Health Canada regulates all cosmetics in Canada, as well as drugs, pesticides, natural health products, etc.) and each classification has their own list of requirements. First, let’s start by looking at how Health Canada defines a cosmetic:
"Any 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." Cosmetics
Side note: A sunscreen is considered a natural health product and requires a product license. In order to obtain a product license, you must have a site license. In order to obtain a site license, you need to follow all the Good Manufacturing Practices. And sure, those practices sound like a good idea but it’s overkill for a small business like mine. However, I do follow as many as I can and keep working towards more! (This is why I will no longer be making my Sunny Day Lotion.).
Back to cosmetics….
All products meeting the cosmetic definition, no matter where they are from, MUST have a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) submitted to Health Canada. This form contains:
Submitting the form ensures that the ingredients used, and their proportions, are within acceptable guidelines. Health Canada reviews the CNF and follows up with any questions, but they never approve products. This process can take six months to a year!
Is it effective enough? Let’s look at what other countries are doing:
So, we fall somewhere in the middle which isn’t too bad, but there’s always room for improvement. I’m not one for mediocrity! Industry exerts a large amount of pressure and influences some decisions, not necessarily for our health or benefit. More on that another time…!
Additionally, cosmetics also have to follow the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. I’m saving that for another day too but you can learn more here: Labelling Act.
If you’re shopping in another country, you might want to pay attention to the ingredient lists. And what about right here at home? Handmade markets are always offering cosmetics for sale, but the makers may not be aware of the requirements. If you’re concerned, ask the vendor if they’ve filed anything with Health Canada.
For more information see International Cosmetic Lists.
Loves living a healthy lifestyle and sharing what she learns along the way.