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Australia Releases New Cosmetics Standard

February 02, 2021
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The Australian government has implemented a new legislative instrument, Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020. This standard introduces some new rules and definitions specifically for hand sanitizers.

On November 24, 2020, the Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020 was published in Australia. This new legislative instrument repealed the existing standard – Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991. The new standard specifies the definition of and introduces some new rules for hand sanitizers.

Effective dateComply with
Until May 23, 2021
  • Cosmetics Information Standard 2020; or
  • Consumer Product (Cosmetics) Information Standards 1991

*A transitional period is given to cosmetic products manufactured before the end of 180 days after the commencement of the instrument

From May 24, 2021
  • Cosmetics Information Standard 2020

The specific amendments to the instrument are as below:

1. Definitions

Alcohol includes, but is not limited to, ethyl alcohol (ethanol), isopropyl alcohol, and alcohol denat.

Hand Sanitizer means an antibacterial skin care product:
(a) That consists of, contains or generates, one or more antimicrobial active substances; and
(b) That is represented in any way to be, or is likely to be taken to be (whether because of the way in which it is presented or for any other reason):

  • For use on hands when soap and water are not available; and
  • Applied to the hands without rinsing off; and
  • Intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, prevent the action of, or otherwise exert a controlling effect on any bacteria on the skin

2. Additional Requirements for Hand Sanitizers

(1) Hand sanitizers contain alcohol as the primary active ingredient

(2) The amount of alcohol contained in the hand sanitizer must be shown as a percentage (%), by volume per volume (v/v), in a manner that is prominent and clearly legible:

  • In the list of ingredients; or
  • Elsewhere on the container

(3) The following warnings must be shown on the container (as the words set out below, or as other words, or pictograms, that could reasonably be regarded as having the same meaning):

  • Keep out of reach of children
  • For external use only
  • If ingested, seek immediate medical attention
  • Flammable – keep away from fire and heat
  • Discontinue use if skin irritation occurs

It is crucial for all cosmetic, personal care and household products to be safe, effective and stable. SGS provides testing, inspection and certification services to manufacturers, distributors and importers to ensure a high level of product quality in every area. Our state-of-the-art laboratories offer tailored solutions for chemical, biophysical, microbiological, stability and biological aspects. We also have extensive capabilities in performance testing, claim support studies and consumer panels. Our testing is conducted according to customer specific or recognized standard methods, some of which were developed by SGS. Our cosmetic safety assessors and other technical experts can support customers by making sure new products comply with regulatory requirements. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Contact us for more information or visit our website.

  1. Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020
  2. Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991

Next Step

Industry should pay attention on the alcohol content and warning information of hand sanitizers either on the product packaging or the container. Cosmetic products, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer, should comply with the latest regulatory requirement in Australia.

For enquiries, please contact:

Queenie Ho-yan TSE
Assistant Technical Service Manager
t: +852 2765 3672 

© SGS Group Management SA - 2021 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.

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