What Is the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist?

The Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist is a list of ingredients that are banned or limited in cosmetics in Canada. Health Canada maintains the Hotlist to make it easier for cosmetic manufacturers to know the rules and make safe cosmetics for you to use.

The Hotlist is a science-based document that is reviewed and updated a few times per year as new scientific data becomes available.

While the list was created for manufacturers, it can also be useful if you want to know what is and isn't allowed to go into your cosmetics (and under what conditions).

The Hotlist makes sure that:

  • Ingredients that don't have a cosmetic purpose are not used in a cosmetic product. For example, fluoride in oral care products has no cosmetic purpose (to cleanse, improve or change the appearance of the body). Its purpose is to prevent dental cavities, which is therapeutic in nature. So it is classified as a drug (in this case, a natural health product), and is not allowed in cosmetic oral care products.
  • No one can sell a cosmetic product that has any ingredient that can injure you when you use the product normally and according to the directions.
  • Cosmetic products that present an avoidable hazard must include directions for safe use on their label (telling you what to do to avoid the danger). Caution statements and directions for safe use must appear in both English and French.

For more detailed information on how to use the Hotlist, and how Health Canada works with the Hotlist, please see the introduction page.

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