Hair colorants are classified as cosmetic products by the European Commission (EC) and are regulated under the regulation (EC) No: 1223/2009. Hair colorants contain a mixture of substances called hair dyes that are used to change the color of hair or to restore the original hair color. They are classified into the following three (03) categories based on their color fastness:

  • Temporary hair dyes
  • Semi-permanent hair dyes
  • Permanent hair dyes

Temporary hair dyes and semi-permanent hair dyes are non-oxidative (non-permanent) in nature and are used for temporary color changes. In contrast, permanent hair dyes are oxidative and use hydrogen peroxide as an oxidizing agent to impart color to the hair for a prolonged time. Permanent hair dyes are also resistant to shampooing. They constitute 70–80% of the EU coloring products market.

Safety of Hair Colorants in the EU

A significant amount of scientific research supports the safety of hair dyes marketed and sold in the EU. The EU cosmetic regulation requires hair colorants to be safe for use, and all products need to undergo rigorous safety assessments before being placed in the market. The assessment of hair dye products is conducted by a professionally qualified safety assessor based on the following factors:

  • Finished product
  • All the ingredients used to manufacture the product (irrespective of their source)
  • Instructions on using the product
  • Frequency of use
  • Warnings and indications
  • Target consumer group

Not adhering to the safety norms laid down by the EU Commission may lead to legal consequences. To successfully sell and market hair dye products in the EU, manufacturers and brand owners need to achieve compliance with the European Regulatory requirements. Consult a Regulatory expert like Freyr to decode the cosmetic Regulatory requirements of the hair coloring products in the EU market. Stay informed. Stay compliant.


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