The legislation includes restrictions on the substances that may, or may not, be included in cosmetic products. 

List of prohibited substances

There is a list of banned substances  which must not form part of any cosmetic.  These substances are not allowed to be used in cosmetic products. 

This list can be found in Annex II to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.

List of substances restricted in use

There is a list of restricted substances that you can use but only in accordance with the conditions laid down.

This list can be found in Annex III to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.

Positive lists

If a substance does not appear in the banned or restricted list then it is permissable in cosmetic products provided the manufacturer has the appropriate safety data to ensure the ingredient and the final product is safe.  However, there are certain other exceptions, since some ingredients are listed on 'positive lists' . This means that if you want an ingredient to perform a certain funtion (colour, preservative or UV filter), you may only use the substances listed and no other. Therefore:

Only those colours listed on the approved colours list.

Only those preservatives on the approved list.

Only those UV filters on the approved list.

These lists can be found in Annexes IV, V and VI to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.