Australia Cosmetics Regulations


Australia legally classifies beauty products into two categories: cosmetics and therapeutic goods. The regulations governing each category differ greatly.


Regulatory Bodies

Cosmetics in Australia are classified as industrial chemicals. “National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)” is responsible for managing industrial chemicals (cosmetics) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regulates the product safety and cosmetic labelling standards.

Chemicals are regulated according to their use. NICNAS regulates the importation and manufacture of chemicals for 'industrial' use, which includes cosmetics and soaps. Chemicals for human therapeutic use, such as medicines, are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

NICNAS is being replaced by a new scheme called AICIS, which stands for the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme. Special arrangements are in place to manage the transition from NICNAS to AICIS.


Regulations

Regulations

Functions

Latest revision date

Status

Industrial chemicals (Notification and assessment) Act 1989

Overarching regulation for industrial chemicals including cosmetics

2019-4-3

In force

Industrial chemicals (Notification and assessment) Regulations 1990

​Implementation rules in respect of notification and assessment

​2019-8-1

In force

Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS

Database of existing chemical ingredients, if new ingredients are not on the list, notification will be required.

In force

Trade practices (Consumer product information standards) Regulations 1991

A product information standard on how information about ingredients is displayed on the label of the cosmetic product

​2008-5-23

​In force

Ingredients labelling on cosmetics

A summary of labeling requirements for cosmetic ingredients

2018-12-20

​In force

Cosmetics In Australia

Definition:

A 'cosmetic' is a substance or preparation that is for use on any external part of the human body—or inside the mouth—to change its appearance, cleanse it, keep it in good condition, perfume it or protect it.


Examples Of Cosmetics:

Types

Examples

Face and nail

  • Nail care products including nail hardeners and products to deter nail biting.

  • Make up (mascara, eyeshadow, primer, bronzer etc.)

  • Nail polish and varnish.

  • Tinted bases and foundation (liquids, pastes, powders) without SPF sunscreen.

  • Make up removers.

  • Lipstick and lip balms without SPF sunscreen.

  • Face masks and scrubs.

Hair care and hairdressing products

  • Hair tints, hair dyes and bleaches.

  • Products for waving, straightening, and fixing hair.

  • Hair setting products (e.g. gels, sprays, lotions).

  • Shampoo and hair cleansing products including lotions and powders.

  • Hair conditioner (e.g. lotions, creams, oils).

  • Hairdressing products (e.g. lotions, lacquers, brilliantines).

Oral and dental hygiene

  • Toothpaste and gel.

  • Some dental bleaches/whiteners.

  • Denture cleansers and adhesives.

  • Note: Desensitizing toothpastes/gels are NOT cosmetics. These are therapeutics and regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Perfumes

  • Perfumes and colognes.

  • Eau de toilette.

  • Eau de colognes.

  • Eau de parfum.

Personal hygiene

  • Feminine hygiene products — intimate cleaners, deodorants, wash, powder, moisturizers and gels. We do not regulate pads, tampons and panty liners as these are articles.

  • Deodorants

  • Cleansers such as soap (e.g. toilet, deodorant, astringent, skin washes)

  • Shaving products (e.g. creams, foams, lotions)

  • Bath and shower preparations (e.g. salts, foams, oils, gels, etc.)

  • Depilatories

  • After-bath powders

  • Hygienic powders

Skin care

  • Skin moisturizers without SPF sunscreen such as creams, lotions, gels, foams.

  • Sunbathing products without SPF sunscreen or with SPF sunscreen<4.

  • Emollients eg creams, emulsions, lotions, gels and oils for the skin (hands, face, feet, etc.).

  • Products for tanning without sun (without SPF sunscreen).

  • Some skin-whitening products (without SPF sunscreen).

  • Anti-wrinkle products (without SPF sunscreen).

  • Anti-ageing products (without SPF sunscreen).

The examples are for reference and are not exhaustive. Omission from the list does not necessarily mean that a product is not classified as a cosmetic.


Approval Procedures Of Cosmetics

Business Registration:


Enterprises must register their business with NICNAS if they want to import and/or manufacture cosmetic products or cosmetic ingredients for commercial purposes. This applies regardless of the amount that they import and/or manufacture. The registration obligations does not relate to the toxicity or hazardous nature of cosmetic ingredients. For Foreign (non-Australian) companies, they must have an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) for registration. If they use an Australian distributor who is registered with NICNAS, the registration of business can be exempt. If an enterprise needs to register, it should calculate registration level.


Calculating Registration Level:


The amount you pay to register with NICNAS each year depends on your registration level. There are four registration levels based on the total value of industrial chemicals you intend to import and/or manufacture in a registration year. The registration year runs from 1 September to 31 August.


Estimate The Total Value Of Industrial Chemicals:


You can base the total value on reasonable estimates. These should be reconciled at the end of the year to reflect the value of introduced chemicals actually introduced.

As a guide to determining the value of your chemicals, you could use relevant commercial documents such as commercial invoices, order/confirmation, bills of lading/airway bills, insurance certificates or receipts for purchase of goods.

A record of how the calculations are made should be kept with you. Registrants are subject to random audits and it is an offence to provide false or misleading information.

All relevant commercial documents must be kept for at least 5 years. Read more about record keeping requirements [Under Regulation 7A of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Regulations 1990]


Relevant Commercial Documents Could Include:


  • A commercial invoice providing a description of the goods.

  • Orders/confirmations.

  • Bills of lading/airways bills.

  • Insurance certificates.

  • Receipts for purchase of goods.

  • Illustrated descriptive material.

  • Any other records provided to Customs.

In addition, the importer of a chemical must keep a written statement specifying whether:


  • the chemical is, or contains an industrial chemical.

