Regulatory overview of cosmetic products

Understand the regulatory requirements for cosmetic products, and find out how to submit a product notification before supplying the product in Singapore.

What is a cosmetic product

A cosmetic product is defined as any substance or preparation that is intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body, such as the skin, hair, nails, lips or mouth (including gums, teeth and tongue), for the purpose of:

  • Cleaning them
  • Perfuming them
  • Changing their appearance
  • Correcting body odours
  • Protecting them
  • Keeping them in good condition

Cosmetic products are not:

  • Injections and eye-drops.
  • Products that are consumed orally, such as tablets, capsules or beverages.
  • Products that are intended for treatment, such as acne treatment creams.

Cosmetic products regulatory requirements

Cosmetic products supplied in Singapore must comply with the requirements under the Health Products Act and its Health Products (Cosmetic Products - ASEAN Cosmetic Directive) Regulations 2007 (the Regulations).

The Regulations are in line with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD), which adopts similar regulatory principles and requirements as the European Union (EU) regulations on cosmetic products.

For more information on regulatory requirements and guidelines for cosmetic products, please refer to the Guidelines On The Control of Cosmetic Products.

Product notification

cosmetic product notification usually needs to be submitted before you can sell a cosmetic product in Singapore. This is to facilitate regulatory follow-up should safety concerns arise.

However, a notification does not need to be submitted in the following situations:

  • Your cosmetic product is supplied solely as a sample in connection with any advertising, sponsorship or promotional activity.
  • Your cosmetic product is supplied solely for testing or trial use in connection with any research or development of that product.
  • Your cosmetic product is manufactured by, or in accordance with the specifications of a medical practitioner, and supplied solely by that medical practitioner for the use of patients under his care.

Overview of process to supply cosmetic products in Singapore

Stages of supplying cosmetic products Details
Before submitting a product notification
Submitting a product notification
After submitting a product notification
 

 

Ingredient requirements

Ingredient requirements

Refer to the Annexes of the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (Updated July 2019) for the most updated list of prohibited and restricted ingredients, including permitted colouring agents, preservatives or UV filters.

Labelling requirements

Labelling requirements

The following details should appear on the outer packaging or on the immediate packaging of cosmetic products if there is no outer packaging. The details must be listed in English. Information in other languages, if any, may be used in addition to English and should be the same as the English version.

  1. The name of the cosmetic product and its function, unless it is clear from the presentation of the product.
  2. Instructions on the use of the cosmetic product, unless it is clear from the product name or presentation.
  3. A full ingredient listing, declared in descending order of weight at the time they are added.
    • Perfume and aromatic compositions and their raw materials may be referred to by the words “perfume”, “fragrance”, “aroma” or “flavour”.
    • Ingredients in concentrations of less than 1% may be listed in any order after those of concentration of more than 1%.
    • Colouring agents may be listed in any order after the other ingredients, in accordance with the colour index number or denomination adopted in Annex IV.
    • For decorative cosmetic products marketed in several colour shades, all colouring agents used in the range may be listed, provided that the terms “may contain” or “+/-“ be added.
    • The ingredients shall be specified using the nomenclature from the latest edition of standard references (refer to appendix A).
    • Botanicals and extract of botanicals should be identified by its genus and species. The genus may be abbreviated.
  4. Country of manufacture.
  5. The name and address of the company or person responsible for placing the product on the local market.
  6. The contents given by weight or volume, in either metric or both metric and imperial system.
  7. The manufacturer's batch number.
  8. The manufacturing or the expiry date of the product in clear terms. The date shall be clearly expressed and shall consist of the day (if applicable), month and year, in that order.
    • The date of minimum durability shall be the date until which this product, stored under appropriate conditions, continues to fulfil its initial function. It should be preceded by the words “expiry date” or “best before”.
    • Indication of the expiry date shall be mandatory for cosmetic products the minimum durability of which is less than 30 months.
  9. Special precautions to be observed in use, especially those listed in the column “Conditions of use and warnings" in the Annexes of the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (Updated July 2019), which must appear on the label as well as any special precautionary information on the cosmetic products.
    • Member countries may require specific warnings based on local needs for declaration of ingredients from animal origin. In this case:
      • There must be a statement (of any format) on the product label signalling the presence of ingredients of animal origin.
      • For ingredients of bovine or porcine origin, the exact animal must be declared.

Note: The following are not regarded as ingredients:

  • Impurities in the raw materials used.
  • Subsidiary technical materials used in the preparation but not present in the final products.
  • Materials used in strictly necessary quantities as solvents, or as carriers, for perfume and aromatic compositions.

If the size, shape or nature of the container or package does not permit the particulars above to be displayed, the use of leaflets, pamphlets, hang tags, display panel, shrink wrap, etc. is allowed. However, the following particulars at least should appear on small immediate packaging:

  • Name of the cosmetic product.
  • Manufacturer's batch number.

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Advertisements on cosmetic products:

  • Cannot claim to modify a physiological process, such as a reversal of hair loss, or to prevent or treat a disease or medical conditions.
  • Can only make claims that are aligned with the definition of cosmetic products, and are justified by scientific data or evidence and/or by the cosmetic formulation or preparation itself.
  • Must only make claims that are aligned with the Appendix III ASEAN Cosmetic Claim Guideline, and can be fully substantiated when requested as per the Singapore Code of Advertising Practices (SCAP). Advertising activities should also comply with the principles and guidelines listed in SCAP.

Good Manufacturing Practice certification

Good Manufacturing Practice certification

Cosmetic product manufacturers in Singapore do not require a manufacturer’s licence. However, the manufacturer may apply for a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate to facilitate the export of the cosmetic products.

Refer to our guide on GMP certification for more details on how to apply.

Certificate of Free Sale

Certificate of Free Sale

The Singapore Customs issues the Certificate of Free Sale for goods sold locally. You may refer to the Singapore Customs website for details on how to apply.

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