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Cosmetics Registration in Vietnam: Process and Safety Regulations of the Vietnamese Cosmetics Market

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Published On: 10 July 2024   Updated On: 10 July 2024
Cosmetics Registration in Vietnam: Process and Safety Regulations of the Vietnamese Cosmetics Market

In 2021, Vietnam’s cosmetic industry reached an impressive milestone, with an estimated value of US$2,011 million, reflecting significant growth. This expansion has been fueled by the country’s strategic initiatives to lower import taxes on cosmetics to between 0-5%, facilitated through various free trade agreements. The flourishing sector offers substantial opportunities for foreign investors, particularly in high-demand segments such as perfumes, makeup, hair products, and essential oils. Highlighting the sector’s promising potential, over 90% of the 400 cosmetic companies registered in Vietnam are foreign-owned, with notable contributions from South Korea (30%), Europe (23%), and Japan (17%).

As the market grows, understanding the process and safety regulations for cosmetic registration in Vietnam is crucial for businesses aiming to tap into this vibrant sector. This blog will guide you through the necessary steps and regulatory requirements to ensure compliance and successful market entry.

Need help with Cosmetic Registration in Vietnam? Check out InCorp Vietnam’s Product Registration Services now!

Overview of the Vietnam Cosmetics Market

Vietnam’s cosmetic market is poised for substantial growth, driven by a robust annual GDP growth rate exceeding 7% and a projected middle-class population of 120 million by 2025. Currently, foreign brands dominate the Vietnamese cosmetic market, with 400 foreign-owned businesses accounting for 90% of the market share. Korean brands lead this segment with a 30% share, followed by European (23%), Japanese (17%), Thai (13%), and American (10%) brands.

Local consumers have a strong preference for Korean cosmetics due to their affordability, high quality, and the youthful image they portray through advertisements. Although domestic cosmetic brands primarily export their products to other Asian countries, a few local brands like Lan Hao (Thorakao), Twinskin, and JSC Sao Thai Street have gained significant popularity within Vietnam. The limited market share of local brands is mainly due to financial constraints that hinder their marketing, research, development, and advertising efforts. Despite the comparable quality of local products, these brands struggle with branding and market penetration.

The reduction of import taxes on cosmetics through various trade agreements has further increased the attractiveness of Vietnam’s cosmetic market for foreign investors. These agreements aim to elevate investment opportunities by reducing tariffs on imported cosmetics by up to 5%.

Regulatory Authorities for Cosmetic Registration in Vietnam

In Vietnam, cosmetics are categorized as substances or preparations designed for external application on the human body, such as on the skin, hair, nails, lips, or the mucous membranes of the mouth and teeth. Their main functions include cleansing, perfuming, altering appearance, and adjusting body odor. The Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV), which operates under the Ministry of Health (MOH), is responsible for overseeing the registration process of imported cosmetics. This oversight ensures that all products adhere to established safety regulations and certification standards. Importers and exporters must obtain the necessary local certificates before they are allowed to trade their products in the market.

Cosmetic Registration Process in Vietnam

To register a cosmetic product in Vietnam, the following documents must be included in the application :

  • Proclamation report of cosmetics
  • Company registration certificate
  • Power of attorney from the product owner
  • Free sales certificate

Additionally, a product registration file must contain four key components:

  • Product descriptions and administrative documents summary
  • Product quality details
  • Material quality information
  • Safety and efficiency evaluations

Cosmetics Safety

Manufacturers and product owners are required to ensure the safety of their cosmetic products in line with the safety guidelines and standards set by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Annex 06-MP specifies limitations on heavy metals and microbial content, while the ASEAN Cosmetic Treaty provides additional safety criteria. These rigorous regulations are designed to prevent health risks, given that cosmetics are applied directly to the human body. Consequently, all cosmetics, whether produced domestically or imported, must complete a proclamation procedure before they can be marketed in Vietnam.

Cosmetics Number

All cosmetic products intended for sale in Vietnam must obtain registration documents from the DAV. After the application is approved and the registration fee is paid, applicants receive a registration number within three working days. This registration is valid for five years and can be renewed prior to expiration, subject to an applicable fee.

