The FD&C Act says cosmetics are “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance,” according to the FDA.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates color additives but does not otherwise require cosmetics to be approved before they go on the market.
The FDA encourages cosmetic makers to report product formulations but that reporting is strictly voluntary.
The FDA can inspect cosmetic factories but those inspections are limited because FDA resources are limited. The FDA does analyze some cosmetics, especially if they are aware of a potential problem.
The law does not require cosmetics companies to report information about their products, including reports of bad reactions to products, to the FDA. Consumers can report problems to the FDA online through their MedWatch program or by calling 1-800-332-1088.
The FDA cannot require recalls of cosmetics. If a product does not comply with the law, the FDA can take legal action and/or request a recall.
The FDA role in regulating cosmetics – click here.
The FDA can’t require but can request a cosmetics recall – click here.
How to report a problem product to the FDA – click here.