Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the following topics to view the most commonly asked questions about the CCTFA, our member companies and the cosmetics and personal care products industry:

General CCTFA Questions

What does CCTFA do?

Established in 1928, the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) is regarded by consumers, retailers, government, media and the public as the leading voice of the personal care products industry in Canada.

CCTFA and its members promote:

  • Growth and sustainability of the personal care products industry in Canada
  • Consumer safety through the manufacturing and marketing of safe and effective products
  • Public confidence by serving as a reliable and accessible resource for information, education and accreditation related to the safety and quality of personal care products
  • Science based regulations that are effective, efficient and facilitate international trade through alignment and coordination between jurisdictions
  • Compliance with applicable regulations and standards
  • Environmental responsibility through the sound management of ingredients used in personal care products and responsible disposal and recycling of waste
  • Social responsibility through the efforts of the CCTFA Foundation and its Look Good Feel Better and Facing Cancer Together programs
  • International cooperation with other personal care products associations on matters of shared interest
Who are CCTFA Members?

CCTFA member companies are the leading companies in the cosmetics and personal care products industry in Canada and encompass 80-90% of the industry. They also represent a large portion of the approximately $9.14 billion (2011) in cosmetics and personal care products that are purchased in retail stores annually in Canada.

Is CCTFA a government organization?

Although we work very closely with the Government of Canada, the CCTFA is not a government organization and does not receive any government funding. We are the leading Canadian trade association for the cosmetics and personal care products industry and are funded solely by our member companies.

Are there other cosmetics and personal care products associations worldwide?

There are associations representing the cosmetics and personal care products industry worldwide. CCTFA works very closely with these associations to assist in aligning our regulatory processes internationally, which helps to ensure the safety of products imported into Canada.

The CCTFA works closely with the following personal care products industry trade associations:

How do I contact companies who make cosmetics and personal care products?

CCTFA member companies are listed on our website. You can click on each company's name to visit their individual websites for specific product information.

As a consumer, why should I support this industry?

The products supplied by our industry are of a great benefit to consumers and play an important role in maintaining a daily personal hygiene routine and sense of well-being. It is important to remember that the personal care products industry is not only colour cosmetics, but includes a wide variety of products including shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, sunscreen, antiperspirants, acne creams and nail polish.

CCTFA member companies are at the forefront of advanced product innovation and development. They are responsive to growing and emerging science and the evolving demands of the Canadian and global marketplace.

Safety of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

Are cosmetics and personal care products safe?

The CCTFA and its members share the view that cosmetics and personal care products must be safe from both a human health and environmental perspective when used as intended.

Specifically in Canada, Health Canada regulates cosmetics and other personal care products under the Food and Drugs Act and its Cosmetic, Food and Drug, and Natural Health Product Regulations. Ingredients used in cosmetics and other personal care products are also subject to review under Canada's world-leading Chemicals Management Plan. As such, it is illegal to sell cosmetics or other personal care products that would cause harm when used as intended.

Cosmetics and personal care products are subject to at least three levels of scrutiny as to their safety for use by consumers.

  • Ingredient suppliers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of the substances they produce for their intended purpose.
  • Manufacturers have this same obligation to safety when blending ingredients to produce finished products.
  • Governments have created various regulatory requirements imposed by law as a further safeguard of consumer safety.

In Canada, government regulation is specifically provided by Health Canada based on the most current scientific knowledge and information. By law, cosmetics and personal care products cannot contain ingredients or quantities of ingredients that can cause injury to human health.

Health Canada also maintains a list of prohibited or restricted ingredients that is updated regularly. Furthermore, the ingredients and their formulation for each cosmetic and personal care product must be filed with Health Canada by the manufacturer. This allows Health Canada to review new products and maintain a national database that can be used to contact suppliers if and when new information regarding risk should become known.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) is also an important resource for safe use information and is used by regulators and the industry worldwide. The CIR provides an independent assessment of cosmetic and personal care product ingredients on a risk-priority basis and publishes its findings in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Based on the very latest knowledge available, manufacturers work with ingredient suppliers to ensure that the ingredients they are producing are safe.