Cosmetics Labeling

According to the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, each cosmetic product sold in Vietnam must include the following information on its packaging label:

  • Product name and function (if not obvious)
  • Usage instructions
  • Full list of ingredients, using international nomenclature
  • Country of origin
  • Weight and volume in appropriate measurement units
  • Name and address of the distributing entity, in Vietnamese
  • Manufacturing lot number
  • Date of manufacture or expiry in DD/MM/YYYY or MM/YYYY format, with additional stability instructions if necessary
  • Expiry date for products with a shelf life of fewer than 30 months
  • Safety warnings (if required)

All labels must be clearly printed and easily visible to consumers, without being obstructed or detached from the product packaging.

Cosmetics Claims

In Vietnam, it is essential that every cosmetic product, whether manufactured locally or imported, has substantiated claims before it can be marketed. Claims must be supported by evidence and reports, especially for medicinal or therapeutic benefits, which require individual assessment by national authorities.

Prohibited claims include:

  • Elimination of scars and reversing aging (for skin products)
  • Reversal of hair loss and permanent dandruff removal (for hair products)
  • Prevention of sweating (for deodorants)

Cosmetics Advertising

Cosmetic advertisements in Vietnam, whether on radio, television, the internet, newspapers, magazines, posters, or events, must comply with Vietnamese law and be approved before public dissemination. The content must be accurate, non-misleading, and reflective of the product’s effectiveness, safety, and quality per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

To obtain approval for cosmetic advertising, the following documents are required:

  • Completed advertisement application
  • Copy of the cosmetic product registration with the owner’s or organization’s seal
  • Copy of the enterprise registration certificate with the seal
  • Authorization letter from the product owner for the advertisement registrant
  • Advertisement scenarios detailing music, pictures, and content
  • Substantive materials if the advertised properties and utilities differ from those in the product proclamation report

Timeframe and Fees

The state charge for cosmetic product registration in Vietnam is VND 500,000 (approximately US$20) per item, with each product requiring separate registration. The registration process takes 15-30 working days from the application submission date, and the registration is valid for five years.

Some Notes for Cosmetics Registration in Vietnam

When there are changes to the content notified, organizations or individuals must re-notify the Drug Administration of Vietnam and pay the requisite fees. Specific changes and their notification requirements are as follows:

Change TypeNotification Requirement
Label changeNew notification
Company change due to distribution right shiftNew notification
Product type changeNew notification
Intended use changeNew notification
Product name changeNew notification
Ingredient list changeNew notification
Manufacturer/assembler change (name/address)New notification
Packaging format changeSupplementation
Company name/address change without distribution right shiftSupplementation
Change in representative person of the companySupplementation
Change in packing size/material/product labelSupplementation (if info missing in Notification template)

A notification template for a cosmetic product is valid for three years. Re-notification must be done at least one month before the expiration of the notification template, along with the payment of a prescribed fee.

Organizations or individuals responsible for marketing the products must ensure that their products are safe for human use under normal or specified conditions. Manufacturers must assess the safety of each cosmetic product following ASEAN guidelines.

Register Your Cosmetics in Vietnam with Assistance from InCorp Vietnam

InCorp Vietnam has a track record of successfully assisting numerous clients in entering the Indonesian market through a comprehensive range of business solutions. Expanding its services to Vietnam, InCorp Vietnam is equipped with a team of legal specialists and professional consultants ready to help you navigate the cosmetic product registration process. Additionally, we offer support for clients aiming to establish a cosmetic business in Vietnam, from company formation to compliance and market entry strategies. Partner with us to leverage our expertise and ensure your success in the thriving Vietnamese cosmetics market.

By understanding and adhering to these detailed processes and regulations, foreign investors and cosmetic companies can efficiently and safely enter the burgeoning Vietnamese market, tapping into its significant potential and growing consumer base.

About Us

InCorp Vietnam is a leading market entry and corporate services firm in Vietnam. We are part of InCorp Group, a regional leader in corporate solutions that encompasses 8 countries in Asia-Pacific, headquartered in Singapore. With over 1,200 legal experts serving over 15,000 Corporate Clients across the region, our expertise speaks for itself. We provide transparent legal consulting, setup, and advice based on local requirements to make your business fit into the market perfectly with healthy growth.

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