Rules & Regulations- legally selling products



What you need to do to sell your products legally?

  • Formulate your products and trial them – your friends and family come in handy.
  • Obtain a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) – click here for more information from the Soap Kitchen. (There is also a helpful drop down menu with selected articles about CPSR under the Tips n Tricks section, or simply click here)
  • Establish a Good Manufacturing Practice (click here for GMP article)– this ensures your products are always safe and manufactured in a professional and hygienic manner.
  • Keep a Product Information File (PIF) – this is record of your product and latest batch produced should it be requested by the authorities or public.
  • Give each batch of product you produce a unique batch code – this means keeping full record in a manufacturing log of everything you make and the ingredients used.
  • Label your products correctly – this is imperative, as customers need to know exactly what’s in it as most cosmetics come in direct contact with skin. (N.B next week’s article will cover everything needed to label products correctly, link to be added when it goes live)
  • Notify the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) – this is a database for the purposes of market surveillance, analysis, evaluation and consumer information. (They need to be contacted even if you’re selling pre-assessed products)
  • Get the right insurance. Public liability is usually required, most insurance providers will have more information (sometimes the market itself is covered, they will let you know and usually ask for a donation to be included under their insurance)
  • Notify the HMRCTrading standards and any other authority that your are manufacturing products.

Cosmetic Regulations

Cosmetic legislation ensures that all cosmetic products that are on the market in the UK (and throughout the EU) are safe and fit for purpose. It is regulated by the European legislation, the Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009.

Article 4.2 of the regulations states:

“For each cosmetic product placed on the market, the responsible person shall ensure compliance with the relevant obligations set out in this Regulation.”

If you are making and selling products then you are the person that is held responsible to meet all the obligations set out in the regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you are complying with the regulations and carrying out all necessary record keeping and safety precautions.

The Cosmetic Regulation controls what may or may not be put into a cosmetic. The primary purpose of these laws is to protect human safety. It is important that your future customer has confidence in the safety of your products.

What products does this include?

So, if you sell any of these products, they all come under the ‘cosmetics’ umbrella and will need to comply with the specific regulations:

  • soaps
  • shower gels
  • bath bombs
  • bath salts
  • body scrubs
  • lip balm
  • shampoos
  • hair dyes
  • skin toners
  • moisturisers
  • cleansers
  • creams
  • antiperspirants
  • sunscreens
  • oral hygiene products such as toothpastes
  • fine fragrances and other perfumery products

It can seem quite daunting and can initially be an expensive process, but once the ball starts rolling, it will improve productivity within your business (no matter how big or small) and give you the ability to proudly sell your products legally, and who knows where it will take you…If you don’t believe us watch ‘The Story of The Soap Kitchen’ and see how our Director’s began.

Sounds too scary?

If however, this is all terrifying and too much information, why not start by selling handmade pre-assessed toiletries? This will give you the opportunity to be creative by adding your own branding & packaging but none of the ‘legal’ hassle, please be aware though you will still need to alert The Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP) for more information we have an article dedicated to pre-assessed products, click here)

Here to help

We have lots of information about CPSR’s, there is a dedicated folder in the drop down menu under Tips&Tricks which has flagged any relevant articles, various information on our FAQ‘s and a whole section on our main website.  We hope this has answered any questions you had, if you are still unsure of something comment below and we’ll do our best to help.

13 thoughts on “Rules & Regulations- legally selling products

    1. Hi Simon, ah yes, very valid point! As of yet, we are unsure, we need to wait and see what the government decides. In the meantime though, our director has written an article about the possible affects that Brexit will have. As you have now bought this to my attention, I will chase him for it and get it posted ASAP. Thanks again…watch this space!

      1. Can you tell me if a product needs to be reassessed if an ingredient is removed?

        For example – if an essential oil has been removed from a bath bomb?
        Or, if a butter has been removed from a balm?

        Nothing else has changed – the remaining ingredients are in the same quantity and made the same way.

        Thank you

        1. Hi Nicola, good question- as long as the base recipe remains the same, you can include a change such as different essential oil or colour as a variation for that 1 base recipe. However, removing a butter from a balm would be changing the recipe so yes that would need to be re-assessed. I hope that makes sense.

          1. Thank you for your quick reply.

            I’ve already had them assessed but a customer asked if I could remove the lavender essential oil from the bath bomb but leave the remaining oils the same, because they can’t use lavender.

            And with the other, it’s a body butter without the coconut butter but the shea butter and oils remain the same. No fragrance or colour anyway. The texture will change so that means it needs reassessment?

          2. Hi Nicola, you will have to apply for a variation change for the bath bomb, this is usually a £37.50 surcharge, and yes the body butter will need a new assessment as the base formulation has changed.

  1. I look foward to reading it.
    I see that large businesses (like Lush) are likely to not be taking any chances. Opening new factories in Europe seems a safer bet than relying on the government to deliver an agreement that “fits l all”.
    Small businesses as usual will be left hanging.

  2. Hello, I’ve just migrated from Australia to the UK so my knowledge of these rules is a little lacking. If you are making soap that non cosmetic for example a dishwashing soap do the above rules apply?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi.
      So if my soap base stays the same constantly. Can i change the FO and colourants and add different embeds etc without having to reassess?

      Thank you

      1. Hi Abbie,
        Any variation on the soaps need to assesed, a standard CPSR form allows for one fixed base and 6 variants.
        Hope this clarifies this for you.

  3. Hi there, im interested in making my own cosmetics and selling them..Why all of these safety rules and regulations? When nearly all of the products on the market are not safe. And contain alot of chemicals we don’t need in our bodies. Even cleaners aswell contain alot of nasty chemicals. I want to make products that contain only natural ingredients..Will I need a license? Thank you

    1. Hello, the rules and regulations are in place to ensure the functioning of the internal market and a high level of protection of human health, as well as protection for you and your products. I would recommend Formula Botanica as they do a wide variety of courses and specialise in natural and organic processes. Yes if you plan to sell any products you will need a license. Please see a link below to Formula Botanica.

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