Cosmetic Regulations – Ohio

Posted in: Soap & Cosmetic Labeling


A woman recently contacted me and told me that a representative of the Ohio Department of Agriculture had told her that cosmetics couldn’t be made “at home” and she’d need to be licensed in order to make or sell cosmetics.

Is that correct? Umm, no, not at all.

The Ohio Small business Development Center has a page about starting a business in Ohio which includes checklists for a whole bunch of different businesses.  One of those is the 1st Stop Checklist for Cosmtic Sales / Manufacturing.  The document is quite short and lists out only a few points under the Requirements and Regulations.

Comply with the Ohio Food, Drug, Cosmetic and Device law

Ohio’s Food, Drug, Cosmetic and Device law can be found in the Ohio Revised Code, Section 3715.  I didn’t read the entire thing, when it comes to cosmetics (which is covered in parts 3715.66, Adulterated Cosmetics, and 3715.67, Misbranded Cosmetics) it looks very similar to the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Essentially, cosmetic products cannot be adulterated or misbranded – and that’s about it.  There isn’t anything about registration, licensing, or inspections for cosmetics.

Comply with Ohio’s labeling rules

Ohio’s labeling rules are found in the Ohio Administrative Code, primarily 901:6-30-01 through 901:6-3-12.  The rules are  almost identical to the Uniform Packaging and labeling Regulations provided by the National Institute of Technology in their handbook.

One thing that is different from the Federal labeling regulations is that there are requirements for labeling NON-CONSUMER products – which includes packages of products intended for wholesale distribution and for institutional use.

Other Ohio Regulations

There are some other Ohio regulations that apply, depending on how you sell the cosmetics.

  • If you sell in-home (door-to-door), you must comply with the Ohio Home Solicatation Sales Act.
  • If you sell via mail, telephone or Internet, you must comply with the Ohio Telephone Solicitation Sales Act.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office can provide information about these Acts (and you can also find information online).  These are somewhat similar to the Federal regulations about phone and in-home sales.

Sales Tax

If you sell product in Ohio, you must have a Vendor’s License, collect sales tax, file tax returns and keep compelte records of transactions.  The Ohio Department of Taxation can help with that (or go to http://www.tax.ohio.gov).

And an odd quirk

In looking through the regulations, I did find one small item in the prohibited acts of the Ohio Food, Drug, Cosmetic, and Device law, about selling products at a flea market (the excerpt below only contains the pertinent sections):

(1) No person at a flea market shall sell, offer for sale, or knowingly permit the sale of any of the following products:

(b) Any drug, cosmetic or device;

(2) [This] does not apply to a person who keeps available for public inspection an identification card identifying the person as an authorized representative of the manufacturer or distributor of any drug, cosmetic or device, as long as the card is not false, fraudulent or fraudulently obtained.1

So apparently you could sell your OWN products (if you have a valid card showing you are an “authorized representative”), or could sell products for a company that you representated (maybe Avon or Mary Kay, for example), but you couldn’t just go to the Dollar Store, buy a bunch of cosmetics and then resell them (since you wouldn’t be an “authorized representative” of the companies that made the products).

But do you need to be registered or licensed to make or sell cosmetics in Ohio? No.

Image Credits: Dreamstime




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9 Comments on “Cosmetic Regulations – Ohio”

  1. Eu Sei

    Incredible, to make soap and sell I have to bow to Big Government. This country is most definitely screwed up.

  2. Jeannie Saum

    Interesting that SBDC has a publication on this as we work under them and they’ve never given this to us. ODA came to our home and shut down our manufacturing of cosmetics in our home, made us destroy products and change labeling. We were told by ODA officials that in Ohio, one could not make cosmetics in the home, or even store them in our home or attached garage, even though FDA says you can. (The shed out back with no heat, AC or electricity would be okay!) Wonder what all the Avon and Mary Kay reps. do?? They could not ever show us where in the Ohio Revised Code is says this (because it doesn’t)! They evidently are free to “interpret” the law any way they want. We are now driving 60 miles one way to make our products in an FDA/ODA certified production space!

