China Suggests Eight Categories for Licensing Special Use Cosmetics

China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) sought comment regarding its recent organization of "special use cosmetics" into eight different categories. Currently, a manufacturer or importer of cosmetics in China can apply with the SFDA for a record-keeping certificate for an ordinary cosmetic or a hygienic license for a special use cosmetic. On Dec. 29, 2011, the SFDA published eight draft categories to obtain a hygienic license including: liquid, half solid, solid, cream or lotion, aerosol, organic solvent, ceryl-based and other.

Ordinary cosmetics have been defined as hair care, nail care, skin care, perfumes and makeup whereas special use cosmetics have been defined as hair growth, hair dye, hair perm, hair removal, breast shaping, fitness, deodorizing, spots removal and sunscreen.

The new eight categories are based on the production process and product type, and comments were required by Jan. 12, 2012. Liquid cosmetics are any liquid cosmetic other than creams, whereas half solid cosmetics are gel products other than creams. Solid cosmetics are solid products other than creamy powder. Cream or lotion cosmetics are those made by emulsification. Aerosol cosmetics are self-explanatory, as canned products designed with a function of streaming agent. Organic solvent cosmetics are liquid products that contain a large amount of volatile organic solvents (perfume, nail polish, etc.). Ceryl-based cosmetics use wax as basic ingredients. Finally, other cosmetics is a catch-all for products that do not fit into the above categories. A product that fits into more than one category is to be classified by its major category.

Foreign companies are to appoint a Chinese responsible agent to deal with registration and obtain the necessary license or certificate. Before applying for a license or record-keeping certificate, companies must make sure that their formula meets the Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics (published by the Ministry of Health in 2007). This standard banned more than 1,200 chemicals in cosmetics and restricted the use of 73 chemicals, 56 preservatives, 156 colorants, 28 sunscreen agents and 93 dyes in cosmetics. A new ingredient that is not currently listed on the Inventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients in China (IECIC) also requires registration with SFDA. In addition, new cosmetic ingredients might be subject to the requirements of new chemical notification in China.

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