In addition, CCTFA member companies have actively supported Health Canada's requirements to ensure ingredient labelling on all cosmetics personal care product packaging as well as the implementation of internationally recognized ingredient names. These initiatives help to ensure that consumers, their healthcare providers and scientists are able to correctly identify product ingredients no matter where they are manufactured.

Click here for additional information on how Health Canada regulates cosmetics and personal care products in Canada. For additional information on the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, please visit It is important to note that this website references U.S. regulations and not Canadian. However, this website is a great resource overall for specific safety information about cosmetics and personal care products, their ingredients and how they are tested.

How can I determine the ingredients in my cosmetics and personal care products?

On December 1, 2004, Health Canada revised the Cosmetic Regulations to include mandatory ingredient labelling on all cosmetics and personal care products sold in Canada. These regulations were put into effect after a 24-month compliance period, which ended in November 2006. Health Canada also provided retailers with an additional one-year period to deplete existing inventory. At this point, consumers should see a complete list of ingredients on all cosmetic and personal care product packaging sold in Canada.

What is INCI?
The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, abbreviated INCI, is a system of names for ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products, based on scientific names and other Latin and English words.

In Canada, the regulatory authority for INCI usecomes from the Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetic Regulations. INCI names are mandated on the ingredient statement of every cosmetic and personal care product. The INCI system allows the consumer to identify the ingredient content no matter where they are in the world.

Are natural ingredients better/safer?
There is a general assumption that "natural" products are healthier than similar ones using synthetic ingredients. Often, however, these "natural" ingredients are no different in composition than their synthetic counterparts.

In fact, a synthetic substance, which mimics a natural one, can sometimes provide a purer, more stable ingredient which gives the product a longer shelf life. Health Canada considers both natural and synthetic ingredients to be equally suitable for use in cosmetics.
Are there any ingredients that are strictly prohibited from use in cosmetics/personal care product?
Yes, Health Canada maintains a list of all ingredients that are prohibited from use in cosmetics and personal care products (Cosmetic Ingredient “Hotlist”) and this list is available on their website. Each company must file a list of all ingredients in their product with Health Canada within 10 days of first sale in the marketplace. This provides a check on new products and generates a database that Health Canada can use to contact suppliers if and when new information regarding risk should become known. Health Canada is continuously working with international regulators to ensure this list is current and up-to-date.
I understand that cosmetics now require mandatory ingredient labelling, but what if I don't understand the scientific names for ingredients?
Mandatory ingredient labelling of cosmetics and personal care products has been the law in Canada since November 2006. Products are labelled using the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) system. This form of labelling for cosmetics and personal care products was adopted to ensure that the same names were being used internationally for all ingredients in these products.

If you have an allergy or sensitivity to an ingredient, we recommend that you work in partnership with your health care practitioner who will be able to help you identify the ingredient(s) that are likely to cause problems for you. We also recommend contacting the product manufacturer at their 1-800 number.
Where's the best place to go for detailed product information?
We suggest you visit our member company websites. You may also wish to contact these companies directly regarding product specific concerns or questions that you may have.
I would like to manufacture my own products or import products into Canada. How do I get started?

Personal care products in Canada are regulated by Health Canada and they must adhere to the Food and Drugs Act, Cosmetic Regulations, Drug Regulations, NHP Regulations, Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, Consumer Packaging and Laballing Regulations, Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the New Substances Notification regulations of CEPA. There are other federal and provincial regulatory instruments which may also influence personal care products.

Please visit Health Canada's Cosmetics site for more information on personal care products

Please visit the Department of Justice site for copies of the applicable federak Acts abd regykatuibs nebtuibe above.


Are fragrances safe?
Fine fragrances and fragrance materials, like all cosmetics and personal care products, are regulated by Health Canada under the Food & Drugs Act.

Any safety issues are addressed on an international basis by a number of organizations including the International Fragrance Association, (IFRA), and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, (RIFM).

To access additional information on fragrances, please visit the Scented Products Education and Information Association of Canada (SPEIAC) and The Fragrance Foundation. Additional links can be found at "Links of Interest".

