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Importing Makeup and Cosmetics into the US

If you are importing makeup or cosmetics into the United States, you should be aware of the laws and regulations that apply.

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When importing makeup and cosmetics (such as beauty and skincare products) into the United States, it is important to be aware of the specific laws and regulations that apply. Flexport can help importers sort out these requirements, so that there are no impediments to bringing goods into the U.S.

How does the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) define makeup?

Makeup is officially defined as anything used to color and beautify the face or other parts of the body. Makeup and cosmetic preparations are further defined as being for the beautification of the skin or other external features.

Examples of beauty products that fall under Customs’ definition:

  • lipstick
  • eyeshadow
  • nail polish
  • non-medicinal skin care lotions
  • sunscreen and suntan lotion

Excluded items:

  • products meant to treat medical conditions, such as medicated lip balm or skin lotion
  • colored contact lenses
  • makeup application tools, such as brushes

For customs duties and classification purposes, cosmetics generally fall under the HS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) code 3304 heading. Most cosmetics are duty-free, but if a product is considered a drug or medicant, there may be a duty applicable.

Documents and Labeling

Flexport can help you acquire a customs bond, which is required when importing anything valued over $2500. In addition to requiring a bond, Customs also works with the FDA to ensure cosmetics that enter the US meet their requirements.

Products need to be identified with an FDA product code. These codes are unique to a product or group of products. If you are unsure of your product code, you can find it using this online tool.

The FDA regulates the labeling of makeup and cosmetics that are marketed and sold in the U.S. These regulations require a display label and a declaration of ingredients. The display label must be on both the inside and the outside wrapper and container. For example, for a bottle that is packaged in a box, the required information must be on both the bottle and the box. Items required on the display label are:

  • The name of the product
  • Identification of the type of product (e.g. eyeshadow must be labeled as such)
  • The name of the manufacturer and distributor of the product
  • An accurate statement of the amount of product contained. The amount should be in pounds, gallons, pints, ounces, etc. It can also be labeled in metric units.

The declaration of ingredients must:

  • Be easy to find on the container.
  • Be in lettering not less than 1/16 of an inch high. If the total space available for the label is less than 12 inches, the lettering must not be less than 1/32 of an inch high.
  • List ingredients in descending order of predominance. Ingredients that are added for color or that make up less than one percent of the product can be listed in any order.

For more information about labeling requirements for cosmetics, you may want to check out the FDA's Cosmetic Labeling Guide.

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