Carry Over Ingredients In Cosmetic Products


Ingredients for producing cosmetic products are rarely applied as pure substances but mostly purchased in the form of commercially available mixtures. These mixtures also contain substances that are not intended for the cosmetic product but detectably appear in the final product as “carry-over ingredient”, e.g. solvents, preservatives, etc.

According to Article 19 of the European Cosmetics Regulation, all ingredients of cosmetic products must be indicated within the list of ingredients on the product label if the particular substance or mixture is “intentionally used in the cosmetic product during the process of manufacturing”. It may be argued if it is indeed an intentional use when minor ingredients in a mixture simply accompany the “actual” ingredients.

There are appropriate rules in other legal sectors, for example regarding food additives: The European Regulation for food information to consumers (Regulation (EC) No. 1169/2011) clearly states in Article 20(b) that it shall not be required to include food additives in the list of ingredients whose presence is solely due to the fact that they were contained in one or more ingredients of that food.

However, since this provision has not been adopted for cosmetics, the carry-over-ingredients must be named on the product label notwithstanding whether they have a technological function or not. On the other side, the indication of such unintended used ingredients will be important for restricted substances, e.g. Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben and Propylparaben which are often applied as preservative in blends of natural derived extracts.

As another well-known example, the indication of carry-over-ingredients will be important for potential allergenic substances that are generally a very sensitive topic in Europe. In the event an end user suffers an allergic reaction and the cosmetic product is evaluated as the cause for this reaction, it will be hard to defend the product when the respective ingredient is not labelled and severe legal disputes may arise.

Even though the concentrations of the affected substances are often very low, competent authorities have the ability of instrumental analytical methods with whom it is simple to identify most substances. Due to the lack of legally binding rules for the presence of certain impurities and carry-over-ingredients in cosmetic products, authorities may decide case by case how to handle any particular substance, considering potential health risks. Nevertheless, when it comes to restricted or even prohibited substances, appropriate reactions will not take long to wait for

Overall, the aspect of carry-over-ingredients shows the importance of competent regulatory work prior to placing cosmetic products on the market.

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.