Definition of a Cosmetic

Date: 1st August 2009


Prepared By Henry King BSc Down Under Cosmetics-Chemicals-Technologies

Due to the increase in new and available raw material to the cosmetic industry , the ASCC feels that it is necessary to revise the definition of a cosmetic.

After reviewing a wide range of international definitions , (references attached) and to minimize confusion we have agreed to base it on the Australian definition with the added inclusion that” .. a cosmetic should not be intended to be systemically absorbed

Hence based on the NICNAS Cosmetic Guidelines 2007

In general, cosmetics must meet the following criteria or requirements:

The product must meet the definition of cosmetics in Australia under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989, namely:

Cosmetic means:

(a) a substance or preparation intended for placement in contact with any
external part of the human body, including:

(1) the mucous membranes of the oral cavity; and

(2) the teeth

with a view to

(3) altering the odours of the body; or

(4) changing its appearance; or

(5) cleansing it; or

(6) maintaining it in good condition: includes controlling through, for example,
cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, and or drying: or

(7) perfuming it; or

(8) protecting it; or

(b) a substance or preparation prescribed by regulations made for the purposes
of this paragraph;

(c) a substance or preparation that should not be intended to be systemically

But does not include:

(d) a therapeutic good within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989

The product must NOT be for preventing diagnosing, curing or alleviating a disease, ailment, defect or injury in persons. However, this does not preclude use of words prevent/preventing/prevention for general cosmetic purposes.

The product must not be scheduled by S2,S3,S4 or S8 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons(SUSDP)

The product must be marketed as a cosmetic taking into account the labeling, packaging, advertising and/or the label statements:
The product must have full ingredient disclosure in accordance with the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991;
The product may be presented as being explicitly for cosmetic purposes only; and
The product name would NOT by itself make the product a therapeutic good, unless that name makes a reference to a disease, ailment, defect or injury in persons. 1 of 2

The product must meet any applicable condition detailed in the new Cosmetics Standard (made under section 81 of the ICNA Act). The Cosmetics Standard sets out the standards (or conditions) that apply to certain product categories.

The product must NOT contain chemicals prohibited for use in cosmetics or meets restrictions specified for chemicals used in cosmetics


1. Personal Care Asia –May 2008 37-38 “Cosmeceuticals: Advertising Rules and Claims”
2. “Is it a Cosmetic, aDrug or Both?”
3. NICNAS Cosmetic Guidelines 2007