Choosing a cosmetic product: the quagmire of regulations and marketing A riddle clouded by cryptic rules and misleading claims


1. Vevy Europe, Genova, Italy
2. Insight Analysis Consulting, Brownsboro, AL, U.S.A.


The world of cosmetics is very serious and everywhere increasingly regulated.
Attention to consumer safety and to the environment is very high and is always the primary aim of the regulator.
Nonetheless, several self-accredited organizations creep into the meshes of the system promising greater protection and benefits with additional restrictions and criteria that have nothing to do with the regulatory framework and lead to consumer confusion and difficulty in making informed choices.
This paper recalls some relevant points of current legislations and seeks to clarify some basic concepts.

For many years, cosmetic products have been marketed without specific regulatory constraints. Perhaps assuming that selling safe products is in the very interest of the producer, the legislators relied on the manufacturers and distributors and did not promulgate mandatory rules to assess the safety of these products.


Over time this situation has changed. In recent years increasingly stringent regulations on claims and safety have been promulgated by the legislators. Unfortunately, in addition to these regulatory results, private self-accredited organizations have publicized voluntary guidelines and experimental protocols to assess efficacy, that are supported neither by scientific consensus nor by legislative tolerance. The net result of all this is that the consumers are confused and that their decisions are “emotion-based” and not “informed”.


Cosmetics and drugs
In the USA and in the EU, cosmetics are considered «cosmetics» as long as their action is confined to the surface of the skin that they are meant to «improve» (i.e. “more” soft, luminous, moist, ev ...