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

Sea buckthorn oil

90106-68-6

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.

7.

Organic essential oils of Thuja Orientails

​Cedarwood

68917-35-1

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

8.

Commiphoa myrrh

Myrrh

9000-45-7

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.

9.

Boswllia cateri

Frankincense

97952-72-2

The importation and manufacture of this chemical is subject to the following conditions of use included on this Inventory record under section 15AB(1) of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989.

· For cosmetic use only.

· The concentration of this ingredient in the final product should be 0.3% or less.

The chemical is deemed to be a new industrial chemical under the definition given in section 5 of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 if the proposed use does not meet the above condition.

10.

Citrus aurantifolia

Lime

90063-52-8

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.

11.

Tocopherol

Vitamin E

10191-41-0

​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

12.

Zinc oxide tape

CI 77947

1314-13-2

​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

13.

Lavendula angustifolia

Spike lavender

94334-13-1

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

14.

Triticum vulgare

Virgin wheat germ oil

68917-73-7

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

15.

Citrus vulgaris

Neroli

8016-38-4

​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

16.

Colloidal silver

7440-22-4

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

17.

Butyrospem-um parkii

Far trade organic shea butter

93333-83-6

​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

18.

Rosa mosqueta

Organic rosehip seed oil

84604-12-6

​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

19.

Mentha piperita

Peppermint, Absolute mint

84082-70-2

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

20.

​Organic Coffea Arabica

Coffee extract

84650-00-0

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

21.

Camellia sinensis

Green tea leaf extract

84650-60-2

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

22.

Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract

Rosemary

84604-14-8

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 Governmentregulations

​23

Aloe barbadensis

Organic aloe vera gel

8001-97-6

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:

Chemicals listed below are not considered to pose an unreasonable risk to the health of workers and public health on the basis of the Tier I IMAP assessment.

NICNAS is assessing the human health and environmental impacts of unassessed industrial chemicals listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).

This is being done under an innovative framework to accelerate the assessment of these chemicals called the Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP).

In July 2012 NICNAS started assessing around 3,000 existing chemicals identified as Stage One Chemicals on the AICS using the IMAP framework.

The Tier I assessment takes into account both the intrinsic hazard of the chemical and potential human exposure. As such, where hazardous chemicals are included in the list below, all requirements under workplace health and safety and poisons legislation as adopted by the relevant state or territory should be met to minimize risk.


Cosmetic Ingredients Labelling

The mandatory standard for ingredients labelling on cosmetics is prescribed by the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991. All businesses supplying goods to Australia—including online stores—must comply with mandatory standards and bans. The mandatory standard applies to the supply of all cosmetic products, except:

  • Therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

  • Free samples of cosmetic products.

  • Testers of a cosmetic product.

  • Cosmetics manufactured in Australia for export only.

Key Labelling Requirements:


  • Ensure the list of ingredients is prominent and clearly legible. List ingredients in descending order by either their mass or volume. Typically, ingredients must be listed on the product’s container. If it is not packed in a container then the ingredients should be listed on the product itself.

  • Use the English name of the ingredient or its International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) names.

  • The list of ingredients may include reference to color additives that are not in the cosmetic product if the color additive is added to some batches of the product for color matching or used in one or more (but not all) items of a cosmetic product range. If a cosmetic product contains a color additive that fits the above description, the list of ingredients must use either the words ‘may contain’ (or similar) followed by the name of the additive, or symbol ‘+/-’ and the name of the additive.

  • The ingredients list must include any flavors in the product by including flavor, flavors, aroma or aromas.

  • The ingredients list must include any fragrances in the product by including fragrance, fragrances, parfum or perfumes.

  • There is no need to include incidental ingredients in the ingredients list. Incidental ingredients are those that have no technical or functional effect in the cosmetic product and are only present at insignificant levels.

  • The Minister may, on application, grant confidentiality status in relation to an ingredient if the Minister is satisfied that: revealing the name of the ingredient would prejudice a trade secret, and the ingredient in the product is unlikely to cause harm to the consumer. If ingredient confidentiality is granted, the ingredient can be shown as ‘other ingredient’ in the ingredient list. Exemptions granted under this provision are subject to periodic review.

List Of Ingredients Order:


1. The ingredients in a cosmetic product must be listed:

(a) On the container; or

(b) If the product is not packed in a container — on the product; in descending order by volume or mass.


2. As an alternative to sub regulation (1), the ingredients may be listed in the following order:

(a) Ingredients (except color additives) in concentrations of 1 per cent or more — in descending order by volume or mass; and

(b) Ingredients (except color additives) in concentrations of less than 1 per cent — in any order; and

(c) Color additives — in any order.


3. If sub regulation (1) or (2) cannot be complied with in relation to a container or a cosmetic product because of its:

(a) Size; or

(b) Shape; or

(c) Nature;

a list of the product’s ingredients must be shown in another way that ensures that a consumer can be informed about the ingredients in the product.


4. A list of ingredients in a cosmetic product may include a reference to a color additive that is not in the cosmetic product if the color additive is:

(a) Added to some batches of the product for the purposes of color matching; or

(b) Used in one or more (but not all) of a range of cosmetic products.


5. For the purposes of paragraph (4) (b), a range of products means a number of cosmetic products produced by the same supplier that are:

(a) Similar in composition; and

(b) Intended for the same use; and

(c) Available in different shades.


6. If a cosmetic product may contain a color additive mentioned in sub regulation (4), the list of ingredients:

(a) Must say that the product may contain the additive; and

(b) Must do so by using:

(i) The words ‘may contain’ (or other words of similar meaning) and the name of the additive; or

(ii) The symbol ‘’ and the name of the additive.


7.A flavour or flavours in a cosmetic product must be shown in the list of the product’s ingredients by including in the list:

(a) The word ‘flavour’, ‘flavours’, ‘aroma’ or ‘aromas’; or

(b) The ingredients in the flavour or flavours.


8. A fragrance or fragrances in a cosmetic product must be shown in the list of the product’s ingredients by including in the list:

(a) The word ‘fragrance’, ‘fragrances’, ‘parfum’ or ‘parfums’; or

(b) The ingredients in the fragrance or fragrances.


9. An incidental ingredient in a cosmetic product need not be included in the list of the product’s ingredients.

If you are producing cosmetics by blending ingredients that are purchased from an Australian supplier, you do not need to register your business with NICNAS.