UK beauty brand regulations

Compliance and regulations UK beauty brands should know

Legal requirements and regulations represent the not-so-sexy side of launching a beauty brand in the UK – but their importance cannot be overstated. Being aware and understanding legislation that affects your beauty business and the rules that must be complied with, is one of the very first steps you’ll need to take on your journey to launch.  


Why are regulations so important for beauty brands launching into the UK? 


Standards are strict here in the UK when it comes to manufacturing and selling cosmetics. Although this can be tough to navigate for brands with products pre-formulated for other markets, the basis for the regulations is safety. Anything that goes on the skin must adhere to a stringent set of laws designed to protect consumers.  


Here we’ve outlined some of the main regulations and areas for compliance that UK beauty brands need to be aware of – whether you’re launching for the first time here, or want to grow your overseas beauty business into the UK market.  


The legal basics for beauty brands launching into the UK 


Pre-Brexit, the UK was bound by EU Regulation EC 1223/2009 – as well as its own Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013. Both are still in place until 2022, and the latter will likely come under review in the near future to encompass any elements found within the EU law. Unfortunately, this means that some EU businesses selling in the UK (and vice versa) may need to make modifications to their products in coming months in preparation for any changes that could occur within existing legislation.  


To begin with, your business must be appropriately registered, and you must have an RP (Responsible Person) here in the UK. A UK RP can be the manufacturer, a person in the UK designated by written mandate, a distributor or importer.  


This ensures that should any breaches occur or concerns arise, an RP in the UK is available to deal with them. Non-compliance related to any of the following areas is then the responsibility of your company and your RP.   


1/ Formulation 


Before exploring the feasibility of your brand and offering as a whole here, it’s worth checking that your current formulas can be sold here in the UK. If modification is required, is it worth the implications of time and money spent to do so? 


To determine compliance with UK formulation requirements you must be able to list your ingredients and quantities alongside Safety Data Sheets and a Certificate of Analysis on each ingredient for consideration. This can be obtained from your own labs or third-party manufacturers. Lab tests will then need to be conducted on your products to confirm their safety.  


You’ll also need to disclose and display country of origin and complete company details on any products sold in the UK.  


2/ Packaging and labelling your beauty products   


Governed by Trading Standards and cosmetic law, labelling compliance here includes a variety of elements that are markedly different compared with other territories such as the US.  


Your labelling must include: 


*Name and address of UK RP 

*Durability (the ‘use by’ of the product – how long it remains usable once opened – in a format relevant to the time periods set out) 

*Any precautions users must take when using the product 

*Batch code 


*Ingredients list, presented in required format  

*Any additional information required by law specifically pertaining to your product  


3/ Product claims and advertising your beauty products  


Also falling under the jurisdiction of Trading Standards and covered by the EU Regulation 655/2013 is the authenticity and transparency of your advertising and marketing. In particular, any claims you make regarding your products ingredients and efficacy. Claims you make should be: 




*Supported by evidence 



*Clear and understandable to end user  


This covers both your marketing and promotional materials (print and digital) and any claims you make on the product itself. Beware of ‘free from’ claims – sulfate-free, paraben-free, preservative-free – these must be wholly accurate and can’t be presented on the label as key information.  


As you can see, legal requirements for beauty businesses in the UK inform your entire launch approach and offering – not just how it is presented, but whether it is viable to make any modifications needed to your brand and prospective products in order to enter this new territory.  


This article covers a brief overview of the regulations you’ll need to adhere to when selling cosmetic products in the UK – but if you are launching a large product range in the UK for the first time or are unsure of where to start with legal requirements for UK beauty businesses, you may need in-depth professional guidance to ensure full compliance. Speak to us today about launching your beauty brand in the UK safely and successfully.  


Want to learn more about launching your beauty brand here in the UK? Read our white paper here  


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Come and visit us

53 King Street
Manchester M2 4LQ.

Give us a call

+44 161 8359560

Drop us an email