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This article applies to selling in: Canada

Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care

Important: If you supply products for sale on Amazon, you must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and Amazon policies applicable to those products and product listings.

This page covers products intended for human use and are regulated as cosmetics.

In general, cosmetics are a substance or mixture of substances, manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes. This includes cosmetics used by professional esthetic services, bulk institutional products (such as hand soap in school rest rooms), as well as "handmade" cosmetics sold at craft sales or home-based businesses.

Cosmetics can be considered a drug or natural health product if they are manufactured, sold or represented for use in:
  • the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state, or its symptoms, in human beings or animals;
  • restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in human beings or animals; or
  • disinfection in premises in which food is manufactured, prepared or kept.

If a cosmetic is considered a drug or natural health product, it will need to comply with our Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia & Dietary Supplements policy.

Compliance Checklist for Cosmetics

Licensing

All cosmetics sold in Canada must be safe to use and must not pose any health risk. They must meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations.

For more information, see guidance from Health Canada.

Labelling

With limited exceptions, cosmetic products must be labelled in French and English with all the information required by applicable Canadian law, including but not limited to:

  • Brand name
  • Intended use
  • Ingredients
  • Warnings (if applicable)

For more information, see Health Canada's Labelling Regulations.

Packaging

  • Cosmetics must be sealed in the original manufacturer’s packaging.
  • Cosmetics must be new and unused.
  • Cosmetics must clearly display identifying codes placed on the packaging by the manufacturer or distributor, such as matrix codes, lot numbers, or serial numbers.

Examples of prohibited listings

  • Products that require a prescription or a medical professional's supervision or direction for their use, such as:
    • Latisse
    • Topical use minoxidil products that contain minoxidil in excess of 2%
    • Trichloroacetic acid
  • Products that Health Canada has determined present an unreasonable risk of injury or illness, or are otherwise unsafe, such as
    • “Black henna” temporary tattoos
    • Kohl, Kajal, Al-Kahal, or Surma that contain lead
    • Mouthwashes that are not packaged in security packaging
  • Controlled substances, including products containing:
    • Anything listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  • Products that have passed their expiration or “use by” dates
  • Products that contain a prohibited ingredient or a restricted ingredient in a concentration greater than permitted in accordance with the Health Canada Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, such as products containing:
    • Chloroform
    • Chlorofluorocarbon propellants in aerosol products
    • Skin creams containing mercury
    • Methylene chloride in aerosol products
    • Vinyl chloride in aerosol products
    • Zirconium-containing complexes in aerosol products
    • Formaldehyde in aerosol products
    • Formaldehyde in concentrations greater than 0.2% in non-oral products (nail hardeners may contain up to 5% concentration, provided the product label contains required cautionary statements)
  • Opened or used cosmetics, skin products, or hair care products
  • Products that are not sealed in original manufacturer's packaging
  • Products that have been the subject of a prior regulatory action, such as:
    • Health Canada advisories, warnings or recalls
  • Products that are not labelled or packaged as required by Health Canada regulations
  • Products that do not meet bilingual labelling requirements and are not otherwise excepted from these requirements
  • Hair dyes that contain para-phenylenediamine or other coal tar dye bases or coal tar dye intermediates that are not labelled with the required caution statements in French and English
  • Products in pressurized metal containers that are not labelled with the required caution symbols and statements in French and English
  • Products that have had their packaging altered in such a way that removes or obscures any required label information (e.g. product identity, net quantity, dealer information) or identifying codes placed on the packaging by the manufacturer or distributor, such as:
    • Matrix codes
    • Lot numbers
    • Serial numbers
  • Products labelled as “tester,” including perfume testers, or “not intended for resale”
  • Products for which the manufacturer or importer has not provided a notification to the Cosmetics Program of Health Canada of sale in Canada

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Page last updated 02/17/2021

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