Effect of New Regulations on Hair Colouring Products in the EU

As we enter 2005 the status of hair dye materials in the European Union (EU) is very unclear. Making sure a hair colouring product is regulatory compliant and safe has always been an issue because these products often contain intrinsically hazardous materials such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and para-phenylene diamine (PPD), which is perhaps the material with the most chequered history of all materials used in cosmetics. Who is to say whether by the end of the decade we will still have an hair colouring industry in the EU, based on current chemistry, or not? To understand the position in the EU at present we need to consider how we got here.

In 1976, when the Cosmetic Directive was created, a positive list for hair colouring ingredients was envisaged (along with one for antioxidants) but was not created at that time. However, the legislators saw the need to control materials used for the purpose of colouring the hair as they are generally considered to be “nasty”. This was done by assessing selected materials and either banning or regulating them via a series of Commission Directives.

The safety of cosmetic raw materials has been assessed for the European Commission by a committee made up of expert representatives from the Member States. This group has had a number of names but was until recently known as the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP) and is currently known as the Scientifi c Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP).

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