  • the chemical is a new industrial chemical.

  • there is an assessment certificate in force in relation to the chemical.

  • there is a permit in force in relation to the chemical.

Options For Estimating The Value Of Chemicals:


Options

Methodology

Import chemicals only

Annual value of all relevant industrial chemicals = Customs value (AUD) + Insurance + Freight + Customs duty.

Manufacture chemicals only

Total value of relevant industrial chemical manufactured = Cost of labor and materials (including all ingredients) involved in manufacture + factory overhead expenses.

Manufacture involves making a different chemical. Blending or mixing chemicals without making a different chemical is not considered to be the manufacture of a chemical.

Import and manufacture chemicals (where imports are not used in manufacture)

Option I for imports + Option II for manufactured industrial materials.

​Import and manufacture chemicals (but some, or all, imports are used in manufacture)

Use the methodology described in Option III. However, make sure the value of the imported chemicals (used to manufacture another chemical) is only counted once in the total value.

Determining Registration Level:


The amount you pay to register with us depends on total value of industrial chemicals you intend to import or manufacture (introduce) in a registration year. There is no pro-rata registration — you must pay for the full year.


Registration level (Formerly known as tier)

Introduction value

Fee(AUD) (GST Is not included)

A

$1–$99,999

$200

B

​$100,000–$499,999

$550

C

$500,000–$4,999,999

$2,515

D

$5,000,000+

$24,640

There is no pro-rata registration.


After calculating the registration level, sign up the NICNAS Business Services and register the business. The registration year runs from Sep.1st to Aug.31st the next year. Enterprises must renew the registration by 31 August each year if they continue to import and/or manufacture cosmetic products or cosmetic ingredients, otherwise they may be liable to pay a late renewal penalty—an additional 15% of the total registration cost.


AICS Checking:


Nearly all cosmetic ingredients are regulated as industrial chemicals under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (ICNA Act). This includes ingredients described as 'natural' or 'organic' such as oils, extracts and plant essences. The Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) is a database of more than 40,000 industrial chemicals that can be manufactured or imported (introduced) into Australia. The Inventory holds chemical identity information and regulatory obligations associated with that chemical. After business registration and before importing and/or manufacturing a cosmetic, enterprises must check if all the cosmetic ingredients of a product are listed in the AICS and complies with the conditions of usage. If yes, the product can be imported or manufactured without notifying NICNAS provided it meets any relevant conditions. If any one of the ingredients is not listed on the Inventory or has a condition of use different to the intended use, it is a new industrial chemical to Australia. Unless an exemption applies, the new industrial chemical will need to be notified and assessed by NICNAS for risks to the environment and human health before it can be imported and/or manufactured.

AICS Categories:

AICS contains two categories: public AICS and confidential AICS. There are over 40,000 chemicals listed on the public AICS which can be searched (can search the public inventory). If there are no results in the public AICS, enterprises can make an online request with the chemical name or a CAS number for each chemical to search the confidential AICS. NICNAS will help to search the confidential AICS if they consider an enterprise/individual to have a genuine intention to manufacture and/or import a chemical. Results can be viewable online.

There is a special exemption example - naturally-occurring chemicals. If all the chemicals of a product are naturally-occurring, business registration and notification can be exempt. A naturally-occurring chemical is one of the following:

  • an unprocessed chemical occurring in a natural environment — chemicals obtained from plants, microorganisms, the earth, sea or animals without any processing at all, for example blood and milk from animals, minerals, ores, crude oil, coal and natural gas obtained without any processing.

  • a chemical occurring in a natural environment that is extracted using a process that does not cause a chemical change in the substance — this refers to chemicals that occur in nature but which have been extracted using certain processes without changing their chemical composition. If introducers and suppliers extract a chemical by some other means, such as steam distillation or solvent extraction, it will not be a naturally-occurring chemical.

NOTE: Many products with ingredients (chemicals) derived from natural sources such as plants and minerals that are marketed or labelled as 'natural', 'organic' or 'pure' do NOT meet the legal definition of a naturally-occurring chemical. This is usually because of the process used to extract the chemical from its source before introducers and suppliers can use them in a product.


Ingredient Regulations

Sr. No.

Chemical Name

Common Name

CAS No.

Regulatory Obligations

​Related Assessment

1.

Vitis vinifera

​Grape extract

84929-27-1

​This chemical can be manufacture-d or imported into Australia for commercial without notifying NICNAS, provided that the Australian importer/manufacturer is With NICNAS This chemical may be subject to other Australian Government and State or Territory Government regulations.

2.

Cera alba

Yellow beeswax

8012-89-3

This chemical can be manufactured or imported into Australia for commercial without notifying NICNAS, provided that the Australian importer/manufacturer is With NICNAS This chemical may be subject to other Australian Government and State or Territory Governmentregulations

Human Health tier I assessment

3.

Organic prunus armeniaca

Apricot kernel oil

84604-07-9

​This chemical can be manufactured or imported into Australia for commercial without notifying NICNAS, provided that the Australian importer/manufacturer is With NICNAS This chemical may be subject to other Australian Government and State or Territory Government regulations

4.

Cocos nucifera

Fractionated coconut oil

8000-31-8

This chemical can be manufactured or imported into Australia for commercial without notifying NICNAS, provided that the Australian importer/manufacturer is With NICNAS This chemical may be subject to other Australian Government and State or Territory Government regulations.

Human Health tier I assessment

5.

Organic rubus idaeus seed oil

Red raspberry extract

72379-31-8

This chemical can be manufactured or imported into Australia for commercial without notifying NICNAS, provided that the Australian importer/manufacturer is With NICNAS This chemical may be subject to other Australian Government and State or Territory Government regulations.

6.

Hippophae rhamnoides