    1. Marie Gale

      I checked the regulations again and can find nothing relating to cosmetics. However, it looks like (from your email address) that you may be keeping bees and maybe making honey? Could it be that the food regulations were the ones being implemented, for any food being produced and the cosmetics just got caught in the mix? Also possible is that the cosmetic labeling was incorrect or the manufacturing practices were such that the product could become contiminated (that would be under the ODA jurisdiction).

      In any event, I have sent an email to the authorities in Ohio asking for additional clarification and will post what I find out.

  3. Jeannie Saum

    We were also making dietary supplements with bee propolis, so yes, the cosmetics were caught in the mix and some were mislabelled. But they specifically told us that we could not make cosmetics in home or store them there!! Not sure what Avon and Mary Kay reps are supposed to do! I asked for the ORC number where it says this and they just referenced the whole section on the requirements of the space. But nowhere does it say it can not be your home! The inspectors seem to be able to interpret the laws the way they want! Even the governors Common Sense Initiative would not help us.

    1. Marie Gale

      Oh. Dietary supplements are a different animal altogether. They have considerably stricter regulations under the FDA. For one, the FDA has good manufacturing practices for dietary supplements in the regulations, so there is little wiggle room in the application (unlike cosmetics, for which GMP is presented as guidelines).

      I checked the Ohio law, and it treats dietary supplements with the same regulations as for food (ORC 3715.81). So a separate, non-residence kitchen and storage requirements make sense and specific GMP requirements are very likely (I didn’t look into the food regulations in any detail).

      I still couldn’t find anything in the code that indicates that the same requirements apply to cosmetics, and I never heard anything back from the Ohio agency. However, there is a sort of convoluted logic to what you are being told. Since the regulations DO state that a cosmetic product cannot be adulterated, and the general idea is that good manufacturing practices are what keep a product from being adulterated, and the GMP for food is in the regulations (and applicable to the dietary supplements you are making) … one could extrapolate that the cosmetics are potentially adulterated.

      The FDA works on a somewhat similar basis. If they wind up inspecting a cosmetic manufacturer’s establishment, they inspect based on their Cosmetic GMP Inspection Checklist and/or the more recent Draft Guidance for Cosmetic GMP. While those points are not required by REGULATION to be in place, if they find any of the issues on any points of the inspection checklist, they can require that the issues are fixed on the basis that otherwise the product would/could be adulterated – and it IS is the regulations that they can do something about adulterated products.

      I did notice that the Ohio food regulations have much simpler requirements for small honey producers that have their own hives. I expect that it was moving into more than just honey that led to this unfortunate regulatory red tape snaggle. I hope you are able to resole the issues and continue with your production.

  4. Dulcie Marshall

    Hi, Marie, =)

    Love your page and thanks for all your hard work. I was wondering, I’m looking for this kind of info for NY and FL and can’t seem to find anything. Would you happen to know is you can make ‘cosmetic’ products in your home in NY and Fl. I’d read somewhere in a blog that FL is a no-go. But I can’t find info for NY anywhere. Was hoping you could help me.
    I appreciate anything you could provide. =)
    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Marie Gale

      As far as I know, NY doesn’t have any regulations that restrict the manufacture of cosmetics (registrations, fees, etc). Florida does, but has recently revised the law so that there are fewer fees for cosmetic manufacturers.

    1. Marie Gale

      As far as I can tell, in Ohio you don’t need special permission to MAKE cosmetic products.

      You may need some license to SELL products (any products): If Ohio has sales tax, then you will probably need to get registered with the Ohio tax folks to collect, report and send in sales tax.

      If you are oprating your business under a name different than you own name, then you will probably need to file the ficticious name with the Ohio dept of Corporations (or whatever they call it in Ohio).

      Your local county or city may require that you have a business license to conduct business at all … that varies widely.

      Some things to think about!

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