imported cosmetic products.

2. The nominal content at the time of packaging, given by weight or by volume

(Exception: pre-packages normally sold as a number of items, for which details of weight or volume are not significant; packaging containing less than five grams or five millilitres; free samples and single-application packs.)

3. Date of minimum durability

a, Indication of the date of minimum durability for cosmetic products with a minimum durability of less than 30 months.

Appropriate format: after the date of minimum durability symbol or the words “best used before the end of” the date of minimum durability shall be clearly expressed and shall consist of either the month and year or the day, month and year, in that order.

b, in case of cosmetic products with a minimum durability of more than 30 months, there shall be an indication of the period of time after opening for which the product is safe and can be used without any harm to the consumer.  The minimum durability symbol is followed by the time indicated in months and/or years, except where the concept of durability after opening is not relevant: for single-use products, products not at risk of deterioration or products which do not open.

4. Particular precautions to be observed in use.

5. The batch number of manufacture or the reference for identifying the cosmetic product.

6. The function of the cosmetic product, unless it is clear from its presentation

7. List of ingredients according to INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient). This information shall be indicated only on the outer packaging (if applicable).

The labeling information must be provided in the language of the Member State where the product is distributed for the end user (except: “Ingredients”).

If it is not possible to indicate the listed information on the label due to practical reasons, the information must be indicated on a leaflet, label, tape or card enclosed or attached to the product.

Offered service: Label draft creation, translation for cosmetic products


Notification of the product already on the market

A distributor who makes available in a Member State a cosmetic product already placed on the market in another Member State and translates, on his own initiative, any element of the labelling of that product in order to comply with national law, shall submit it by electronic means into the CPNP.

For the notification the following information are needed:

  • the name and address of the responsible person where the product information file is made readily accessible;
  • the category of cosmetic product, its name in the Member State of dispatch and its name in the Member State in which it is made available, enabling its specific identification;
  • the name of the Member State where the cosmetic product is on the market;
  • the name and address of the distributor

When any of the information changes, the distributor or the responsible person shall provide an update without delay via CPNP.


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