Safer cosmetics are coming to a store near you. Here’s what’s happening and why it matters

Cosmetics are more than makeup. Cosmetics include most self-care products—anything intended to be used on the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, such as shampoo, deodorant, and lotion. 

Some chemicals used in cosmetic products are linked to harmful health impacts, such as cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental toxicity. People can be exposed to these chemicals every time they use those products.
Toxic chemicals in cosmetics can affect people and the environment throughout the product lifecycle. When they are washed down the drain or put in the trash, they enter the environment, which can affect water quality, wildlife health, and cause further human exposure.

In 2023, Washington’s Legislature passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (TFCA) to improve cosmetic product safety and protect Washington’s people and environment from toxic chemicals in cosmetics. Starting January 1, 2025, TFCA will restrict the manufacture, distribution, and sale of cosmetic products that contain certain toxic chemicals within Washington. Under TFCA, we’re developing assistance to help manufacturers and small businesses use safer ingredients, switch to safer products, and get the cosmetics they make certified as safer.

Technical assistance helps manufacturers switch to safer ingredients 

If you make, sell, or use cosmetics for your business, here’s what you can do to start making the switch to safer products and ingredients.

  • Review the law and guidance. Our TFCA website is a great place to start. Our Guide for Cosmetic Manufacturers describes how to comply with TFCA requirements.
  • Request more information or technical assistance. Companies of any size can contact us for technical assistance at
  • Plan for reformulation. If needed, manufacturers should take steps to reformulate products to use safer alternatives. Review the TFCA timeline and identify products that contain chemicals restricted in the law. Ask suppliers if potential replacement ingredients are free of restricted chemicals. Test products for restricted chemicals, if needed.

Subsidies help small manufacturers get safer products certified

Certification labels, like Cradle-to-Cradle, help people buy safer products for themselves and their families. Certifying products can help cosmetics manufacturers increase revenue and brand recognition while reducing need for future reformulation.

Our cosmetics certification subsidy program helps qualifying small cosmetics manufacturers cover the costs of certifying products as safer. Manufacturers who don’t qualify for the cosmetics subsidy can apply for our Safer Products Certification Subsidy Program to potentially receive reimbursement for certification. (Companies may qualify for one program only.)

Product replacement program will support independent cosmetologists and small businesses

We are building a product replacement program to help qualifying independent cosmetologists and small cosmetology businesses in Washington (such as beauty or nail salons) with financial incentives for switching to certified safer products

This program will prioritize funding for small businesses owned by women or cosmetologists of color. Studies have shown that women have higher levels of harmful chemicals found in cosmetics detected in their bodies than men, and Black women have higher levels than white women. In accordance with the HEAL Act, this program will help reduce disproportionate impacts of toxic chemicals on people in overburdened communities, whether they’re cosmetologists or clients, by helping these small businesses with the costs of switching to safer products.  

We’re currently recruiting cosmetologists to participate in a pilot product replacement program. Interested cosmetologists can contact us at

Three ways to get more information

To get more information on the TFCA and what it means for you or your business:

Washington’s Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act reduces human and environmental exposure to toxic chemicals by restricting certain chemicals and supporting businesses in reformulating and certifying products and switching to safer alternatives. For more information and to subscribe to email updates, visit 

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