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Business Guidance: South Korean Solid Soap, Black Hair Powder and Hair Removal Wax Newly Transformed from Chemicals to Cosmetics

This article guides overseas enterprises to comply with the cosmetic requirements for the solid soap, black hair powder and hair removal wax. The ingredient limits, label standards, and export procedures are presented.

As the grace period ends on December 31, 2020, the solid soap, black hair powder and hair removal wax will be officially managed as cosmetics. The relevant enterprises should comply with the Cosmetics Act [1] and other related supporting rules. This article will help companies comprehensively understand the relevant requirements.

1. Background Introduction

The solid soap, black hair powder and hair removal wax had been managed as chemical industry products. However, considering these products were exposed to human bodies, on December 31, 2018, MFDS (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety) amended theEnforcement Rule of the Cosmetics Act [2] and designated the solid soap, black hair powder and hair removal wax as cosmetics. A grace period till December 21, 2020 was given to enterprises for preparations.

In addition, some follow-up provisions were changed to align with the category transformation. On July 30, 2019, South Korea revised the Cosmetics Act to exempt the business of repackaging solid soaps in small quantities from customized cosmetics sales registration [3].

Explanation:

Cosmetics repackaged by dividing the contents of a manufactured or imported cosmetic into smaller amounts are subject to "custom cosmetics" in South Korea. Relevant enterprises need to finish the "customized cosmetic sales registration" before conducting the relevant businesses.

However, it was regarded as inappropriate to consider “simply cutting and repacking a soap into smaller amounts” as a custom cosmetic business, though solid soap is cosmetic. Therefore MFDS excluded the business of repackaging solid soaps in small quantities from customized cosmetics sales registration.

On March 1, and July 20, 2020, South Korea respectively permitted "Pigment Red 5" and "Pigment Violet 23 and Pigment Green 7" as colorants for solid soaps by amending the Types, Standards and Test Methods of Cosmetic Color Additives [4]. (Find all permitted colorants for cosmetics at ChemLinked Cosme-list: Permitted Colorants Used in Cosmetics [5])

2. Cosmetic Standards

The solid soap, black hair powder and hair removal wax shall follow the cosmetic ingredient and label standards after 2021.

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