The EU Cosmetics Regulation is in place to safeguard consumer health but also underpins European innovation and strengthens the competitiveness of the cosmetics sector at the global level.

Manufacturers and importers in the EU are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products, whether they are cosmetics or any other consumer products. All cosmetic products must be notified through the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) before being placed on the EU market. The presence of a nanomaterial in a cosmetic product must be explicitly stated in the notification to the European Commission.

As a minimum, the notification must contain the following information:

  • An identification of the nanomaterial, including its chemical name and other descriptors specified in the regulation.
  • A specification of the nanomaterial, including its particle size and its physical and chemical properties.
  • An estimation of the quantity of the nanomaterial contained in the cosmetic product to be placed on the market per year.
  • A toxicological profile of the nanomaterial.
  • The safety data of the nanomaterial.
  • All the information related to the reasonably foreseeable exposure conditions.

In addition, cosmetic products containing nanomaterials other than colourants, preservatives and UV filters and not otherwise restricted by the regulation on cosmetic products are subject to an additional procedure. They require a specific notification to be made through the CPNP six months before placement on the market. If the European Commission has concerns regarding the safety of a nanomaterial, it may request the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) to perform a risk assessment.

Certain groups of substances – colourants, preservatives and UV filters, including those that are nanomaterials – must be authorised by the European Commission prior to their use in cosmetic products. An opinion from the SCCS, which reviews submitted toxicological data, precedes this authorisation.

The European Commission is responsible for publishing a catalogue of all nanomaterials used in cosmetic products on the EU market. The catalogue is based on the information provided by the manufacturers through the CPNP.

If a product contains nanomaterials, this needs to be indicated in the list of ingredients by having the word ‘nano’ in brackets directly after the name of such a substance.