Notification of Cosmetics

As per section 30 of the Cosmetic Regulations, manufacturers and importers must notify Health Canada within 10 days after they first sell a cosmetic in Canada. Failure to notify may result in a product being denied entry into Canada or removed from sale.

Also, as per section 31 of the Cosmetic Regulations, whenever a change affecting the information on a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) is made, manufacturers or importers must amend the CNF and resubmit to Health Canada. Some examples of changes include:

  • modification of the cosmetic formulation
  • change of product name
  • discontinuation of sale
  • new company name, address or contact information

If you experience any issues with submitting your form, please contact us at for assistance.

Notify Health Canada about a cosmetic by filling out the Cosmetic Notification Form.
Notify a cosmetic

Submit additional documents related to your cosmetic product after a notification has been sent
Submit Additional Documents

Review the Guidance document: How to complete a Cosmetic Notification Form to ensure the cosmetic notification forms are completed correctly.

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More Information

Please note that test-marketed cosmetics must meet all requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations. There are no exemptions for test-marketing.

The completed Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) provides specific product information to Health Canada, including:

  • address and contact information of the manufacturer(s), importer(s), distributor(s), and formulator(s)
  • function of the cosmetic
  • form of the cosmetic (for example, cream and gel)
  • ingredients of the cosmetic
  • concentration of each ingredient

There is no fee associated with the cosmetic notification process.

The personal information provided to Health Canada is protected under the provisions of the Privacy Act.

Submission of the CNF does not constitute approval for sale by Health Canada, agreement that the product is classified as a cosmetic nor that the product complies with all legislative requirements. Manufacturers and importers are responsible for making sure their cosmetics meet the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and its Cosmetic Regulations.

If there are concerns with a submitted notification or product (for example: unknown ingredients, missing information, safety issues, improper classification, etc.) Health Canada will inform the responsible company of those concerns. Failure to respond may result in compliance action.

What Products are Subject to Cosmetic Notification?

All cosmetics sold in Canada must be notified to Health Canada. Section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act defines a "cosmetic" as:

"Any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth, and includes deodorants and perfumes."

In instances where the classification of a product is not clear, Health Canada will classify the product on a case by case basis, taking into account factors such as:

  1. Representation: The product is represented for sale to serve a cosmetic function such as cleansing, moisturizing, lubricating, perfuming or altering the hair, skin or teeth of humans.
  2. Composition of the product: Although the composition of a product alone does not necessarily determine its classification, the presence of an ingredient, or its concentration, may make the product unsuitable for classification as a cosmetic.
  3. Level of action: Cosmetics are normally applied to an external part of the body and not absorbed below the skin to achieve their cosmetic effect.

In addition:

  • Cosmetics can be applied to the skin around the eyes but products applied directly into the eyes are not cosmetics.
  • With the sole exception of tattoo ink, products that are administered through ingestion, inhalation or injection (such as, intramuscular, subcutaneous or intravenous) are not classified as cosmetics.

Examples of Cosmetics

  • soaps
  • artificial nail builders
  • adhesives such as for artificial nails, hair extensions, etc.
  • moisturizers
  • tinted moisturizers (concealer)
  • tattoo inks
  • makeup products
  • tooth whiteners
  • cleansing wipes
  • feminine douches

Examples of Products that are Not Considered Cosmetics

  • sunscreens (including makeup products with SPF)
  • acne treatment
  • skin whiteners or lighteners
  • denture cleaners
  • hand sanitizers
  • artificial nails and hair extensions
  • brushes
  • laser treatment hair removers
  • collagen or "Botox" injections
  • insect repellents
  • oral supplements
  • room or fabric sprays
  • non-prescription contact lenses

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