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Top 9 Things to Know About Cosmetics to Canada

Top 9 Things to Know About Cosmetics to Canada

For brands looking to ship cosmetics and personal care products to Canada, understanding the specifications and best practices is a great first step. At Passport, we know that international shipping can come with a whole host of requirements and regulations, but we’re here to help make that process less complicated.

If you’re looking for insight on how to ship cosmetics to Canada, here’s our list of the top 9 things you should know:

  1. Canada has specific regulatory guidelines for personal care products that govern the product ingredients, registration, packaging, and labeling.
  2. The applicable regulations depend on whether the item is viewed as a cosmetic, a drug, or a natural health product.
    1. Health Canada offers a guidance document to help determine whether a personal care product is regulated by the Cosmetic Regulations, the Food and Drug Regulations or the Natural Health Products Regulations.
  3. Canada 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."
  4. Natural health products (NHPs) are defined as “naturally occurring substances that are used to restore or maintain good health. They are often made from plants, but can also be made from animals, microorganisms and marine sources. They come in a wide variety of forms like tablets, capsules, tinctures, solutions, creams, ointments and drops.”
  5. As a general rule, products that are ingested, inhaled, or injected are not classified as cosmetics.
  6. Canada maintains a list of over 500 ingredients on the Hotlist that are prohibited or restricted from use in cosmetic products; prohibited ingredients are not allowed in any quantity while restricted ingredients may be limited by volume or application.
  7. Brands must complete a Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) within 10 days of selling a cosmetic in Canada; however, cosmetics can be imported into Canada for further distribution without the requirement to register until the products are actually sold.
  8. The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act requires that all personal care products sold in Canada be manufactured, prepared, preserved, packed and stored under sanitary conditions and safe for consumer use.
  9. Direct-to-consumer brands are often advised to register as a non-resident importer (NRI), though it is not in their best interest to do so unless they are also selling through a B2B channel or forward-stocking products in Canadian warehouses and fulfillment centers; NRIs cannot take advantage of the increased duty de minimis of $150CAD.

What Are the Next Steps for a Cosmetic Company That Wants To Ship to Canada?

Even with all those regulations, definitions, and rules laid out, we know it can be overwhelming to sort through the myriad of regulations by yourself. Enter in: Passport. Contact our team to set up an exploratory call so we can understand your international expansion goals and recommend a go-to-market approach.Our trusted advisors can help you seamlessly enter the Canadian market -- let’s get started!

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