UK beauty industry facing increased costs and new legislative burdens post Brexit

UK beauty brands are grappling with new paperwork burdens and higher costs following the UK’s departure from the EU and implementation of the UK’s own Cosmetics Regulation on 1 January.

The changes require companies wishing to sell their products in both the UK and the EU to duplicate large amounts of paperwork, including establishing a legal entity or “Responsible Person” in both the UK and in one of the EU27 Member States.

Product Information Files (which contain key safety and regulatory information) now need to be in both locations, in both languages and following the launch of the government’s new Submit Cosmetic Products Notification (SCPN) portal on 1 January, cosmetic products intended for sale in the UK and EU now need to be notified on two separate notification portals; the EU Cosmetic Product Notification Portal and the UK’s new SCPN.

Existing products must be notified on the SCPN within 90 days of 1 January 2021, while all new products must now be notified on the SCPN portal before hitting the UK market. There are also further implications for labelling and origin criteria.

Commenting on the changes, British Beauty Council chief executive Millie Kendall said: “There are many challenges facing the cosmetics industry. From having two portals to register on, to labelling and customs forms.

“A lot of this is difficult for SMEs with small teams. There is also a cost implication, in some cases they will have to hire consultants to help them complete relevant paperwork and find an RP in Europe.

“The stress of the last-minute agreement made with regard to Brexit on top of Covid-19 has made this year incredibly challenging for the approximately 5,000 SMEs in the personal care sector,” she added.

Anna Brightman, co-founder of UK beauty brand Upcircle, which is also sold in Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, is one of many navigating the new post Brexit legislative waters.

“There was a brief period before Christmas when the vast majority of couriers refused all parcels going to the EU, that was a nightmare,” she said.

“Now it seems that the biggest impact will be more paperwork, and higher costs to ship to the EU.

“We are planning to open a new warehouse in a country within the EU in order to try and deal with the new complications and costs,” Brightman added.