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Selling Cosmetics in Oz

Updated 13 January 2008

Selling cosmetics (soap and other personal skin care items) can be very rewarding. But it is important to know that there are regulations that govern the manufacture and sale of cosmetics in Australia and there are legal obligations for individuals and companies that need to be met. The following are links to some of the regulatory bodies and are provided as a starting point on your journey to selling cosmetics in Australia. ~ Lisa Wood-Bradley

IMPORTANT UPDATE - the government has undertaken a reform of the cosmetics industry in Australia which it completed in September 2007. This has effectively meant significant changes to the cottage industry of handmade soapers & bath/body products.

In brief: If you manufacture for commercial purposes cold processed or hot processed soap then you must register your business with NICNAS and pay an annual fee (due August/September each year). If you import raw ingredients for use in cosmetic manufacturing and formulation, again for commercial purposes, then you must also register your business with NICNAS and pay the annual registration fee. There are some instances where you may be exempt from this. However, it is best in all instances that you research and read all the information provided by the NICNAS people.

Links to other government departments and their applicable legislations re cosmetics:

The ACCC has a lot of useful information about product safety, liability, definitions of what is a cosmetic and mandatory labelling requirements: - Product Liability - Cosmetics and toiletries: ingredient labelling, product information a mandatory standard guide. Download the booklet that explains the standard, the responsibilities of suppliers and retailers under it, and the ACCC's role in enforcing it. - Cosmetics and toiletries—ingredient labelling (Trade Practices Regulation—SR 1991 No. 327 - as amended by SR 1998 No. 364 - dated 22 December 1998). This includes the definition of what is a cosmetic and how it should be labelled.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has the very useful Cosmetic Claims Guideline which tells you what you can and can't claim about your cosmetic product.

The Consumer Affairs Division, Department of Treasury is also a useful contact. (02 62632763)

There is an industry association - The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association - which is another helpful source. (02 99277370)

The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (which replaces Worksafe Australia) deals with permissible ingredients in cosmetic products.

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