How are fragrances created?
The creation of fragrance is an excellent example of nature and science working together. Many raw materials are taken from natural sources including flowers, herbs, spices, fruits, roots and grains. The desired materials are then isolated from the plants using a combination of mechanical, distillation, extraction and evaporation techniques. These ingredients are enhanced by manufactured materials which may reproduce natural elements that cannot be obtained in large quantities or have unique properties not known to nature.

For thousands of years, fragrances have been enjoyed and have contributed to people's individuality, self-esteem and personal hygiene. Fragrance dates as far back as the Egyptians, who used aromatic plants to create massage oils, medicines, embalming preparations, skin care products, fragrant perfumes and cosmetics.

To access additional information on fragrances, please visit the Scented Products Education and Information Association of Canada (SPEIAC) and The Fragrance Foundation. Additional links can be found at "Links of Interest".

Internet Rumours Debunked

Lead in Lipsticks
A misleading e-mail has been circulating which attempts to assert that several major brands of lipstick contain dangerous levels of lead. This information is FALSE.

One version of this hoax attempts to establish credibility by citing a Dr. Nahid Neman from Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. This doctor does not exist.

Click here for further debunking information on this hoax.

Health Canada indicates that lead occurs naturally in the environment. Everyone is exposed to trace amounts of lead through air, soil, household dust, food and even drinking water. In fact, traces of lead are found in almost all food.

Furthermore, well-publicized claims that the presence of lead in certain lipstick is a health hazard have been dismissed by the Attorney General of the state of California,who confirmed that the claims had no validity. Click here to read the news story.

Antiperspirants and Deodorants
Over the past few years, e-mails have been circulating about antiperspirants/deodorants causing breast cancer. These rumours are FALSE.

The Canadian Cancer Society discredits the specific details of this hoax. According to a number of leading cancer research organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, "there is no plausible mechanism by which antiperspirants and deodorants could cause, or even increase, a man's or woman's risk of breast cancer."
Thorough epidemiological studies of breast cancer risk found no association between antiperspirant use and the risk of breast cancer (Mirick et al, 2002, JNCI Vol. 94, No. 20: 1578-1580).

CCTFA Foundation

This question relates to the CCTFA’s charitable arm.

Can you tell me more about the CCTFA Foundation and its activities?

The CCTFA Foundation supports the Look Good Feel Better® and programs which provide vital support, information, and resources to women with cancer and those who love and support them. Cancer is often a life-long journey, and in recent years, a growing focus has been placed on person-centered treatment that cares for the whole person – mind, body and spirit. The CCTFA and its member companies are proud to be a part of this growing movement – raising both funds and awareness to address the need for greater psychosocial cancer support.


1. Look Good Feel Better
Look Good Feel Better is like a makeover for the spirit. The free 2-hour workshops provide a safe and supportive environment where women with cancer come together to learn ways to manage the effects that cancer and its treatment have on their appearance. At Look Good Feel Better, the belief is that if a woman with cancer can be helped to look good, chances are she'll feel better, her spirits will be lifted and she will be able to face cancer with greater confidence. The Look Good Feel Better workshops are led by industry-trained cosmetic advisors who teach women how to use makeup and hair alternatives to help them look and feel more like themselves again. And beyond the therapeutic effects of looking good, a Look Good Feel Better workshop experience helps women realize they are not alone on their journey.

Here's what some of our LGFB Alumni have to say about their workshop experiences.

Visit to learn more.

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2. is designed to be a companion program to Look Good Feel Better. is an online community where women with cancer and their supporters can gather to talk about the many things they experience on their cancer journey, such as changes to their bodies, the challenges of meeting family responsibilities throughout treatment, financial concerns or strategies to help a loved one who has been diagnosed — very simply, it's a place for women and those who love and support them, to discuss 'everything else' they're going through with cancer. We've learned that it's crucial for those facing the cancer journey to be able to share, confide and connect, and this new site provides an avenue to make those connections. It's an important first step in ensuring that no woman has to face cancer alone.

Meet our bloggers and join the conversation at – where everyone gathers to talk about what's on their mind.

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Accessible Customer Service Feedback

The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association is committed to providing high quality service and will strive to meet the needs of all its valued members, members of the public and other third parties.  We welcome your comments to help us monitor and improve our services and your experiences.  To share your comments, please take the time to complete and submit this Customer Service Accessibility Comment Form