Australia Implements Cosmetics Information Standard

20 January 2021


By Winnie XuChemLinked 

Under the new information standard, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are categorized as cosmetics, requiring sellers to provide the alcohol content and warning information either on the product packaging or the container. 

According to the Australian Government, the sudden COVID-19 emergency has highlighted some deficiencies in the market for hand sanitizers and the regulatory framework that governs the supply of hand sanitizers regulated as cosmetics. To address the problem and help consumers choose safe and effective hand sanitizers, Australia made an amendment to the mandatory standard for ingredients labelling, namely Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991 [1], which spells out the definition and classification of cosmetics, the form of ingredients list as well as the specific labelling requirements. 

On November 24, a new legislative instrument—Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020 was published to supersede the existing standard [2]. It carries over the key requirements of the repealed information standard 1991 and introduces several new rules specifically for alcohol-based hand sanitizers. 

Specifics of the new rules are as follows: 

1. Definition


Includes, but is not limited to, ethyl alcohol (ethanol), isopropyl alcohol, and alcohol denat. 

Hand Sanitizer 

An antibacterial skincare product that consists of, contains, or generates one or more antimicrobial active substances; and that is represented in any way to be, or is likely to be taken to be (whether because of how it is presented or for any other reason): 

  • for use on hands when soap and water are not available; and 
  • applied to the hands without rinsing off; and 
  • intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, prevent the action of, or otherwise exert a controlling effect on any bacteria on the skin. 

 2. Labelling Requirements

Hand sanitizers with alcohol as the primary active ingredient must display the following information on the product packaging or container: 

The amount of alcohol contained in the product, shown as a percentage (%), by volume per volume (v/v), in the list of ingredients or elsewhere on the container. 

Warnings, including the words set out below, or other words or pictograms to the same effect: 

- Keep out of reach of children. 

- For external use only. 

- If ingested, seek immediate medical attention. 

- Flammable – keep away from fire and heat. 

- Discontinue use if skin irritation occurs. 


Notably, a 6-month grace period was granted for hand sanitizer stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to the new regulation. 

Up until May 23, 2021, enterprises can choose to comply with the requirements of either the Cosmetics Information Standard 2020 or the Consumer Product (Cosmetics) Information Standards 1991. 

As of May 24, 2021, enterprises shall only comply with the requirements under the 2020 Information Standard.


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Reference Links 

[1] Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991 

[2] Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020 


This article was first published by ChemLinked at