HomeAre cosmetics safe?

The safety of our customers is the number one priority of the cosmetics industry, with manufacturers recognising their responsibilities and often going beyond their legal obligations. Indeed, there is a high degree of co-operation between the industry and the regulatory authorities both in the UK and at European level to ensure that you the consumer are properly protected through legislative controls.

In spite of this, there are still many false allegations levelled against cosmetics manufacturers, accusing them of selling unsafe products and using harmful ingredients. These allegations are just that, false. They can be a way to persuade you to buy another range of products, rather than necessarily acting in the interests of your health.

You can find out the facts about these alarmist reports in these pages. Unlike rumours or scare stories, the information here can be verified by scientific proof or with independent authorities. Responsible manufacturers invest their reputation in their brands, building trust with loyal customers and relying on customer satisfaction for their success. Such companies are not going to jeopardise that by selling unsafe or unsatisfactory products.

Often the media pick up on press releases from new scientific studies. It is important that the whole paper is analysed to ensure the reporting is accurate. The cosmetics industry takes its responsibility to consumers very seriously and is keen to investigate any new scientific study or report to see what implications, if any, there are for cosmetic products. Whilst new science is of interest and academic importance, it is very important to put the science into the context of the wealth of research already available.

In this section you will find references to many of the questions regarding product and ingredient safety that you may have. The answers will include links to other sources where you may find additional information.

Want to know more?

Try our deep dive detail on Safety of cosmetics - your safety matters to us

How do I know my cosmetics are safe?

Cosmetics are applied directly to skin, hair and nails so it is crucial that they are safe to use. Years of scientific research and testing goes into making each and every item in our bathroom cabinets and make-up bags. It takes whole teams of scientists to develop just one new product.


Are there any toxic ingredients in cosmetics? No!

All ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products undergo many studies, run by both industry expert scientists and independent scientists reporting to authorities across the world, before being introduced to the market.


Will I get cancer from using cosmetics? No!

There are still many false allegations levelled against cosmetics manufacturers, accusing them of selling unsafe products and using harmful ingredients. These allegations are just that, false. You will not get cancer from using cosmetic products.


Will I get an allergy from cosmetics?

'Allergy' is a term that is often misused to describe all kinds of adverse reactions. There are two main types of adverse reactions that may be experienced: irritant reactions and allergic reactions. In fact there's a big difference between being irritated by a substance and being allergic to it.


What's wrong with black henna?

There is no such thing as 'black henna' and so-called 'black henna' temporary tattoos can cause painful short and long-term damage to skin and may cause you to develop an allergy which means you can never colour your hair again.



Can I use cosmetics while pregnant? Yes!

Sometimes people ask whether exposure to cosmetics during pregnancy may cause abnormalities in the development of babies. Such claims cause unnecessary alarm and distress to consumers because there is no basis for concern.



Should I care about counterfeiting? Yes!

Counterfeiters have little regard for cosmetic safety laws. Analysis of past seizures of fake cosmetics and perfumes have found that these products can contain illegal substances which would not pass the stringent safety clearance required for all legitimate cosmetic products. Counterfeits can pose a health threat to the consumer.

Was this page helpful


Thank you for your feedback!