We frequently receive the question “do you need a licence to sell skincare?” from prospective students, as they rightly want to know if they can start a beauty business at home.
Most of Formula Botanica’s students and graduates are artisan cosmetic formulators, who manufacture in small batch sizes and sell to local customers. Artisan cosmetic formulators generally work from home and want to formulate and manufacture cosmetics from their kitchen or another room in their home.
Is this allowed? Is it even legal? Do you need a licence to sell skincare?
The short answer: you generally don’t need a licence, although it depends on which country you live in.
Can you formulate in your kitchen?
You can, as long as the cosmetics you make are safe. However, formulating in your kitchen brings risks with it. You don’t want to mix food and cosmetic ingredients (even if many of your natural ingredients, particularly oils, butters and hydrosols, are the same as those found in your food). But you also don’t want to expose your cosmetic formulations to contamination from your family or your pets.
It’s your responsibility to manufacture products in an environment that will not cause them to become contaminated or adulterated. For that reason, we embrace cosmetic Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in our artisan labs. Most countries around the world permit artisan formulators to work and manufacture from home, as long as their manufacturing facilities meet GMP requirements.
It will generally be challenging to achieve GMP standards in a kitchen that is heavily used by a family for food preparation. You would need to completely clean down the kitchen and all of your equipment in it before and after formulating, every single time.
Luckily there are plenty of other spaces that formulators use in their homes, instead of their kitchen. You might use one room in your home (away from your kitchen) which functions solely as your cosmetics lab. You might use a bespoke shed in the garden – we’ve seen plenty of our graduates build their own lab next to their home. You might even rent a room somewhere else, just for manufacturing purposes.
Once you know what type of beauty formulations you want to create, you can also invest in separate equipment that is only used for your business.
Designing your cosmetics lab is not as difficult as it might initially sound, as long as you can adhere to GMP and as long as you have properly defined areas that you’ll use for people, products and raw materials such as ingredients or packaging.
Want to learn how to comply with GMP standards and set up a manufacturing lab? Pre-register now for our Diploma in Beauty Brand Business Management.
Which countries don’t permit homemade cosmetics?
The great news is that most countries around the world permit artisan formulators to create cosmetics at home, as long as they comply with GMP. You will however need to comply with the regulations of your country, regardless of where you live.
Listen now: How to comply with cosmetics regulations
To our knowledge, countries which apply additional conditions for artisan formulators include:
India – Manufacturing cosmetics in India requires applying for a manufacturing licence number, which needs to be listed on your labels.
Spain – the Spanish authorities require that anyone who manufactures cosmetics has to have a scientific University degree and that manufacturing has to be undertaken in an external lab.
Lithuania – the Lithuanian authorities specify that you cannot manufacture cosmetics at home and that manufacturing has to be undertaken in an external lab.
Indonesia – the Indonesian authorities specify that you have to have cosmetics manufactured in an external factory.
Brazil – You will need a manufacturing license in order to manufacture cosmetics in Brazil.
Florida, USA – A permit is required for each person and establishment that intends to operate as a cosmetic manufacturer or re-packager in the State of Florida. However, if the person only labels or changes the labelling of a cosmetic but does not open the container sealed by the manufacturer of the product, a permit is not required.
Have you missed your country off the list? Leave us a comment underneath this blog post and tell us what the laws specify in your country.
IMPORTANT! – READ THIS
If you come up against regulatory issues around manufacturing cosmetics at home, then don’t despair! There is a big difference between formulating at home and manufacturing at home.
After all, you can always design your formulations at home in your workspace and then outsource their manufacture to a factory. There are hundreds of cosmetics manufacturers worldwide who can take on your project.
If you want to launch a beauty brand, you will need to do a lot more than ‘just’ formulating anyway, so we encourage you to turn this into a positive and not feel disheartened! Remember that outsourcing the manufacturing component of your beauty brand would free up your time to get your business operating smoothly.
Do you need a licence to sell skincare? Get the low-down in this @FormulaBotanica blog post and learn whether you can manufacture cosmetics in your kitchen. #homemade Click To Tweet
Do you need a licence to sell skincare products?
The good news is that it’s possible to make organic skincare in most places – you just have to make sure that your workspace is safe for you, safe for your products and that it allows you to make safe skincare. If you want to sell your formulations to the public, getting this wrong could endanger your customer and if you plan to make skincare for yourself, you might even cause skin problems.
Want some inspiration? Watch this interview with our graduate Rafaela in her 99 square foot wilderness lab – a mobile home from which she runs her amazing Canadian brand Boreal Folk.
Watch more: Graduate Success Story: Rafaela of Boreal Folk
You generally don’t need a licence to make and sell skincare from your home in the USA, UK, most countries in the EU, Canada, Australia and many other countries. You may of course need a licence to run your business, but that requirement will then apply to every business owner in your country and is separate to the question of whether you need a licence to sell skincare.
Nonetheless, you must always check with your local regulatory bodies too, as licensing requirements can vary on a region by region or state by state basis (as you can see from the example of Florida, USA).
We hope this blog post has answered your question around whether you need a licence to sell skincare. Unfortunately we cannot cover every single, territory, state and region globally, but we encourage you to leave us a comment below and tell us what the rules are like in your part of the world.
Want to learn more about creating a safe workspace for making natural cosmetics? Sign up for our free online course on how to become an organic skincare formulator, where one of the free lessons covers the steps required to preparing your workspace.
Generally, no, although it depends on where you live in the world. Some regulatory authorities may permit you to formulate at home but may want you to outsource manufacturing. You may also need a general business licence to operate, but that’s separate to making skincare.
Yes you can! Just because you can’t manufacture at home, doesn’t mean you can’t formulate at home. There are hundreds of cosmetic manufacturing labs around the world that can take care of that part for you.
Yes, as long as you comply with cosmetic Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Meeting GMP in a heavily used and busy kitchen may be a struggle, so we recommend allocating a separate room in your home if you can.
It depends on your individual set-up. Some Formula Botanica students use a spare room, while others allocate part of an office space to their lab, or build a small bespoke formulation lab in their kitchen. We have even seen some of our students rent a whole separate room for manufacturing.
Formula Botanica is the only education institution you will ever need to become a professional organic / natural formulator. Check out their award-winning online courses now.
Leave us a comment
Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.