Oh, the irony…
Last night, I was sitting with a table full of LBU graduates (hi, gang!) at the fancy awards dinner on the final night of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild annual conference. I’d spent the last four days teaching, networking and supporting my fellow beauty makers and this was our final “hurrah!”- a night to celebrate handmade cosmetics and all the amazing things that micro beauty brands are doing to support and grow this industry. Cocktails were served promptly at 6pm; dinner at 6:30.
As we sat together recounting all the fun from the week, celebrating the most innovative products and cheering on soapmakers who are advancing their education through certification, I had no idea that a new federal cosmetic bill had dropped just fifteen minutes before the celebration started that evening. Oh Universe, you do have a funny bone, don’t you?
As an industry, we’ve been through this before. A wave of proposed cosmetic bills has washed over Congress since 2008. None have passed, but the lobbying continues and the desire to overhaul cosmetic legislation seems to be picking up steam in certain circles.
I’ve been through this before, too. As the founder of a beauty brand, I strive to keep one eye tuned towards the legislative landscape, because I’m keenly aware of the potentially profound impact new federal mandates will have on my livelihood, on my family, and the families of my staff. And I’ve had the privilege of marching up to Washington DC on multiple occasions to meet with legislative officials and the FDA to educate them about micro beauty brands and how these rules will affect our industry. I’m glad they’ve listened in the past and I’m hopeful that they’ll continue listening as they weigh their next steps. My brand’s last name isn’t “Gamble” or “Johnson” and my products certainly aren’t in the cabinets of every American family, but my business matters, too. As does yours…
As I navigated a few airports to get myself home today, I spent several hours in contemplation of this new 98-page bill. Known as the Personal Care Products Safety Act, it was introduced last night by Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). As is customary, this kind of proposed legislation is steeped in complex language which is often unnecessarily confusing to those of use who are minus one law degree. As I scrutinized the bill, I took some careful notes and I thought you might find them helpful, too.
While I’m not an attorney, legislator or lobbyist, I have studied many of the previous bills and I do have some grasp on the language. I’ve put together a “layman’s interpretation” of the bill, having spent several hours in a deep dive dissection. And I want to be clear: though I have met with federal legislative representatives and the FDA on several previous occasions with regard to pending cosmetic legislation, I haven’t had any contact with Senator Feinstein’s office with regard to this particular piece of legislation.
We should all have our antennae up- both as beauty brands and makers, too, no matter which product category we’re choosing to operate in. If we want to maintain the vibrancy of the small business, American-made community, then we’re going to need to stick together. This bill is not yet law and may not ever become law. It will inevitably evolve as it moves through the committee process and winds its way through both houses of Congress. But the time to enlighten ourselves and be proactive starts right now!
1. PRESS RELEASE: Senators Introduce Bill to Strengthen Personal Care Product Oversight. Read what Senator Feinstein had to say upon the bill’s release.
2. THE BILL: Meet the new Personal Care Products Safety Act, all 98 pages of it.
3. THE COALITIONS: It’s important that we stay up-to-speed on the latest developments and understand the various ways in which we can influence the legislative process. The following trade organizations and coalitions are tracking the issue while working hard to keep the industry informed.
4. MY “LAYMAN’S” NOTES ON THE BILL: I’ve spent the day distilling 98 pages of politically-infused language down to 7 pages of “Layman’s language” notes, extracting the pieces of this particular legislation that I believe have the opportunity to significantly shape the way indie beauty brands do business in this country. I’ve cross-referenced each bullet point so that you can easily refer back to the language of the original bill. I’ll start with just one section of the bill and then tuck a link to all of my notes below.
MANDATORY FACILITY REGISTRATION
• Facilities which manufacture, process, pack or hold cosmetic products will be required to register with the FDA. In essence, this looks like the current voluntarily registration program made mandatory. (Section 605, page 5)
• Registration must include: facility name, full physical address, all business trading names, nature of the business activities, emergency contact information, and an assurance that the FDA “will be permitted to inspect such facility at the times and in the manner permitted by this Act.” (Section 605, page 9)
• That registration must be renewed once every 3 years and updated within 60 days of any change in registration information. New facilities must be registered within 60 days of opening. (Section 605, page 7)
• The FDA will compile a list of all registered facilities and that list will be made available to the public. (Section 605, page 10)
• The physical address of manufacturing facilities must be disclosed to the FDA and that information will be compiled and made public through the FDA. There will be an exception made for manufacturing facilities which are also private residences- registration will be required but the physical address will not be made public. (Section 605, page 10)
READ THE REST OF MY “PLAIN-ENGLISH” NOTES ABOUT THE NEW COSMETICS BILL.
Please share this post among the maker community in general and the beauty community in particular. Have questions about the bill? Insights about how the proposed legislation will affect micro beauty brands? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!