Traceability of cosmetics - Chemical supply chain of cosmetics
Blog 18/01/2022

Traceability of cosmetics - Chemical supply chain of cosmetics

The traceability of cosmetics is required by law to protect manufacturers and consumers. Find out more!


Traceability of Cosmetics: protection for Manufacturers and Consumers

The traceability of cosmetics is a very important aspect for the safety of companies and end consumers.

The traceability system also protects manufacturers because it prevents the product from being counterfeited thanks to an anti-counterfeiting system. This is possible by making the product traceable anywhere and at any time, thus “unique”.

This trend for increasing traceability stems from the real need to protect manufacturers and consumers and is governed by Regulation EC No. 1223/2009, enacted on July 11, 2013.

Tracing a cosmetic product anywhere in the world and during any stage of its production and distribution chain is possible thanks to cutting-edge technology such as real-time locating systems (RTLS) and IOT technology.

New Challenges for Traceability

New Challenges for Traceability

Regulation EC No. 1223/2009 has introduced new challenges for the traceability of products, especially in the world of cosmetics.

Even though European Directive 76/768/EEC already included provisions on this matter, the issue of the new regulation added new provisions to the existing ones.

The key changes introduced by Regulation EC No. 1223/2009 on the traceability of cosmetic products and the prevention of counterfeiting are related to many topics linked to sales and marketing.

In particular:

  • the safety assessment of cosmetic products;
  • the electronic and centralised notification to the European Commission of information about the product before it is made available on the market;
  • market surveillance (it will be necessary to ensure the traceability of a product along the entire supply chain);
  • the obligations of distributors (the supply chain operators are responsible for the products made available on the market and they must carry out checks on the products and labelling, as well as identify their partners in the supply chain).


Regulation EC No. 1223/2009 is, therefore, a new challenge for traceability, while increasing safety for end consumers and protection for manufacturers.

Why is Traceability in the Cosmetics supply Chain important?

The cosmetics industry is a very broad-reaching world that includes a variety of product types widely used in many contexts, such as:

  • skin creams,
  • shampoo,
  • body care and hygiene products,
  • make-up products,
  • sun creams and products,
  • oral hygiene products.


Even though they are not medical products, we still, however, talk about products with chemical formulas which we apply to the skin and on the most intimate and sensitive parts of our body. They are products, therefore, which if not correctly formulated according to legal standards, could lead to unwanted effects.

For this reason, the European community, as we have seen, has governed the production and distribution aspects, by attributing the responsibility to the distributors of what is made available on the market and by implementing the obligation of traceability along the entire supply chain.

For every cosmetic product made available on the market, the law requires that a person be defined as responsible who will be the guarantor of the obligations governed by Regulation EC No. 1223/2009.

Why is Traceability in the Cosmetics supply Chain important?

Cosmetovigilance: What is it and who does it affect?

The person responsible for the cosmetic products (or represented by an expert consultant on the subject) must prepare a dossier that includes the information on the product and demonstrates its safety.

This is the PIF (Product Information File), i.e. a reasoned report that takes into consideration every aspect of the finished product, such as the production stage, packaging and other key aspects to prove the quality and conformity of the cosmetic product.

The responsible person must also implement a cosmetovigilance system capable of correctly handling reports in the event of unwanted effects caused by the application of the product, in order to be able to manage the problem and take action as quickly as possible.

And it is precisely Reg. EC 1223/2009 that requires the person responsible for a cosmetic product to set up a cosmetovigilance system and report any problems encountered to the competent authorities.

IoT and Traceability of the Cosmetic supply Chain

IoT and Traceability of the Cosmetic supply Chain

For the safety of consumers and the protection of manufacturers, it is, therefore, very important to ensure the traceability of a cosmetic product along the entire supply chain.

The traceability of the supply chain of cosmetic products also helps to simplify market surveillance as it assists authorities in tracing operators in the event of problems related to a particular cosmetic.

In this scenario, IoT technology proves to be a truly excellent ally because it makes cosmetic products “unique” allowing them to be traced at any time and at any stage of the supply chain.

RFID technology, for example, allows the automatic identification of a single product, batch or pallet.

This is Radio Frequency Identification, which allows you to access a tag (remote memory) without contact.

The digitalisation process in the supply chain of the cosmetic product supply chain has produced excellent results in terms of product development:

  • increase in productivity;
  • improvement in quality;
  • decrease in design costs.

Fight against the counterfeiting of Cosmetic Products

IoT and artificial intelligence technology, as we have seen, are effective tools for tracing cosmetic products along the entire supply chain.

They also provide valid solutions for sustaining the fight against the counterfeiting of cosmetic products.

Using IoT technology for combating the counterfeiting of cosmetics offers numerous benefits:

  • Protect the market again counterfeiting,
  • Safeguard consumers,
  • Trace the cosmetic product throughout its life cycle,
  • Collect information about the products and promptly notify the authorities about any issues.

The modern technology of artificial intelligence has, therefore, successfully led us to truly important milestone for the cosmetics industry which, at one time, seemed unimaginable.