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South Korea Cosmetics Regulation

In South Korea, the cosmetic regulatory system is founded on the Cosmetic Act which is the overarching regulation for cosmetics. Supporting this act is a series of subordinate rules, standards and guidance documents. The original Cosmetic Act was issued on September 7 1999 and came into force on July 1 2000. Since this date the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), formerly Korean Food and Drug Administration, has amended the act 14 times. The newest revised version came into force on July 31 2014.

In South Korea, cosmetics are divided into two categories: general cosmetics and functional cosmetics. Functional cosmetics refer to products that aid in brightening skin, improving wrinkles in skin, tanning skin gently or protecting skin from sun’s ultraviolet radiation, are subject to more stringent evaluation than general cosmetics.

To conduct commercial operations in Korean, under the cosmetic regulation, an enterprise intending to manufacture cosmetics shall be registered as a “manufacturer" while an enterprise that intends to import cosmetics shall be registered as a “Marketing authorization holder".

For general cosmetics, manufacturers or importers completing registration with MFDS are permitted to manufacture/import and market the cosmetic products but are subject to post-market supervision.

For functional cosmetics, both manufacturers and importers are required to undergo an evaluation on safety and efficacy of cosmetics and submit information necessary for such evaluation to MFDS. Only after getting approval are manufacturers and importers of functional cosmetics permitted to manufacture or import. Before marketing the products, manufacturers and importers need to get approval again.

Originally, all ingredients introduced to Korea for the first time that have not been designated or publicly notified as cosmetic ingredients are required to undergo an evaluation before manufacture or importation, but now (excepting sunscreen agents, preservatives and colorants) new cosmetic ingredients can be used without any approvals from MFDS. In this case, manufacturers or importers are fully responsible for the safety.

Manufacturers and importers are required to use safe containers and packaging to prevent toxic poisoning of children due to misuse. The information that shall be indicated on labels of containers or packaging includes:

  • Name of product
  • Trade name
  • Address of a manufacturer or importer
  • All ingredients used
  • Volume or weight of contents
  • Manufacturing number
  • Expiry date
  • Price
  • The words “functional cosmetics” in cases of functional cosmetics
  • Precautions labelling

All labeling or advertisements that are likely to deceive or mislead consumers are prohibited.

  • Korea Appoints One New Cosmetics Testing Institution

      Official Release   31 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    Korea appointed YS Environmental Technology Research Institute as an approved testing institution for general and functional cosmetics. There are now 17 approved cosmetic testing institutions in Korea...
  • South Korea 2017 Cosmetics Trade Surplus Exceeds 4 Trillion Won

      Official Release   27 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    South Korea's export diversification strategy in Southeast Asia and Europe has spurred cosmetics trade surplus in 2017 to exceed 4 trillion won for the first time...
  • Korea Cracking Down on Spurious Functional Cosmetics Advertising

      Official Release   26 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    On July 9, 2018, Korean MFDS announced the results of an inspection conducted on hair loss functional cosmetics, and imposed administrative sanctions on a total of 587 functional cosmetics due to...
  • China Cruelty Free Cosmetics: An Interview With Cruelty Free International

      ChemLinked Exclusive   17 Jul 2018   Paul O Brien

    Cruelty free is a both a hugely contentious and polarizing issue for the global cosmetics industry. Despite global trends towards cruelty free best exemplified by the blanket bans on animal testing of cosmetics imposed in Europe and India, China has...
  • CAIQ to Establish Representative Office in Korea

      Others   11 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    In July 2018, CAIQ will set up a representative office in Korea, providing administrative license application and pre-quarantine services for cosmetic goods exported to China...
  • Korea to Amend Enforcement Rule of the Cosmetics Act

      Official Release   29 Jun 2018   Hedy He

    On Jun 22, 2018, Korea MFDS released an announcement planning to amend Enforcement Rule of the Cosmetics Act. The main amendments are as follows. Baby and children cosmetics shall label...
  • Korea Appoints One New Cosmetics Testing Institution

      Official Release   31 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    Korea appointed YS Environmental Technology Research Institute as an approved testing institution for general and functional cosmetics. There are now 17 approved cosmetic testing institutions in Korea...
  • South Korea 2017 Cosmetics Trade Surplus Exceeds 4 Trillion Won

      Official Release   27 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    South Korea's export diversification strategy in Southeast Asia and Europe has spurred cosmetics trade surplus in 2017 to exceed 4 trillion won for the first time...
  • Korea Cracking Down on Spurious Functional Cosmetics Advertising

      Official Release   26 Jul 2018   Hedy He

    On July 9, 2018, Korean MFDS announced the results of an inspection conducted on hair loss functional cosmetics, and imposed administrative sanctions on a total of 587 functional cosmetics due to...
  • Korea to Amend Enforcement Rule of the Cosmetics Act

      Official Release   29 Jun 2018   Hedy He

    On Jun 22, 2018, Korea MFDS released an announcement planning to amend Enforcement Rule of the Cosmetics Act. The main amendments are as follows. Baby and children cosmetics shall label...
  • Korean Cosmetic Safety Standard Transitional Measures End

