May 2021
CosIng Database Essential Tips

The European Commission (EC) launched the CosIng database (COSmetic INGredients)  in 2008.[1] A publicly available information database, created to provide comprehensive information on cosmetic ingredients. The database replaced the old ‘pdf’ format list.[2] EU CosIng is designed to help cosmetic professionals find up-to-date information on ingredients and substances required to make new cosmetic formulations or to improve existing ones.[3] The database also helps to make it is easy for companies to ensure that any changes are compliant with the Cosmetic Regulations of the European Union (EU) EC No. 1223/2009

The cosmetics industry is a fast-paced, innovation-led sector characterized by high competitiveness because of the relatively short life cycle of products. CosIng can help cosmetic companies save time with valuable information required on any restrictions associated with a particular ingredient in a more consolidated way.[4]

Cosmetics companies can check whether the EU regulates particular substances or ingredients.[5] This includes publication of the opinions of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) when considering the cosmetic ingredients such as colorants, preservatives, and UV-filters.

Due to this accessibility and transparency in EU Cosmetic Regulations, authorities are now able to better supervise the market and in return, this promotes consumer safety. The CosIng database contains a comprehensive list of cosmetics ingredients used in finished cosmetic and personal care products.[6] It also provides information for labeling purposes such as the chemical name of the ingredients and their internationally recognized INCI name.[7]

The data available in CosIng on cosmetic substances and ingredients are as follows: 

  1. Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

Under the EU Commission, Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 is the key European legislation governing finished cosmetics products in the EU. Upon its adoption, the 2009 Regulation maintained the main principles from the 1976 Directive for the protection of consumers’ health and wellbeing, as well as introducing complementary strengthening of certain key requirements related to product safety.[8] The substances and ingredients referred to are used to formulate cosmetic products that have been prepared for cosmetic and personal care products, such as skin care creams, emulsions, sunscreens, perfume, shampoo, teeth whitening products, and odor-reducing deodorants.

EU Cosmetic Regulations related to specified ingredients are also contained within the EU CosIng database. This includes information on whether a substance is listed under the Annexes to the Cosmetic Regulations 1223/2009.[9] The EU Cosmetics Regulations are a necessary set of regulations companies must comply with in order to sell their cosmetic products within the EU market. CosIng lists all the cosmetic ingredients and substances that may or may not be used in a cosmetic product, stating whether it they are prohibited, restricted, or otherwise permitted for use. In the CosIng advanced search, cosmetic companies can extend their criteria for the basic search by including Ph. Eur. Name, restriction, and function for ingredients, reference number, regulation reference, and/or publication date.

  1. Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC (Cosmetics Directive), as amended

The EU database contains all of the historical data available since the beginning of the Cosmetics Directive. CosIng not only presents the current regulations in place but also how a particular substance has been regulated since 1976, giving a complete historical picture of the regulation of various cosmetic products. The current data is listed as “active”, while historical data is listed as “not active”.[10] 

  1. Inventory of Cosmetic Ingredients as amended by Decision 2006/257/EC

The CosIng database includes chemical and internationally recognized names (INCIs) of the cosmetic ingredients as per Article 33 of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009, to enable the correct labeling of products.[11] While the safety of cosmetic products is the principal objective of EU Cosmetic Regulations, one of the other main attributes for the safe use of cosmetic products by consumers is the compulsory requirement for cosmetic companies to provide a visible and legible list of the ingredients that are present in a finished product in the ‘Ingredients list’ on the label.

The EU CosIng database facilitates the process of ensuring that reformulations are compliant with Cosmetic Regulations and in doing so will be less costly and less time-intensive for cosmetic companies.[12] Companies can search the database for cosmetic ingredients based on substance names, such as by International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names, International Non-proprietary Name (INN) name, Pharmacopoeia Europaea (Ph. Eur.) name, chemical name, or the status and scope of their Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) or EINECS numbers, with useful regulatory information displayed.[13] By default, all ingredients are listed by substance identification (INCI names, INN names, chemical/IUPAC names, CAS, or EC numbers).[14] To reduce the number of returned query results for a narrow match, the full name or CAS number of a substance or ingredient can be entered into the database. For example, instead of entering “Cyclohexanediol” try “1,4 Cyclohexanediol Bis-Ethylhexanoate” to get an exact match. If an ingredient exists in the CosIng database, it does not mean that it is approved for use in cosmetic products.[15] 

When preparing the Product Information File (PIF), it is essential for cosmetic companies to search the CosIng database carefully and double check all Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and Product Data Sheet (PDS) information against the formulation and ingredient list to ensure that all CAS numbers and INCI names on all of the documents match exactly.[16]

  1. Opinions on cosmetic ingredients of the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) 

The scientific opinions are the basis for many of the authorized ingredients and any the restrictions as listed in the Annexes. Each substance is provided with the chemical name, INN name or IUPAC-name, CAS- and EC number, Annex and entry number, and the conditions and warnings for its use. CosIng includes links to the opinions on the cosmetic ingredients of the SCCS. An independent body that provides the European Commission with the scientific advice it needs when preparing relevant cosmetic policies and proposals relating to consumer safety, public health, and the environment.[17] The EU CosIng database contains relevant information on the different aspects of testing and safety evaluation of cosmetic substances in the EU.[18] The emphasis of this guidance is on cosmetic ingredients, although some guidance is also indirectly given for the safety assessment of finished products.

In order to improve harmonized compliance with the current cosmetic EU legislation, this includes complying with animal testing and marketing bans. Ingredients, such as colorants, preservatives, and UV filters, are included in the CosIng database only if they are approved under Annexes IV, V, respectively VI of the Cosmetic Regulation No 1223/2009.[19] 

[1] EU Inventory of Cosmetic Ingredients - CosIng

[2] Guide to Using CosIng

[3] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[4] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[5] Cosmetic ingredient database (Cosing) - List of substances prohibited in cosmetic products - European Union Open Data Portal

[6] EU Inventory of Cosmetic Ingredients - CosIng

[7] Cosmetic ingredient database (Cosing) - List of substances prohibited in cosmetic products - European Union Open Data Portal

[8] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[9] Cosmetic ingredient database (Cosing) - List of substances prohibited in cosmetic products - European Union Open Data Portal

[10] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[11] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[12] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[13] Guide to Using CosIng

[14] CosIng – Glossary of ingredients | Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

[15] Cosmetic ingredient database (Cosing) - List of colorants allowed in cosmetic products

[16] International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook

[17] Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety on o-aminophenol (A14)

[18] International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook

[19] Cosmetic ingredient database (Cosing) - List of colorants allowed in cosmetic products

 

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