Q&A on the regulatory requirements to sell cosmetic products in Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland

May 16, 2023 – The European Economic Area (EEA) agreement extends the principle of free movement of goods, capital, services, and persons to Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. Essentially, according to the EEA agreement, all EU laws on the EU internal market apply also to those countries.

In light of this, the EU Cosmetics Regulation applies to EEA countries. Below are our replies to the most common answers we receive from beauty brands on this matter.


Which is the geographic relevance of the EU Cosmetics Regulation?

The EU Cosmetics Regulation applies to all 27 EU Member States and EEA countries, namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. Furthermore, since Brexit, the Regulation does not apply anymore to Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), but it remains in force in Northern Ireland.


Is compliance with EU requirements sufficient to sell cosmetic products in the EEA countries?

All cosmetic products must comply with the requirements of the EU Cosmetics Regulation to be lawfully placed on the EU and EEA markets. Hence, beauty brands must go through the compliance process that consists of, among others, the following:

  • Appointment of a Responsible Person (RP) based in the EU or Iceland, Norway, or Liechtenstein that ensures compliance with regulatory requirements;
  • Compilation of a Product Information File (PIF), including a Safety Assessment Report (SAR) by a qualified safety assessor;
  • Products notification to the CPNP.

Considering this, a cosmetic product that has completed the EU compliance process can also be sold in the EEA countries. However, beauty brands must translate labels into the national languages of those countries, and comply with additional packaging requirements, if any.


Does the EU Cosmetics Regulation apply to Switzerland?

No, the EU Cosmetics Regulation does not apply to Switzerland. Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) but has not signed the EEA agreement.

However, the Cassis the Dijon principle provides that goods lawfully marketed in the EU can also be sold in Switzerland. Consequently, cosmetic products compliant with the EU requirements can enter the Swiss market. But they have to meet some additional requirements. In particular:

  • Labels must be translated into at least one of the Swiss official languages: German, French, and Italian;
  • The claim “made in Switzerland” must follow the criteria specified in the Ordinance on the Use of Swiss Indications of Source for Cosmetic Products: “
    1. At least 60 per cent of the manufacturing costs are incurred in Switzerland;
    2. At least 80 per cent of the research, development and production costs are incurred in Switzerland; and
    3. The following activities take place in Switzerland or at the location specified in Switzerland:
      • The manufacture of the bulk product,
      • Filling the primary packaging with the cosmetic product or combining the bulk product and the applicator to make a ready-to-use cosmetic product, and
      • The quality controls and certifications which are required by law or uniformly regulated in the economic sector.” (Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, 2016).
  • Both the manufacturer and the importer are responsible for the compliance of cosmetic products. Alternatively, they can designate a Swiss agent to take over this obligation.


How can cosmetic products that are not compliant with the EU law be sold in Switzerland?

Cosmetic products non-compliant with the EU must follow the Swiss legislation: Federal Act on Foodstuffs and Utility Articles (2014), Ordinance on Foodstuffs and Utility Articles (2016), and Ordinance on cosmetic products (2016). These laws set requirements very similar to those existing in the EU; for example, Switzerland applies the same bans and restrictions on ingredients as the EU. Nevertheless, the Swiss authority can change these limits.


Do you have any questions on regulatory requirements for cosmetic products? Do you need assistance in the compliance process?  Contact us and subscribe to our free membership.




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