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A 'cosmetic' is a substance or preparation that is for use on any external part of the human body—or inside the mouth—to change its appearance, cleanse it, keep it in good condition, perfume it or protect it. Cosmetics include soap, shampoo, moisturiser, hair dye, perfume, lipstick, mascara, nail polish, deodorant and many other products.
Nearly all cosmetic ingredients are regulated as industrial chemicals under the industrial chemicals (notification and assessment) act 1989 (icna act). This includes ingredients described as 'natural', such as oils, extracts and essences of plants.
If you want to import and/or manufacture cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients for commercial purposes you may need to register your business with AICIS.
Before importing and/or manufacturing a cosmetic you must check the australian inventory of chemical substances (AICS) to see if all your chemical ingredients are listed and if there are conditions for using those chemicals.
If an ingredient is not listed on AICS—or has a condition of use different to your intended use—it is a new industrial chemical to Australia. unless an exemption applies, the new industrial chemical will need to be assessed by AICIS for risks to the environment and human health before it can be imported and/or manufactured. Read more about notifying a new chemical.
You must register with us if you:
- make soaps in Australia by a process involving a chemical reaction (such as saponification using lye) for commercial purposes — this includes selling the soaps in-store, online, at local markets and giving out free samples to market your product
- import soaps from overseas — including packaged soaps ready for sale and soaps that will be packaged locally
- import chemical ingredients into Australia for soap making intended for sale
You must register regardless of how much soap you sell. There is no threshold limit.
You don’t need to register with us if you:
- make or buy soaps for personal use only
- sell soaps made with pre-made melt-and-pour bases that you bought from a local Australian shop, supplier or manufacturer
- re-sell soaps (packaged and unpackaged) that you bought from a local Australian shop, supplier or manufacturer
- make soaps and gift to family and friends or sell them for the cost of the materials only (no profit)