Cosmetic Legislation - Federal Legislative Update

Hearing Summary

On March 27, 2012 there was an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, “Examining the Current State of Cosmetics”. 

It was my pleasure to testify to the subcommittee on behalf of the Handmade Soap and Cosmetic Industry.

The hearing lasted just over two hours and overall, it went very well. Questions were fair and the witnesses appeared passionately honest. Most everyone was in agreement that cosmetics are of the safest products regulated by the FDA. Recent concerns with the “Brazilian Blowout” were due misbranded and mislabeled products. Small business needs received considerable support from both sides of the aisle!!

  • You can watch the entire hearing, click here.
  • Debbie May’s testimony begins at 1:30:18 (red jacket), click here.
  • Debbie May’s written testimony is online, click here

My Current Focus

There are currently two cosmetic bills that have been formally introduced into the house. They are HR 2359 and HR 4262.  As of today, it is clear that neither of these bills will be fast tracked for passage this summer.

I remain committed to working with all bill authors and committee members to improve the language of this bill so that the handmade soap and cosmetic industry does not experience burdensome unintended consequences. I will travel to Washington DC as necessary. I will continue to monitor this bill for additional co-sponsors and then work with co-sponsors to improve the language. 

Improving Legislative Language

I am asking that any bill seeking to amend federal cosmetic regulation standards should contain principles and philosophy that:
  1. minimizes the adverse impact to small businesses, and
  2. maximizes the beneficial economic impact that small businesses create to the communities they serve.  
To support these two small business principles, I ask that following language be considered and applied to any cosmetic legislation the committee addresses:

1. Incorporation of a Small Business Definition

SMALL BUSINESS.—The term ‘small business’ means a business—
(A) that is engaged in the manufacturing or packaging of cosmetics; and
(B) has annual sales receipts for cosmetic products that do not exceed $2,000,000.

2. Incorporating a Small Business Facility and Product Registration Exemption

IN GENERAL.—Any establishment (except for small businesses) engaged in manufacturing or packaging cosmetics for use in the United States shall register with the Secretary and pay to the Secretary the applicable fee, as established under the fee schedule.

3. Incorporating a Small Business Fee Exemption

FEE SCHEDULE.—A schedule of fees shall be developed by the Secretary to provide for oversight and enforcement. The fee structure shall—
(1) be assessed on companies with annual gross sales of cosmetics products that exceed $10,000,000; and,
(2) be prorated on a sliding scale based on gross sales for cosmetic manufacturers with sales in excess of $10,000,000.

4. Product Safety Testing
CONSIDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESS.— The safety of a finished product will be deemed safe if all ingredients blended in the manufacturing of a cosmetic product have been approved for use in cosmetics, are food-grade, and/or have been generally recognized as safe (GRAS). 

5. Good Manufacturing Practices

IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall issue guidelines for good manufacturing practices for cosmetics and ingredients, including quality control procedures that the Secretary determines are necessary, and shall update such regulations as necessary. In developing guidelines the Secretary shall consider how such practices will impact small businesses.

6. Small Business Assistance
RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES - The Secretary shall provide technical support (via hotline or email) to assist small businesses in carrying out the requirements of the regulations.

Handmade Cosmetic Alliance

Look for the “Handmade Cosmetic Alliance” website to be coming soon!  The HCA will be your place to have your small business voice heard.  You will be able to write your legislators, engage others and make a difference in helping the handmade soap and cosmetic industry!! 


Debbie May is a recognized and trusted voice for small businesses specializing in handmade products. You can follow her at Debbie ( You can email Debbie directly at