Two cosmetic substances known commonly as ‘Lyral’ and ‘Lilial’ are being phased out of use in cosmetic products due to various regulatory restrictions and prohibitions.

The banned substances

Lyral, otherwise known by its chemical name HICC, was a common fragrance allergen used in cosmetic products before it was named in a list of prohibited substances. As such, Lyral was no longer allowed to be placed on the market from 23 August 2019. However, products containing Lyral which were already present on the market are still allowed to be sold until 23 August 2021.

Lilial, otherwise known by its chemical name butylphenyl methylpropional, is another substance frequently found in cosmetic products. Unlike Lyral, Lilial has undergone a different regulatory process whereby it has been classified as a Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Reprotoxic (CMR) 1B substance. CMR substances are, in any event, prohibited unless they meet certain exemption criteria. It is expected that Lilial will also be placed on the same list of prohibited substances as Lyral and that products containing Lilial will be prohibited from being placed on the market from 1 March 2022.

Has Brexit changed the legislation on Lyral and Lilial?

In short, the answer is no. Whilst future decisions may differ from the EU, the prohibited substance list in which Lyral is named derives from EU legislation that has subsequently been amended and retained to apply to all cosmetic products made available on the market in Great Britain (there is separate legislation for placing cosmetic products on the market in Northern Ireland). Likewise, the EU legislation which impacts Lilial has also been amended and retained so that Lilial is named in the GB mandatory classification and labelling list as a CMR 1B substance.

What do retailers need to do?

There are obligations on distributors (i.e. retailers or wholesalers) when making cosmetic products available on the GB market to act with due care in relation to the applicable requirements. Only compliant products should be made available for sale and therefore where a distributor has a reason to believe a product is not compliant it should not make the product available on the market until it is compliant.

With the 23 August 2021 deadline looming for selling products containing Lyral, retailers should ensure their stock after this date contains Lyral free products. Retailers should also consult their agreed supplier terms to check provisions on product recall and buyback if large batches of Lyral products remain. Likewise, retailers should be communicating with their suppliers to ensure the phase out of products containing Lilial, whilst also keeping an eye out for confirmation of the 1 March 2022 deadline.