The Cosmetics Laboratory provides both analytical and investigative services mainly to the Health Products Regulation Group on the regulatory testing of cosmetics for prohibited and restricted substances listed under the Health Products Act. This is to ensure the safety of cosmetic products sold in Singapore.
Cosmetic products cover a wide range of preparations that are used for cleansing, beautifying or promoting attractiveness.
The variety of samples that are required to be tested is large and includes eye makeup (eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, eye cream, etc), lipsticks (lip liner, lip gloss, lip cream, etc), skin care products (creams, lotions, cleansers, moisturizers, toners, etc), hair care products (hair dyes, oils, creams, sprays, shampoo, etc), personal hygiene products and oral hygiene products.
Cosmetic products are tested for a list of prohibited or restricted substances such as colourants (rhodamine B, metanil yellow, etc), toxic metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, etc), oxidative hair dyes (phenylene diamines), carcinogenic substances and poisons.
Because of the scarcity of test methods available for cosmetic testing, the Laboratory carries out extensive research and development to innovate new methods for testing. The matrix of the cosmetic products, often containing fatty materials, herbal mixtures, perfumes, stabilisers and preservatives, adds to the complexity in the development of test methods.
The Laboratory is involved in method validation activities with ASEAN member countries and has been designated the leading laboratory in ASEAN on the analysis of prohibited colourants and tretinoin in cosmetic products since 2003.