What is a cosmetic?
Under Section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act, a cosmetic is defined as “any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleaning, improving or altering the complexion, of skin, hair or teeth, and includes deodorants or perfumes.”
This is different than drug and natural health products even though they are all regulated under the Food and Drug Act. The classification of the product depends on its function, purpose, and representation for use (such as claims or recommended purposes).
Ingredients in the formula may also help determine the classification. For example, in Canada, ingredients like corticosteroids can only be licensed as drugs whereas green tea leaf extract may be licensed as a cosmetic product.
Cosmetic Notification Form
In Canada, it is the Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetics Regulations that require a Cosmetic Notification Form to be submitted by the manufacturer or importer for all cosmetic products. This cosmetic notification form must be completed and submitted at the latest 10 days after the cosmetic notification is first sold. This cosmetic notification form is also used for amendment and discontinuation of sale. This cosmetic notification form must include the following information:
- name and address of the manufacturer of the cosmetic product
- name of the cosmetic product
- function of the cosmetic product (e.g. moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner)
- ingredient list that includes each ingredient’s name and its concentration percentage or concentration range
- form of the cosmetic product (i.e. foam, liquid oil, semi-solid lotion)
- name and address Canadian manufacturer, importer or distributor
- name and address of individual who manufactures or formulates the cosmetic product
- name and title of individual who signs the notification form
Improvements of Cosmetic Notifications Processing
On January 28, 2022, Health Canada notified all cosmetic stakeholders that they are improving the processing of the cosmetic notifications to make it more efficient. Effective February 5, 2022, Health Canada will use their automated system and process new cosmetic notifications that do not contain restricted or prohibited ingredients.
Once submitted, you will receive a Cosmetic Notification Number issued by Health Canada. Currently, Health Canada has some unprocessed cosmetic notifications, and these applicable cosmetic notifications will go through the automated system once it is activated on February 5, 2022.
All other cosmetic notifications that contain restricted or prohibited ingredients will remain be reviewed by Health Canada officers and will not be processed using the automated system. Keep in mind, this form is used for new products, amendments, and discontinuation of sale.