Legal Question in Consumer Law in California

Selling home made cosmetics

I am a nurse massage therapist. I make my own massge lotion to use on my clients. I have chosen the ingredients based on the properties of the ingredients. For example an anti-inflamatory property. It seems that my clients are experienceing pain relief for a few hours to days after the use of the lotion. There are NO medications or drugs involved. Everything I use in my lotions is legal and safe. I am now having clients wanting to buy the lotion from me. Is it illegal for me to sell this lotion? Do I have to jump through the FDA hoops to be able to sell this to my clients like big manufacturers do regarding labelling and all that?

Asked on 3/16/06, 12:10 am

3 Answers from Attorneys


Re: Selling home made cosmetics

You may have a gold mine there. Call me directly at 6192223504.

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Answered on 3/16/06, 2:03 pm

Carl Starrett Law Offices of Carl H. Starrett II

Re: Selling home made cosmetics

The answer to your question really depends what the ingredients are. Your opinion that no medications or drugs are involved is irrelevant. Your list of ingredients may or may not contain a regulated substance and the character of the ingredients will usually determine if it is regulated. Your statement that the lotion has an anti-inflammatory property is a red flag to me.

Did you know that the FDA regulates anti-perspirants but not deodorants? Anti-perspirants contain a chemical that alters a natural bodily function but deodordants are just perfumes. Therefore, knowing all the ingredients is of the utmost importance for an attorney to properly advise you in this matter.

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Answered on 3/16/06, 12:48 am
Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Re: Selling home made cosmetics

The FDA regulations are designed to protect big business from competition (you would be required to spend hundreds of thousands of $$ to prove your compound is absolutely safe) and yes, you could run afoul of them no matter how safe the ingredients you are using. My best guess is you will be able to stay under their radar, at least for a while, unless you are importing or exporting the stuff through customs. Probably nothing bad would happen to you except you might get a notice to cease and desist and, who knows, you might be profitable enough by then to afford good legal and/or scientific help. Google for the "GRAS List" (ingredients that are Generally Recognized As Safe). Of course, FDA will claim that even your GRAS ingredients, mixed together, might be unsafe and the compound would still need to go through all the testing and approval hoops. You might want to contact a patent lawyer about whether or not your concoction might be patentable (in which case some big corporation might offer to buy the patent from you).

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Answered on 3/16/06, 12:56 am

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