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A country long-known for its distinctive styles of fashion and dress, Hungary today is a major market for cosmetics and personal care products in Central Europe. With annual sales of cosmetics and personal care products projected to exceed € 900 million in 2019, Hungary also boasts an annual per capita expenditure of nearly € 100 per year, making it a lucrative market for both domestic manufacturers and importers.
In this article, we’ll discuss the opportunities for cosmetics and personal care products in Hungary and summarise the current regulations applicable to the testing of cosmetics. We’ll also provide insight into some manufacturers’ “best practices” when it comes to the testing and approval of cosmetics and personal care products.
Cosmetics and personal care products account for nearly 40 percent of all chemical products sold in Hungary. As in many developed economies, the cosmetics and personal care products market in Hungary showcases a wide variety of international brands featuring medium, premium and luxury products, as well as domestically-produced specialty cosmetics and beauty products.
In recent years, as consumers have become more knowledgeable about the use of environmentally-sustainable ingredients and production practices, there has also been a growing interest in cosmetic products comprised of “natural” or “organic” ingredients. Since there are already a large number of high-quality, conventional products on the market, the interest in natural cosmetics represents a potential opportunity to expand the overall market. And this trend holds special significance for domestic manufacturers that can bring to market unique cosmetic products that meet this demand and that are both natural and safe.
According to Gabriella Süveges Váradi, manager of TÜV SÜD’s cosmetics and personal care products testing laboratory in Hungary, the growing consumer interest in environmentally-sustainable ingredients and production methods is already impacting producers of conventional cosmetic products. “We recommend that all of our customers think about these important environmental aspects, even if they’re not specifically developing or producing ‘natural’ products,” notes Ms. Süveges. “Even small changes in the selection of ingredients or the use of specific types of packaging materials can have a beneficial impact on consumers’ perceptions of a given company’s products.”
Another factor driving the market for cosmetics and personal care products in Hungary is price-sensitivity among domestic consumers. In general, cosmetic products are primarily purchased in large supermarkets or drugstores, where consumers have access to a broad range of products at all price points. Of course, cosmetics and personal care products are increasingly being sold through online merchant platforms, allowing consumers to more easily shop for both convenience and price.
Facing the market for cosmetics and personal care products in Hungary is that consumers are more knowledgeable about the products that they buy and are less likely to be deceived or misled by well-crafted marketing messages. “There are a lot of places where consumers can access to have reviews about certain products and the experiences of other consumers,” she says. “This level of product scrutiny performed by TÜV SÜD extends even to whether the product has been tested by a recognised third-party in accordance with safety and chemical requirements, which actually serves to encourage manufacturers to be more rigorous in complying with applicable regulations.”
Hungary is a Member State in the European Union (EU). Therefore, cosmetics and personal care products marketed there are subject to the requirements laid out in EU Directives and Regulations.
Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 stipulates the requirements applicable to cosmetic products marketed in Hungary and throughout the EU and requires that every cosmetic product be safe under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use. Under the terms of the Regulation, the manufacturer or distributor of a cosmetic product is designated as the “responsible person,” and is required to ensure that their product complies with all aspects of relevant regulations. Claims of compliance must be supported by laboratory testing, and the creation of a product information file that contains the results of that testing.
A further condition for placing cosmetic products on the market is that products must be reported through a common European portal, the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP), where, in addition to registration, the products’ safety assessments, safety reports, product information files and labels, compliant with the Cosmetics Regulation, are uploaded. The manufacturing of cosmetic products is also subject to the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) set out in ISO 22716.
According to TÜV SÜD’s Ms. Süveges, increased restrictions on the use of certain substances under EU chemical regulations has created additional compliance challenges. “Now, more and more potentially-harmful cosmetic bases and excipients are either being banned or are subject to quantitative restrictions,” she explains. “That has resulted in many manufacturers paying increased attention to the toxicological evaluation of their products in order to meet their legal obligations as well as the expectations of consumers.”
Finally, there are certain countries within the EU that have imposed additional requirements of cosmetic products. Most frequently, these added requirements address specific limits for potentially-harmful substances used in product formulations, and several EU Member States imposed product quality requirements that required additional testing. While Hungary does not currently impose regulations or requirements beyond those implemented by the EU, producers of cosmetics and personal care products based in Hungary may be subject to these regulations when they export their products throughout the EU.
Because cosmetics and personal care products come into direct contact with human skin and mucous membranes, manufacturers need to make sure that their products are safe for use and do not contain any substances that are potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Meeting this requirement has become even more challenging as conventional cosmetic production processes use an ever-widening array of ingredients that may cause irritation or worse when they come in contact with the skin.
At the same time, TÜV SÜD’s Ms. Süveges is witnessing firsthand the efforts by a number of companies in developing new and innovative product and production solutions that satisfy consumer demands for high-quality cosmetics and personal care products that are also safe. According to Ms. Süveges, “adherence to GMP principles as presented in ISO 22716 is at the core of all of the ‘best practices’ we observe.”
From Ms. Süveges’s perspective, cosmetics manufacturers that implement effective GMP policies can consistently produce safe products with better quality by:
Based in Budapest, ÉMI-TÜV SÜD Kft. is a fully-accredited testing laboratory offering producers and distributors a single source for the testing of cosmetics and personal care products as well as cosmetic packaging materials, consistent with all EU and EU Member State requirements. Our state-of-the-art facility is equipped to conduct the full range of tests applicable to cosmetic products, including microbiological testing, chemical and physical testing, and organoleptic testing and cosmetic packaging material testing. We can also provide expert review and evaluation of required documentation, information and product labelling.
ÉMI-TÜV SÜD is also a member of KOZMOS (The Association on the field of the Hungarian cosmetic, household cleanser, maintenance, detergent and personal hygiene and home care industries), and works closely with the largest Hungarian cosmetic manufacturers and representatives of international brands.
“The frequent changes in legislation and regulations, a shrinking pool of technical expertise, and increased competition from global companies present significant challenges for manufacturers and distributors,” says Ms. Süveges “Over time, only trusted brands that provide high-quality, safe cosmetics and personal care products will survive in a highly competitive market. A strong relationship with an experienced evaluation and testing partner will be essential for companies that seek to remain competitive in the future.”
 “Cosmetics & Personal Care: Hungary,” dashboard of market statistics for cosmetics and personal care products in Hungary, posted to the website of statista. Available here (as of 15 March 2019).