The New Chinese Cosmetics Regulations – the CSAR

After years of anticipations, the new Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulation (often referred to as the CSAR) is finally announced and will come into effect on 1. January 2021. The new law does not provide many surprises; bringing good news for brands wishing to register new raw materials, while still keeping “on hold” those of us, who are working on removing mandatory animal test for imported cosmetics. Removal of animal test for imported cosmetics is pending further guidelines from NMPA. That said; the new regulations is a huge step towards a system where product safety – and thereby consumer safety – is paramount, and where the products responsibilities rest with the responsible agent, manufacturer, and brand owner. Finally, the new law encourages innovation and new technologies in the cosmetics industry – including innovation in plant based extracts.


1. New Cosmetic Raw Materials Application
New cosmetic raw materials with the functions of anti-corrosion (preservative), sunscreen, coloring, hair dyeing, freckle removing, and whitening shall undergo the NMPA registration process. It will take less than 115 working days for NMPA review. Other cosmetic new raw materials shall be filed with NMPA. Note that according to the current guidelines animal tests are still mandatory for registration of raw materials in China.

2. New Classification for Special Use Cosmetics
The new classification of Special Use Cosmetics includes; hair dye, perm, freckle removing/whitening, sunscreen, hair loss prevention.
A 5-year transition period shall be set up for cosmetics registered before the implementation of these Regulations with the function of hair growth, hair removal, breast beautification, bodybuilding and deodorant. During the transition period, these cosmetic products can still be produced, imported and sold. After 5 years, these products will have to comply with the new regulations.

3. Toothpaste
Toothpaste will be regulated as general cosmetics, and can have function claims such as prevent caries, inhibit dental plaque, resist dentin sensitivity, and reduce gingival problem.

4. Additional Requirements for Cosmetics Applicant/Responsible Agent
The cosmetics applicant/responsible agent shall meet additional requirements, including;

  • Having the quality&safety control and management system
  • Having the ability to monitor and evaluate adverse reactions of cosmetic
  • The applicant, responsible agent, and actual manufacturer shall build up the recording/management system regarding production, sales, and distribution
  • The applicant, responsible agent, and actual manufacturer shall have a designated person who is in charge of quality and safety control. The person shall have a professional background in the cosmetics industry and have no less than 5 years working experience in cosmetics production or safety management area.     

All in all; it is too early to conclude much in regards to the implications of the new regulations, as we are still awaiting the detailed implementation guidelines from NMPA. One take-away from reading the new CSAR is that the punishment for non-compliance is expected to be much more severe in the future while NMPA is transferring the product safety responsibility to the brands.

Knudsen&CRC will follow the development of further implementation guidelines and share the updates.

The official announcement of the new CSAR can be found here (in Chinese).

For more information on the new cosmetics regulations, please contact us on