Positive lists of cosmetic ingredients: Analytical methodology for regulatory and safety controls - A review

Anal Chim Acta. 2016 Apr 7:915:1-26. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2016.02.033. Epub 2016 Mar 3.


Cosmetic products placed on the market and their ingredients, must be safe under reasonable conditions of use, in accordance to the current legislation. Therefore, regulated and allowed chemical substances must meet the regulatory criteria to be used as ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, and adequate analytical methodology is needed to evaluate the degree of compliance. This article reviews the most recent methods (2005-2015) used for the extraction and the analytical determination of the ingredients included in the positive lists of the European Regulation of Cosmetic Products (EC 1223/2009): comprising colorants, preservatives and UV filters. It summarizes the analytical properties of the most relevant analytical methods along with the possibilities of fulfilment of the current regulatory issues. The cosmetic legislation is frequently being updated; consequently, the analytical methodology must be constantly revised and improved to meet safety requirements. The article highlights the most important advances in analytical methodology for cosmetics control, both in relation to the sample pretreatment and extraction and the different instrumental approaches developed to solve this challenge. Cosmetics are complex samples, and most of them require a sample pretreatment before analysis. In the last times, the research conducted covering this aspect, tended to the use of green extraction and microextraction techniques. Analytical methods were generally based on liquid chromatography with UV detection, and gas and liquid chromatographic techniques hyphenated with single or tandem mass spectrometry; but some interesting proposals based on electrophoresis have also been reported, together with some electroanalytical approaches. Regarding the number of ingredients considered for analytical control, single analyte methods have been proposed, although the most useful ones in the real life cosmetic analysis are the multianalyte approaches.

Keywords: Analytical methods; Colorants; Personal care products; Preservatives; Sample preparation; UV filters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Cosmetics / analysis*
  • Safety*


  • Cosmetics