      Official Release   12 Jun 2018   Hedy He

    The grace period of Korea Cosmetic Safety Standard ended on May 30, 2018 (See CL news). Cosmetic enterprises shall avoid importing or manufacturing products that violate the following provisions...
  • Korea Cosmetic Safety Standard Implementation Grace Period Ended

      Official Release   5 Jun 2018   Hedy He

    The grace period of Korea Cosmetic Safety Standard ended on May 30, 2018. Several types of quasi-drugs were newly designated as functional cosmetics in H1 2017. Due to the expansion of functional...
  • Korea

    The provisions are formulated pursuant to Article 5 of the Cosmetics Law and Article 11 of the Ministry Regulation on The Cosmetics Law for the purpose of stipulating necessary...
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  • Korea

    This regulation formulates the labeling method and exceptional items on the container, packaging, or other attachments of quasi-drugs are formulated according to Article 65 (2) of...
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  • Korea

    This is the newest version of Korea Cosmetic Act which entered into force on July 29 2015.  The Cosmetic Act is the overarching regulation for cosmetics in South Korea. Supporting...
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    This regulation, pursuant to Article 8 of the Cosmetics Law, is to ensure the management of manufacture (import) and safety management by defining standards of negative...
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  • China Cruelty Free Cosmetics: An Interview With Cruelty Free International

      ChemLinked Exclusive   17 Jul 2018   Paul O Brien

    Cruelty free is a both a hugely contentious and polarizing issue for the global cosmetics industry. Despite global trends towards cruelty free best exemplified by the blanket bans on animal testing of cosmetics imposed in Europe and India, China has...
  • Korea Supplements Provision for Customized Cosmetic Authentication System

      ChemLinked Exclusive   22 Mar 2018   Jo Zhou

    Korea issued an updated provision to support the newly promulgated customized cosmetic authentication system. Recently, Korea issued a specific law to regulate the customized cosmetic authentication system which will be enacted on Feb.20th 2019 (see news on CL). To...
  • Korea Drafted Regulation of Customized Cosmetic Authentication System

      ChemLinked Exclusive   6 Mar 2018   Jo Zhou

    Korea issued specific law to regulate customized cosmetic authentication system. The law will officially be enacted on Feb.20th 2019 and effective on Feb.20th 2020. In the new regulation draft, cosmetic manufacturing/ sale business will be divided into three types in the future: 1) cosmetic...
  • Korea to Make Safety Proof of Children Cosmetic Compulsory

      ChemLinked Exclusive   27 Feb 2018   Jo Zhou

    Korea is planning to amend the Cosmetic Act to make safety proof of infant/children cosmetics compulsory. Manufacturers and sellers producing infant or children cosmetics should produce, publicize and keep the following information...
  • Korea to Align Cosmetic Regulations with ASEAN Member Countries by 2019

      ChemLinked Exclusive   29 Jan 2018   Jo Zhou

    MFDS will form a new council with ASEAN member countries to create standardized cosmetic regulations for the South Asian cosmetic market by 2019...
  • Korea to Reinforce Hygiene Management of Cosmetic Product Samples

      ChemLinked Exclusive   18 Jan 2018   Jo Zhou

    An inspection revealed that most of the product test samples in cosmetic shops are contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms. The MFDS pressed the Consumer Associations to formulate rules to regulate the cosmetic test samples. The inspection investigated 42 kinds...
  • Angus Zheng

    Detailing Korean functional cosmetic registration

      14 Aug 2017  Regulation  2256

    Before May 30th 2017 functional cosmetics in Korea only referred to whitening products, anti-wrinkle products and sunscreen products. However, afterwards, MFDS expanded the scope of functional cosmetics and newly designated 5 types of quasi-drug as functional cosmetics...
  • Giacomo Cirillo

    Overview on Regulations on Animal testing for Cosmetics

      10 Aug 2017  Regulation  823

    In this article we will talk about animal testing for cosmetic products in general, its legal status in various countries and how can companies with a "cruelty free" profile export their products to China avoiding this practice. Animal testing, that is to say the...
  • Angelita Hu

    Korea Functional Cosmetics Regulations

      21 Sep 2016  Regulation  9622

    Korea defines functional cosmetics as products that aid in brightening skin, improving wrinkles in skin, tanning skin gently or protecting skin from sun's ultraviolet radiation. Functional cosmetics are subject to more stringent evaluation than general cosmetics. Based...
  • Inna Fu

    Whitening products regulatory status in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan

      2 Aug 2016  Regulation  1860

    China Whitening products with active whitening ingredients were classified as special use cosmetics since December 2013, which require registration with CFDA. Certain categories of whitening products are defined under Chinese regulations as "products which make people...
  • Tiger Kim

    Interpretation of Custom-blending Cosmetics Sales in Korea

      1 Apr 2016  Market  1996

    What is custom-blending cosmetics sales?  Definition of 'custom-blending cosmetics sales': Custom-blending cosmetics sales is the act of selling cosmetics after mixing colorant, fragrance, and other ingredients to the existing cosmetics  by the needs of the consumer at...

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Please make sure all words are spelled correctly or try to search different keywords.
You may consider our on-demand translation service if you want to have any extra E-translation of your concern.