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What you need to know about Cosmetics Regulations

Cosmetics undergo rigorous clinical research to determine consumer safety and during this process, they must comply with regulations determined by the FDA. Today, we’ll overview some of the basics of cosmetics regulations, and what you need to know as a consumer.

FDA Regulations


The FDA requires cosmetics manufacturers to evaluate their products' safety and purity before reaching distributors. Adulteration in this context refers to any contaminant which may be poisonous or injurious to the user.

Color additives are specifically regulated by the FDA, while other additives are not explicitly mentioned in their regulatory language. However, general guidelines cover the bulk of cosmetics ingredients that protect consumers from the inclusion of known toxins and hazardous materials.


Misbranding is one of the most important branches of cosmetic regulations, as it protects consumers from labeling or packaging that is false or intentionally misleading. This is similar to the regulations that prevent supplement manufacturers from claiming their products can treat or cure any ailments.

Similarly, cosmetics companies cannot claim that their products will cure specific skin concerns (though they are technically free to state that their product will treat or improve the appearance of skin conditions.)

Misbranding also refers to product packaging which appears to contain more of the formula than it actually does. This should prevent cosmetics companies from bottling a lower volume of useable products in larger packages to make it seem like you’re getting more for your money, however, this portion of misbranding is less strictly regulated and still occurs in many cases.

What is not regulated?

Unfortunately, the FDA does not have explicit requirements for the ingredients that can be included in cosmetics. While they cannot violate adulteration regulations, they may still contain ingredients that are potentially irritating or damaging in the long term.

The FDA does not ban any specific ingredients in cosmetics, aside from those that have proven to be hazardous.

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