The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has adopted eleven new standards allowing Kenyan cosmetic products to access regional markets.

Some of the products covered in the standards include aftershave, baby oils, body oils, deodorants and antiperspirants, glycerine, hair spray, lip balm (lip salve), lip shine (lip gloss), lipstick and shea butter.

“The new standards will facilitate trade in cosmetic products produced within Partner States in the East African Community by use of harmonized standards. They will also ensure the quality, fitness for use and safety of the cosmetics to the consumers by controlling specific crucial parameters such as raw material requirements, and limits for heavy metal and microbiological contaminants,” says Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“Cosmetic products will also be produced, prepared and handled in accordance with international Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) set for the Cosmetics industry, thus further assuring consumers of the quality and safety of the product,” Njiraini adds.

It is expected that the standards will be used by stakeholders in the cosmetics industry including manufacturers, importers, traders, testing bodies, research bodies, institutions of higher learning and regulatory bodies. Moreover, they will boost local businesses and the government agenda of increasing manufacturing of local products for economic growth.

Quality requirements for some of the products include the following:

  1. Hair sprays, air freshener aerosols, deodorants, and antiperspirants: Tests include delivery rate, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), net weight delivery, spray test, valve leakage, stability of smell, non-volatile matter. The standard also has requirements for propellants, flame propagation characteristics, and warnings on the labels, thus addressing the safety of the product. It also has a requirement for pH neat, for consumer safety.
  2. Aftershave: This standard cover aftershave in the form of lotions, creams, balms, and gels. It allows for alcohol as well as non-alcohol-based products. It also allows for innovation of formulations, that provides for the option of alcohol-free products. Quality requirements for alcohol-based products include alcohol content, pH (neat), and thermal stability. Parameters for non-alcohol-based products include rancidity, pH (neat), thermal stability, Peroxide value, and antimicrobial efficacy test.
  3. Lipstick, Lip balm (Lip salve), and Lip shine (lip gloss): Due to the likelihood of ingesting the products, the standards contains microbiological limits to ensure that the products are safe for use by the consumer. Heavy metal contaminants such as lead, mercury and arsenic are also tested. In addition, quality requirements include Peroxide value, rancidity, and stability tests to ensure that the product is stable and safe. The softening character of lipstick is well taken care of by the test on softening point and melting point.
  4. Shea Butter: The Standard will ensure the quality, fitness for use and safety of the products to the consumers by controlling specific crucial parameters such as raw material requirements, and limits for heavy metal and microbiological contaminants. Quality requirements for the product include moisture content, free fatty acid, peroxide value, insoluble impurities, unsaponifiable matter, saponification value, acid value, iodine value and melting point.

Standards for cosmetics – developed by KEBS/TC 163, Cosmetics and related products

1. KS EAS 956: 2020 Kenya Standard — Air freshener aerosols — Specification, First Edition
2. KS EAS 957: 2020 Kenya Standard — Aftershave — Specification, First Edition
3. KS EAS 958: 2020 Kenya Standard — Baby oils — Specification, First Edition
4. KS EAS 959: 2020 Kenya Standard — Body oils — Specification, First Edition
5. KS EAS 960: 2020 Kenya Standard — Deodorants and antiperspirants — Specification, First Edition
6. KS EAS 961: 2020 Kenya Standard — Glycerine for cosmetic industry — Specification, First Edition
7. KS EAS 962: 2020 Kenya Standard — Hair spray — Specification, First Edition
8. KS EAS 963: 2020 Kenya Standard — Lip balm (Lip salve) — Specification, First Edition
9. KS EAS 964: 2020 Kenya Standard — Lip shine (gloss) — Specification, First Edition
10. KS EAS 965: 2020 Kenya Standard — Lipstick — Specification, First Edition
11. KS EAS 967-1: 2020 Kenya Standard — Butter for cosmetic use — Specification — Part 1: Shea butter, First Edition