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Buying cosmetics, beauty and personal care products from suppliers in China can be extremely lucrative – and we’ve seen a surge in interest from Startups all over the world in recent months.
However, venturing into the cosmetics and personal care space can be complicated. Many of these products are strictly regulated in practically all developed markets, such as the US, Europe, and Australia.
In this article, we explain what e-commerce sellers must know, before importing beauty and care products from China, including the following:
a. How to find the right manufacturer
b. Mandatory safety standards and labeling requirements
c. How to sell cosmetics and beauty products on Amazon
d. Trade Shows in Mainland China and Hong Kong
e. Questions & Answers
f. List of cosmetic and care products manufacturers in China
How do I find the right manufacturer?
There are only two supplier directories that really matter; Alibaba.com and Globalsources.com. There you’ll find thousands of manufacturers and trading companies for all sorts of beauty products.
When you source suppliers in this space, you must look for the following:
Product focus: Are they specialized in your product category?
Product compliance: Can they comply with EU and US safety standards?
Registered capital: Is it more than 1,000,000 RMB?
Cosmetics Product Regulations
Cosmetics are strictly regulated in all developed markets, including the European Union, the United States, and Australia.
To import cosmetic or personal care products, such as makeup or hair care products, you need to verify that the products don’t contain excessive amounts of restricted substances.
In addition, the product must be correctly labeled and even registered with the authorities.
All of this must be in place before you import the products, or the customs authorities may seize and destroy the entire shipment upon arrival.
Below follows an overview of relevant regulations in several markets, where we compare them on the following factors:
Lab testing requirements
a. European Union / United Kingdom
In the EU, the importer is responsible to ensure compliance with the following regulations:
As an Importer, you are required to verify that the product doesn’t contain restricted substances and chemicals. In addition, the production methods must also comply with the standards laid out in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
GMP sets requirements for both quality assurance, to prevent contamination, and the environmental impact. In short, anything that can cause harm to the consumer renders the product as non-compliant.
For you, as an importer, this means that you must submit the product both for lab testing, and verify that the supplier is GMP compliant. Hence, you cannot buy from any supplier you find out there, as not all are GMP compliant.
But the regulations don’t stop here.
All imported cosmetics and personal care products must also come with a technical file, and carry all the mandatory labels. In addition, the products must also be listed on the EU Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP), before you can start selling them.
In the United States, cosmetics and personal care importers must comply with Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). Both acts are administered by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
The FD&C Act regulates chemicals and other substances, while the FPLA covers packaging labeling requirements.
However, the FDA doesn’t require cosmetics importers to obtain approval, before placing a product on that market.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes only. You should consult a professional for legal advice before attempting to import any product. These regulations may have been misinterpreted by the writer, or changed, since the date of publication.
Makeup and Beauty Accessories & Equipment Regulations
Many accessories, such as makeup brushes and scissors, are not defined as cosmetic products. As such, equipment and accessories may not fall under the same regulations as makeup and hair care products.
That does, however, not mean that these products aren’t regulated. Depending on the product and market, the following may be required:
Country of Origin Label
CA Prop 65
Notice that additional regulations, such as CPSIA and EN 71, may apply to children’s products..
Selling Beauty and Personal Care Products on Amazon
Amazon restricts two related categories; Beauty and Health & Personal Care. In order to start selling products that fall within these two categories, you need to obtain an approval.
To obtain approval, you must submit documents proving that the products are compliant with all applicable regulations in the target market.
Hence, you must prove that the products comply with US regulations if you sell on Amazon.com, or EU regulations if you sell on Amazon.de or Amazon.co.uk.
Such documents may include test reports, that are valid for your specific batch of products. Amazon may reject any test report that is issued for a previous test report (i.e., before your products were manufactured) – even if the same manufacturer is listed.
And, of course, you cannot use a test report from a different product, to prove that your products are compliant.
There is no way around this.
In addition, Amazon may also require that you provide a brand license document (or trademark registration, if you own the brand) and supplier invoice.
Some products are also prohibited on Amazon, such as the following:
Corrective and cosmetic contact lenses
Tanning pills containing canthaxanthin
Henna products designed or marketed for body-decorating or any other variation of direct skin application
The Canton Fair is held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou. Cosmetics and beauty equipment buyers should consider visiting the 2nd phase of this massive trade show. These are some of the products you will find:
Lipsticks, Makeup Bags, Make-Up Brushes, Make-Up Mirrors, Skin-Care Creams, Hand Creams, Sun Creams, Hair-care Products and Accessories: Shampoo and Conditioners, Nail Beauty Supplies
The HKTDC Beauty & Wellness Expo is held yearly in August. As all other HKTDC trade shows, you can expect a large number of high-quality suppliers from Mainland China, but also other countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
This fair is held in Hong Kong S.A.R, so you don’t need an invitation letter or visa to attend this one. Visit this page to get an overview of the products and suppliers.
c. China International Beauty Expo
The China International Beauty Expo is held yearly in May, in Shanghai. This trade show is both for foreign buyers looking for local cosmetics and beauty equipment manufacturers – and brands looking to find local buyers.
