The global market for cosmetics was valued at USD 507.8 billion in 2018 and is predicted to rise to USD 758.4 billion by 2025.1 Successfully accessing these markets demands conformity to constantly changing regulations. What is the most effective way to achieve and maintain compliance?


The cosmetics industry is currently in a period of change with many of the big industry names finding it increasingly difficult to compete with direct-to-consumer brands that utilize large social media followings and an arsenal of influencers. This is being exacerbated by the fact the traditional cosmetics business model seems to be finding it difficult to keep up with a shifting consumer demand that is looking for more skincare products and, in general, beauty products that are clean and eco-friendly.2

Recalls and Regulation

Changing consumer demand is just one of the factors currently impacting the cosmetics industry. The nature of the product means the markets for cosmetics and personal care items are some of the most regulated in the world. An internet search will quickly produce articles about products that have been recalled for non-compliance and safety failures.3

As a snapshot of the problem, in Q4 of 2019 the European Union reported an increase of 30% on the number of notified unsafe cosmetic, personal care and household products, in comparison to Q3. Of the 30 products recalled, twelve of them were skin whitening products, with 93% relating to chemical risks.  During the same period, the US reported seven dangerous products, the same figure as Q3. The majority of these related to baby powder and, again, chemical risk was the main problem.4

Despite calls for a global convergence on cosmetic legislation, it currently does not exist.5 Manufacturers therefore must ensure their products comply with the individual requirements for each market in which they operate. At the same time, these requirements are constantly changing as new scientific evidence becomes available. 

Changes to regulatory requirements can relate to a variety of criteria, including product, market, ingredient, and formulation. This level of complexity can make it very difficult for manufacturers and retailers to stay up to date.

Navigating the Market

Successfully accessing markets and then remaining compliant requires businesses to constantly monitor a wide variety of sources for information relating to regulations and legislation. Horizontal scanning of the legislative landscape provides intelligence on changes that may impact their products. To guarantee compliance, this information must be relevant to each aspect of the product – formulation, ingredients, markets, and so on. If a manufacturer or retailer fails to perform this task successfully, their business may be required to perform a costly recall of the non-compliant product. This can be damaging, both financially and in terms of its effect on a brand’s reputation. 

Equally, if a manufacturer successfully remains informed on regulatory changes and is able to implement updates as required, this will not only ensure their products remain compliant and reduce the risk of recall and reputation damage, it will also help them to optimize production, reduce costs, and minimize the time to market for their products.

Achieving this in-house is costly and time-consuming, and so many businesses rely on external specialists to keep them up to date.

SGS Solution

SGS Digicomply is a compliance intelligence platform that keeps manufacturers and brands informed about changes to regulations and legislation that could affect their products. 
Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and big data tools to monitor the regulatory landscape, SGS Digicomply constantly horizontally scans all the necessary sources of information that may be relevant to cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers. 

SGS Digicomply for Cosmetics, Personal Care and Household products quickly and efficiently delivers granular information on changes to market and any regulatory requirements relating to products, ingredients, and formulation. It provides reassurance to manufacturers that a product will remain compliant with the target market’s requirements. 

Learn more about SGS Digicomply for Cosmetics, Personal Care, and Household products.

For more information, please contact:

Nicola Colombo
t: +41(0)215520976

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1 Value of the cosmetics market worldwide from 2018 to 2025 
2 People are ditching iconic makeup brands
3 Becca Cosmetics Voluntarily Recalls Light Shifter Brightening Concealer & Asbestos in Makeup Leads to Recall of City Color Products
4 Product Recall Trends in 2019 Q4
5 Will we ever have global cosmetics legislation?