Could The Beauty Industry Finally See Updated Regulation?

Could The Beauty Industry Finally See Updated Regulation?

Unfortunately, No. When Dr. David Kessler, the FDA commissioner, left his job in 1997, he was asked if there was anything he regretted not getting done while serving as the commissioner. He responded - "Yes." He was referring to a push to see changes in cosmetic safety regulation. Decades later, the FDA still hasn't increased oversight of the industry.

While saying "no" seems like a harsh declaration, its a reflection of current the state of the industry and sadly the reform is a victim of the cumbersome legislative process and the current political climate. Simply, its not a high priority for many elected officials - however as more and more consumers push for reform and change their beauty habits legislative and regulatory change will occur.

For 80 years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated the cosmetics and personal care industry under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1938. The fewer than a dozen pages of instructions served as the only guide on how to regulate the millions of lipsticks, moisturizers and other cosmetics sold each year.

In May of 2017 Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act, Senate Bill 1113, marking the third time the Senators have introduced legislation. 

Opponents of the bill argue that "the Feinstein-Collins proposal is not as tough as it looks on first glance". They point to California as an example of comprehensive and meaning guidelines. California has tougher cosmetics regulation than the FDA, and other states are expected to follow, however, if implemented the Personal Care Products Safety Act would override all state laws.

A Brief Overview: The Personal Care Products Safety Act (S. 1113)

(Official Legislative-Bill Language via

This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require cosmetics companies to register their facilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to submit to the FDA cosmetic ingredient statements that include the amounts of a cosmetic's ingredients. Companies must pay a facility registration fee based on their annual gross sales of cosmetics. The collected fees can only be used for cosmetic safety activities.

If the FDA determines that a cosmetic has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences, it may prohibit the cosmetic's distribution by suspending the cosmetic ingredient statement. If other cosmetics from the same facility may be affected, the FDA may prohibit distribution from the facility by suspending the facility's registration.

The FDA must review the safety of at least five cosmetic ingredients each year, and it may establish conditions for safe use of an ingredient, including a limit on the amount of the ingredient or a requirement for a warning label. A cosmetic cannot be sold if it contains an ingredient that is not safe, not safe under the recommended conditions of use, or not safe in the amount present in the cosmetic.

Cosmetics companies are required to report to the FDA any serious adverse health event associated with their cosmetics.

The FDA must:

  • develop and implement cosmetic manufacturing standards that are consistent with existing national and international standards,
  • be allowed to inspect a company's cosmetic safety records,
  • recall a cosmetic that is likely to cause serious adverse health consequences, and
  • encourage cosmetic safety testing practices that minimize the use of animals

Moving Forward

The bill has received support from legacy brands and indie brands alike such as - Juice Beauty, the Honest Company, L'Oréal and Revlon. Let's hope that next year it will receive more attention and garner more traction.

Next year? Yes, next year.

The current Congress is over at the end of 2018 and considering the bill is still sitting in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee after being introduced on May 11, 2017 I am as confident, bold, and honest as a MAC red lip paint and a high-potent vitamin C serum that the bill isn't moving from Committee.

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