As this expo is held in Shanghai, you must apply for a visa before you can attend.
Questions & Answers
What do I need to think about before importing cosmetics and personal care products?
The main challenge when importing cosmetics is compliance with all applicable product regulations. As mentioned, far from all suppliers can manufacture products that comply with the strict regulations in the United States, the European Union, and other developed markets.
In addition, lab testing can cost thousands of dollars per product. At least when it comes to makeup, face masks, skincare, and other chemical products.
This is perhaps why there are very few private label makeup and skincare brands, as the barriers of entry are high.
How can I get into the beauty product space if I am just starting my business?
First of all, avoid ‘chemical products’ with high lab testing and certification fees. Instead, you should source lower-risk products, such as hair salon equipment and makeup accessories – that are less strictly regulated.
This may, for example, include makeup brushes, scissors, mirrors, bags, and hair clips.
That said, these products are often covered by substance regulations and labeling requirements. Yet, the cost of ensuring compliance is not nearly as high as skincare and makeup testing.:
Why can’t I rely on the supplier to manage the compliance process for me?
Because it’s not their job. At best, they can provide test reports from previous orders, but it’s always the importer that is responsible for ensuring that all imported products comply with all applicable standards and regulations – in the home market.
The factories that do manage compliance on their own, or hire a consultant to do it for them, will of course not be satisfied with selling their products at a factory price.
Instead, they will launch the product overseas on their own, or with local partners, rather than selling to importers, who take home most of the profits.
Can I private label cosmetics and care products?
Yes, most suppliers allow their customers to brand their products with a private label. However, keep in mind that private labeling is not changing the fact that you are responsible for ensuring that the cosmetics or care product is compliant.
Can I buy cosmetics and beauty products from wholesalers?
Because cosmetics and beauty products made for the domestic market in China, is simply not made to comply with overseas markets. Pretty obvious when you think about it.
Hence, you should never import cosmetics, or even non-chemical accessories and equipment, from online wholesalers or drop shippers.
Which regulations apply to hair extensions?
What is the MOQ?
That depends on the type of product, but normally around 500 to 1000 pcs, per product. While wholesalers may offer MOQs as low as 5 to 10 pcs per product, such products are non-compliant and may even be dangerous.
What is the production time?
The production time is normally around 30 to 45 days. However, keep in mind that lab testing can take an additional 1 to 2 weeks.
List of Cosmetic and Care Products Manufacturers in China
The beauty and care industry is very diverse and includes everything from chemical processing plants and R&D facilities, to smaller workshops and manufacturers producing makeup accessories and other related products.
In China, you can find manufacturers within the following categories:
Manufacturers in the beauty and care space are primarily located in China’s most developed provinces, including Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu.
Some factories have sales offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, but most companies located in the two cities are traders – without their own production facilities.
Guangzhou Ausmetics Daily Chemicals
Guangzhou Choice Cosmetics Factory
Shenzhen Mola Cosmetics
Ningbo Eyecos Cosmetics
Cosme Creative Cosmetics
Yiwu Kasey Cosmetics
Shenzhen Fashion Beauty Technology
Suzhou DreamsTrip Science & Technology
We are not affiliated with any of the companies listed in this guide. We have selected these companies based on their claimed product scope, history, certification, and capabilities.
Guangzhou Ausmetics Daily Chemicals
Guangzhou Ausmetics Daily Chemicals was founded in 1998 as a manufacturing enterprise that engages in the development, design, and manufacture of a broad range of cosmetics for the face, lips, eyes, body, and hair.
The company offers OEM and ODM cosmetic and personal care products services to the customers.
These products can be customized according to the functions, which include the series of anti-aging, face lifting, whitening, skin-lightening, and more.
Other than customized skincare products, the company also provides after sun and tanning products, deodorants, hair waxes, and shaving care products for men.
According to the information displayed on its website, the production capacity of the company reaches 6 million pieces a month and round to 80 million pieces a year. These products are exported to more than 40 countries and regions.
Guangzhou Choice Cosmetics Factory is a cosmetics product manufacturer founded in 2007 in Guangzhou. The company offers OEM services for makeup products such as foundation, concealer, lip balm, mascara, and eyeliner. Choice Cosmetics is able to provide full customization services including formula design, packaging, and logo design.
