China: Highlights of the draft cosmetics supervision regulations

Last Updated: 29 July 2015
Article by Huang Jianwen

The Regulations on the Supervision and Administration of Cosmetics (Draft for Review) (the "Draft for Review") drafted by China Food and Drug Administration (the "CFDA") was published on 20 July 2015 for public comments. The current regulation governing the supervision and administration of cosmetics in China is referred to as the Regulations Concerning the Supervision of the Hygiene of Cosmetics (the "Current Regulation"). The Draft for Review contains 7 chapters, 79 articles and approximately 13,000 characters compared to the Current Regulation's 6 chapters, 35 articles and approximately 3,000 characters.

The Current Regulation was promulgated in 1989, and became effective in 1990. It focuses on implementing a supervisory system of government reviews and approvals rather than a purely market-based approach to regulation. The Current Regulation's supervisory measures may be relatively deficient with respect to striking down regulatory violations.

In addition, the food and drug administration has replaced the health administration as the government institutions in charge of regulating the quality and safety of cosmetics. This replacement was made after the State Council adjusted the scope of various PRC government institutions. Such replacement is inconsistent with the provisions in the Current Regulation. Thus, the CFDA has drafted the Draft for Review with an aim towards establishing a scientific and highly effective regulatory system for cosmetics. The highlights in the Draft for Review include the following.

Elaborating on the Regulatory Framework for Cosmetics

The Draft for Review adopts a raw material management mechanism which combines category management and a system of government approvals and record filing. The CFDA is the authority that formulates the respective categories for prohibited materials, restricted materials, and allowed materials for cosmetics. New raw materials, depending on the degree of risk, will be required for either review and approval or record filing. For example, raw materials with high risks such as antiseptic, sun screener, colorant, hair colorant, and skin whitener are subject to review and approval whereas others are subject to record filing with the CFDA. Enterprises shall periodically report the use of new raw materials and shall also periodically provide a safety status report.

The Draft for Review revises the classification of "cosmetics for special purpose" and "cosmetics for non-special purpose" in the Current Regulation to "special cosmetics" and "common cosmetics" and continues to require registration for special cosmetics and record filing for common cosmetics. The categories of special cosmetics have been reduced from nine to five. Such special cosmetics include hair colorant, perm products, skin whitening products, sunscreen products, and other types of cosmetics which the CFDA deems as cosmetics that require special administration. The CFDA may adjust the scope of what it considers special cosmetics according to the CFDA's risk evaluation of the product's status.

It is worth noting that the Draft for Review includes oral care products such as toothpaste as a cosmetic product subject to regulation. The Draft for Review may significantly affect the supervision of such products.

Stricter Regulation of Function and Effect-Related Claims, Labels, and Advertisements of Cosmetics

The Draft for Review states that function and effect-related claims of cosmetics must have sufficient scientific evidence. Cosmetics manufacturers are responsible for such claims and shall publish relevant reference literature, research data, or other evidentiary materials for function and effect-related claims on designated websites and are subject to public supervision.

In addition, the Draft for Review prohibits cosmetics labels which imply or express medical effects, exaggerate functions, falsely claim functions or otherwise cause consumers' misunderstandings, or violate good social morals or relevant laws and regulations. Cosmetics advertisements must be true and legitimate, and may not falsely claim product functions and effects via trademark, image, or other means. Cosmetics advertisements shall not explicitly or implicitly claim that the products have medical effects. Moreover, they cannot use the names of others to give guarantees or hints about product functions and effects to mislead consumers.

Determining the Scope of Subjects of Responsibilities

The Draft for Review specifies what constitutes a manufacturer or a distributor of cosmetics and their responsibilities. Cosmetics manufacturers shall release their products into the market under their own names and take the primary responsibility for the quality and safety of such products.

Cosmetics distributors shall examine purchase records, keep relevant receipts, and comply with the requirements for storage and transportation. Meanwhile, the Draft for Review raises requirements for centralized transaction markets and third-party platforms for online transactions. For example, the Draft for Review requires that online transaction platforms for cosmetics implement a real-name registration system. The Draft for Review aims to comprehensively cover and regulate each step in the supply chain such as manufacturing and distribution.

Enhancing Safety Evaluations and Combining Licenses

The Draft for Review requires cosmetics registration applicants and record-filers to designate specialized personnel or entrust independent third-party institutions to conduct cosmetics safety evaluations pursuant to the provisions of the State Council's food and drug administration authority. Safety evaluation materials of a cosmetics product are required for its registration/record filing.

The Draft for Review proposes to combine the cosmetic manufacturing license issued by the quality supervision authorities and the cosmetic manufacturer's sanity license issued by food and drug administration into a cosmetic manufacturing license issued by the food and drug administration. It also states that manufacturers of cosmetics shall comply with good manufacturing practices.

The Draft for Review draws significant attention from stakeholders including industrial associations and enterprises. It is important to follow developments with respect to the Draft for Review. We will follow up with updates regarding any significant changes to the Draft for Review as it nears finalization.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.