2023 cosmetic trends and EU/UK compliance

2023 cosmetic trends and EU/UK compliance

Top-selling cosmetics’ specificities you need to know to sell in the EU/UK

Probiotics, prebiotics, waterless beauty, DIY, face gems or solid cosmetics, the 2023 cosmetic trends are reflecting the cosmetic industry’s pledge to a cleaner way of consumption. While every cosmetic must comply with the Regulation EC No 1223/2009 and the UK Cosmetics Regulation to be sold in the European Union and the United Kingdom, every product has its specificities. Furthermore, some categories require more attention, such as CBD cosmetics.

Did you ever wonder if the last beauty trends had any regulatory characteristic?

If the EU/UK compliance requirements remain identical for every product, particularities can impact your budget, launch and even your brand strategy. Here is why.  

Fermented cosmetics

Nowadays, fermented skincare can be found everywhere and is definitely part of the 2023 cosmetic trends. We owe this recent trend to South-Korea, where the fermentation process has been used for cooking since centuries. This year, a wide range of cosmetics formulated with fermented fruits’ extracts, plants, milk, rice or yeast are being launched to provide the best experience to customers.

Its advantages: the benefits are numerous and fermented formulations are not subject to specific requirements when it comes to the EU/UK compliance process. Thus, fermentation does not imply more regulatory complications. However, the following cosmetics should catch your attention.

Waterless beauty

Waterless beauty emerged from one of the biggest concerns of this century: the water crisis. In the wake of the 21st century, the cosmetic industry has developed a new generation of beauty products also known as water-free products. This 2023 cosmetic trend turns toward powders, butters, oils, gels, solid cosmetics, blush papers or anhydrous sticks which are promoting our water’s consumption reduction while displaying more concentrated formulas than “traditional” cosmetics.

The advantages: water-free products get a longer shelf life, contain less bacteria and therefore do not require conservatives. The risk of contamination is lower, so they do not need to go through a Challenge test (a microbiological quality testing is still required).

The downsides: even if waterless beauty is described as an environmentally friendly alternative, part of the “green revolution”, brands should be careful about its accuracy and actual benefits. Indeed, even if the absence of water leads to cleaner formulations and generally more ecological packaging, solid cosmetics for instance have lower duration periods than liquid ones even if they are generally marketed as the opposite. Moreover, they can still contain allergens and other substances harmful for the environment.

As a result, manufacturers should pay attention to their claims, which can often be misleading and false. Waterless beauty is a step forward, but it is not yet a miracle solution and should not be described as such. Instead of focusing on water only, brands should encourage consumers to look for cosmetics rooting for both social and other environmental benefits, such as vegan, natural, organic or hypoallergenic formulations. 

DIY cosmetics

In a previous article, we described how the sharp increase of DIY beauty was induced by the 19 Covid crisis. The Do-It-Yourself trend is a great way for consumers to take an active part in their beauty routine, but its regulatory process is way more complicated in the EU/UK because the formula is not fixed. To ensure the safety of a multi-formula product is a complex task which may lead to higher costs and a longer compliance process. Every case is unique and requires a custom-made solution, which is why we encourage you to contact us to receive our experts’ advice. Nonetheless, we can still break down DIY cosmetics in 3 categories with distinct regulatory implications:  

  • DIY kits with only one possible recipe: One PIF for the final product and tests performed on the finished product and/or each ingredient.
  • DIY kits with different possible recipes:The base must stay the same with additional ingredients and concentrations varying depending on the consumer’s choice, and a PIF corresponding to each specific combination that could be made by the client should be created. The tests must be performed for each ingredient and/or every possible recipe.
  • Different ingredients sold separately: They can either be considered as a kit if a clear link is drawn between the ingredients (recipe, commercial reference, brand…), either as raw materials. In that case, they must be compliant with the corresponding regulations.
You do not know what a PIF is? You can check this article to fully understand the EU/UK cosmetics legal requirements.

Hence, choosing between these DIY options will impact your whole marketing and development strategy, your budget and the compliance process, while many variations of these three options are not listed above.

Good to know: DIY products can still get certifications (natural, clean, GMO-free, organic…) if every ingredient/cosmetic complies with the requirements.

Face gems

In vogue in 2023, face gems can be seen in TV series or on celebrities and embody a retro trend coming back to style. Shapes and styles are diversified, leaving the consumer with a wide range of choices. However, there are two categories of face gems and only one of them is a cosmetic.

  • In the case of a sticker, the face gem is defined as a general product, which is not ruled by EU/UK the Cosmetics regulations.
  • In the case of a face gem applied on skin with glue, the glue will be considered as a cosmetic in the same way as false eyelashes’ glue for instance. Nevertheless, the face gem itself will remains a general product.

Consequently, you should carefully choose one of these two options as your product’s category will be directly impacted.

BIORIUS’ expertise

As a third-party regulatory expert, BIORIUS can help your brand to comply with various cosmetic regulations. We can adapt to every product specificity and propose targeted solutions, including how to value your clean products with certifications and to get in line in more than 60 countries. 

Emma Varnier

Business Development Representative



  • Frédéric Lebreux

    Dr. Frédéric Lebreux is Biorius's Chief Executive Officer and has worked in the cosmetic industry for more than 13 years. He is regularly invited as a speaker or Professor to cosmetic events.

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