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Australia Cosmetics Regulation

Australia legally classifies beauty products into two categories: cosmetics and therapeutic goods. The regulations governing each category differ greatly.

A 'cosmetic' is a substance or preparation that is for use on any external part of the human body—or inside the mouth—to change its appearance, cleanse it, keep it in good condition, perfume it or protect it.

Examples of cosmetics:

TypesExamples
Face and nail
  • Nail care products including nail hardeners and products to deter nail biting
  • Make up (mascara, eyeshadow, primer, bronzer etc)
  • Nail polish and varnish
  • Tinted bases and foundation (liquids, pastes, powders) without SPF sunscreen
  • Make up removers
  • Lipstick and lip balms without SPF sunscreen
  • Face masks and scrubs
Hair care and hairdressing products
  • Hair tints, hair dyes and bleaches
  • Products for waving, straightening, and fixing hair
  • Hair setting products (e.g. gels, sprays, lotions)
  • Shampoo and hair cleansing products including lotions and powders
  • Hair conditioner (e.g. lotions, creams, oils)
  • Hairdressing products (e.g. lotions, lacquers, brilliantines)
Oral and dental hygiene
  • Toothpaste and gel
  • Some dental bleaches/whiteners
  • Denture cleansers and adhesives
Note: Desensitising toothpastes/gels are NOT cosmetics. These are therapeutics and regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Perfumes
  • Perfumes and colognes
  • Eau de toilette
  • Eau de colognes
  • Eau de parfum
Personal hygiene
  • Feminine hygiene products — intimate cleaners, deodorants, wash, powder, moisturise and gels. We do not regulate pads, tampons and panty liners as these are articles.
  • Deodorants
  • Cleansers such as soap (e.g. toilet, deodorant, astringent, skin washes)
  • Shaving products (e.g. creams, foams, lotions)
  • Bath and shower preparations (e.g. salts, foams, oils, gels, etc.)
  • Depilatories
  • After-bath powders
  • Hygienic powders
Skin care
  • Skin moisturisers without SPF sunscreen such as creams, lotions, gels, foams
  • Sunbathing products without SPF sunscreen or with SPF sunscreen <4
  • Emollients eg creams, emulsions, lotions, gels and oils for the skin (hands, face, feet, etc)
  • Products for tanning without sun (without SPF sunscreen)
  • Some skin-whitening products (without SPF sunscreen)
  • Anti-wrinkle products (without SPF sunscreen)
  • Anti-ageing products (without SPF sunscreen)

Note:
  1. These examples are not exhaustive. Omission from the list does not necessarily mean that a product is not classified as a cosmetic.
  2. Click the official link to determine if your product is a cosmetic.

The difference between therapeutic goods and cosmetics is not always clear. The main factors in determining whether a product is a cosmetic or a therapeutic good are:

  • its ingredients
  • the route of administration
  • if therapeutic claims are made on its label, or in advertising

Cosmetics in Australia are classified as industrial chemicals. “National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)” is responsible for managing industrial chemicals (cosmetics) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regulates the product safety and cosmetic labelling standards.

Therapeutic goods are managed by Therapeutic Goods Administration. TGA is responsible for formulating and implementing the regulations concerning registration of sponsors, advertising, labelling and manufacturing of therapeutic goods.
 

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    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...
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    Take home: According to Australia Cosmetic regulation reform, Australia will prohibit animal testing of cosmetics from July 1st 2018. In line with the replacement of Australia’s overall chemical (including cosmetics) regulatory framework, (see news Australia...

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