Council Directive 76/768 of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ("Cosmetics Directive") has been adopted in 1976 in order to ensure the free circulation of cosmetic products in the internal market and to ensure the safety of cosmetic products placed on it.
Since its adoption, the Cosmetics Directive has been amended by the European legislators (the European Parliament and the Council) seven times in order to reflect new trends and challenges concerning cosmetic products. For example, the "sixth amendment" led to the adoption of the inventory of ingredients used in cosmetic products and introduced the principle of marketing ban in relation to tests on animals. The "seventh amendment" provided inter alia for more detailed provisions notably on the phasing out of animal testing.
Apart from these so-called 'amendments', the Commission has adopted more than fifty 'adaptations' in order to adapt to technical process the provisions in the annexes to the Cosmetics Directive to technical progress.
In order to provide guidance to Member State authorities, industry, and other stakeholders on the interpretation of various provisions of the Cosmetics Directive, a number of guidance documents, have been adopted in close cooperation with the Member State authorities.
Revision of the Cosmetics Directive
The Cosmetics Directive has been recasted into a Regulation. On 30 November 2009, was adopted the new Cosmetic Products Regulation, EU Regulation 1223/2009.
With the new Cosmetics Regulation Europe is having a robust, internationally recognised regime, which reinforces product safety taking into consideration the latest technological developments, including the possible use of nanomaterials.
Most of the provisions of this new regulation will be applicable as from 11 July 2013. The ban and the strict regime aiming at phasing out animal testing were not modified.