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An Introduction to Regulation in the Middle East

The Middle Eastern cosmetics industry is a dynamic and rapidly growing market that has experienced significant growth in recent years due to increasing consumer demand for high quality products.

With this growth comes the need for comprehensive regulations to ensure the safety, efficacy, and integrity of cosmetic products imported into the region. To facilitate trade and ensure consumer safety the Middle Eastern cosmetic industry, led by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)), recently went through regional regulatory harmonisation efforts. The new guidelines helped to establish a common set of requirements for cosmetic products across the GCC states. 

In order to gain access to the GCC market you will need to gain pre market approval and product registration before your cosmetics can be imported, distributed, or sold within the region. The specific requirements and processes vary slightly among countries, but they generally involve submitting detailed product information, including:

There are some additional items which may be requested from you:

  • Some product types may require additional testing for heavy metals.
  • Some countries may require samples to be sent for laboratory testing.
  • Halaal certification is not required for product registrations but may be helpful given the significant Muslim population in the Middle East.
Though this process may seem incredibly detailed, it’s significantly easier to navigate than the safety evaluation process in the United Kingdom (UK) or European Union (EU).

For brands that already have UK and EU approval this process will be familiar and straightforward.

Understanding and complying with Middle Eastern cosmetic regulations is essential for manufacturers, importers, and distributors seeking to tap into this thriving market. By adhering to pre-market approval procedures businesses can navigate the regulatory landscape effectively and provide consumers with safe, high-quality cosmetic products in the Middle East.

This article was created by Jené Roesorf, founder of Activist Beauty.

Activist Beauty was founded to help mission driven brands to expand and scale their businesses internationally through efficient and ethical business practices, and has vast experience of advising brands entering into the GCC market including navigating the regulatory requirements.


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