EC releases a list of more than 15000 cosmetics ingredients

The European Commission has launched a new online database of the ingredients used in cosmetic products making it easier for companies to find up-to-date information on substances needed to develop new cosmetics or to improve existing ones. Companies will no longer have to search through various documents to get the full picture. EU law on cosmetic products is now more accessible and transparent and this will make life easier for companies and reduce costs. It will also facilitate market surveillance by the Competent Authorities and contribute to the safety of cosmetic products.

The new database, called ‘CosIng’ (COSmetics INGredients), replaces the old pdf format list which was one of the most consulted documents on the DG Enterprise website. Using CosIng, businesses and authorities can now check if and how a substance is regulated at EU level, from when and how it has been regulated through the years and what are the opinions of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) which form the basis of this legislation.

The European cosmetics industry is worth over € 35 billion per year. It is highly innovative and, on average, cosmetic companies replace or reformulate around 25% of their products every year. Cosmetic products are also important consumer products: apart from "traditional" cosmetic products, such as make-up and perfumes, it also includes products for personal hygiene, for example toothpaste, shampoos and soaps.

The Cosmetics Directive requires that any substance used in cosmetic products needs to be listed under an international nomenclature for ingredients. The new CosIng database contains more than 15 000 cosmetics ingredients, accessible in a user-friendly manner. In addition:

  • It hyperlinks to opinions of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) and to the authorisation in force for substances used as colorants, preservatives and UV-filters and to restrictions regarding the use of certain substances.
  • It provides more information on ingredients, such as their chemical name and their international recognised name which must be labelled on cosmetic products.

Extra information

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) is one of the three independent non-food Scientific Committees managed by Directorate Health and Consumer Protection (SANCO) of the European Commission. The Scientific Committees provide the Commission with the sound scientific advice it needs when preparing policy and proposals relating to consumer safety, public health and the environment. Community scientific advisory procedures are based on the principles of scientific excellence, independence and transparency. SCCP currently has 16 members selected for their high scientific expertise.