Cosmetics Directive

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Directive 76/768/EEC
European Union directive
Title Directive on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products
Made by Council
Made under Art. 100 (EEC)[1]
Journal reference L262, 1976-09-27, pp. 169–200
Date made 1976-07-27
Came into force 1976-07-30
Implementation date 1978-01-30
Preparative texts
Commission proposal Com 72/0851 Final
EESC opinion C60, 1973-07-26, p. 16
EP opinion OJ C40, 1974-04-08, p. 71
Other legislation
Amended by External list
Current legislation

Council Directive 76/768/EEC of 1976-07-27 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products[2] (as amended) is the main European Union law on the safety of cosmetics. It was made under Art. 100 (ex Art. 94) of the Treaty of Rome. By agreement, it is also applicable in the EEA.[3]

The directive defines a "cosmetic product" as "any substance or preparation intended for placing in contact with the various external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or principally to cleaning them, perfuming them or protecting them in order to keep them in good condition, change their appearance or correct body odours." (Art. 1.1)

The main part of the directive is the different lists of substances in the annexes:

  • substances that are banned from use in cosmetics (Annex II)
  • substances that are subject to restrictions on their use (Annex III): such substances might only be permitted for certain types of cosmetics, or in certain concentrations, or subject to warning labels, etc.
  • permitted colourings (Annex IV)
  • permitted preservatives (Annex VI)
  • permitted UV filters (Annex VII)

The annexes are regularly amended (57 times up until April 2008) to take account of new data on the safety of particular substances.[4]


  1. ^ The old Art. 100 of the EEC treaty has since been renumbered to Art. 94.
  2. ^ Council Directive 76/768/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products. OJEC L262 of 1976-09-27, pp. 169–200.
  3. ^ Art. 23 and Chapter XVI of Annex II, Agreement on the European Economic Area PDF signed in Oporto, 1992-05-02; came into force 1994-01-01.
  4. ^ See, for example, Commission Directive 2008/42/EC of 3 April 2008 amending Council Directive 76/768/EEC, concerning cosmetic products, for the purpose of adapting Annexes II and III thereto to technical progress. OJEC L93 of 2008-04-04, pp. 13–23. Corrigendum. OJEC L136 of 2008-05-24, p. 52.

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