For eye makeup, the ODM and customizable products include eyebrow powder palettes, eyebrow pencils, and eyelash conditioners. The company also provides vegan and gluten-free mascara, especially for sensitive eyes.
For face makeup, the ODM and customizable products include BB cream, CC cream, and concealers.
For lip makeup, the ODM and customizable products include lip gloss sets, moisturizing lip creams, lipsticks, and lip primers. Also, the company has developed non-toxic lip gloss for kids and pregnant women.
Shenzhen Mola Cosmetics is a professional OEM make-up product producer with a factory based in Shenzhen. Mola engages in the technical development, customized formula research, production, and delivery of more than a hundred models of cosmetic products covering eye makeup, face makeup, and lip makeup.
Mola is especially focused on the development of various types of eye shadow, such as eye shadows with shimmers, eye shadows with glitters, and matte eye shadows. Clients can choose to customize the eye shadow palettes in more than 40 colors, which are able to create various make-up styles, matching the different seasons of the year.
These eye makeup products include 4-color neon eye shadow palettes, 12-color donuts custom makeup palettes, and 35-color sparkling chameleon eyeshadow palettes. Customers can also choose to mix and match colors in different numbers.
The production capacity differs from product to product. For eye shadow palettes, the production capacity is around 5,000 pieces per month. For lip glosses, the production capacity is around 50,000 pieces per month.
Established in 2016, Ningbo Eyecos Cosmetics is a professional manufacturer in designing, developing, and manufacturing eyeliners and eyebrow pencils.
Ningbo Eyecos Cosmetics offers comprehensive OEM services for private labels, wholesalers, and retailers. Customers can choose eyebrow pencils and eyeliners in gel or liquid, with customizable colors, length, and packaging.
Currently, the manufacturing facility of the company is close to 18,000 square meters, with more than 280 staff working on the site, yielding to an annual output of 50 million pieces.
Air cushion lipsticks
2 ended eyebrow and eyeliners
Certification: ISO 22716 (GMP), ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001
Cosme Creative Cosmetics is a professional cosmetics manufacturer and cosmetics contract manufacturer that was established in 1996. The company currently has two factories, one in Xiamen and one in Tainan.
The company has developed its own formulas for a comprehensive range of beauty products and skincare products, including lipsticks, lip balms, and eye shadow pens.
According to the official website of Cosme Creative Cosmetics, the company has cooperated with CLARK Pharmaceutical Laboratories and Merck Pharmaceuticals from the United States to develop lip care and facial care products that are especially for Asian skin.
Also, the company claims that it can provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for many of its raw materials. Other add-value services include product packaging artwork design and logo design.
Yiwu Kasey Cosmetics is a professional private label cosmetics manufacturer with a factory located in Yiwu. The ODM and OEM products of Yiwu Kasey Cosmetics include lipstick, lip gloss, eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner.
All the above-mentioned products can be fully-customized in formulas, tones, and other elements.
For eye shadow products, the customization options include glitter, luminous, matte, and metallic. Other customization options for face makeup and lip makeup products include oil-based, water-based, vitamins A and E contained, and more.
According to information on the website of Yiwu Kasey Cosmetics, all the materials used to produce cosmetic products are acquired with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
Currently, the production capacity of Yiwu Kasey ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 pieces per day.
Certification: ISO 22716 (GMP)
Compliance: Not mentioned
MOQ: 12,000 pcs
Samples offered: Yes
Location: A4-41 Jinfuyuan, Chouzhou North Road, Yiwu, Zhejiang
Shenzhen Fashion Beauty Technology
Founded in 2004, Shenzhen Fashion Beauty Technology is a professional manufacturer of electric hair care products, mainly hair straighteners and curling tongs. The company accepts ODM and OEM orders from private labels, retailers, and wholesalers. These products include 1 inch and 2-inch flat iron, hair curling iron, and hair curling wands.
Clients can customize the barrel sizes from 13 mm to 32 mm, which are intended to create a variety of waves and styles, such as frizz-free style, tousled curls, or corkscrew curls.
Currently, Shenzhen Fashion Beauty Technology has a factory of more than 8,500 square meters, employing more than 150 employees.
Suzhou DreamsTrip Science & Technology is a manufacturer founded in 2006, that specializes in designing and producing steam warming pads for eyes, waist, belly, insoles. These products are intended to relieve fatigue, pain, and increase blood circulation in certain areas of the body in order to achieve therapeutic purposes.
Customers can choose formulas and different flavors for the heating pads, such as lemon, lavender, rosemary, roses, and other types of herbs for the pad fillings.
Co-founder of Asiaimportal (HK) Limited and based in Hong Kong. He has been quoted in and contributed to Bloomberg, SCMP, Alibaba Insights, Globalsources.com, China Chief Executive, Quartz Magazine and more.