California Safe Cosmetics Program

At a Glance

California’s Safe Cosmetics Program requires companies to report any beauty or personal care product sold in California containing carcinogens or reproductive toxicants.

BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics teamed up with Black Women for Wellness on a 2019 campaign to secure additional funding and staffing for this right-to-know program.


California’s Safe Cosmetic Program (SCP) runs a public database that reported a whopping 65,500 cosmetics products containing 88 unique Prop 65 carcinogens and reproductive toxicants sold in California as of November 2017.

Sponsored by BCPP, the 2005 California Safe Cosmetics Act created the SCP to shine a light on the presence of toxic chemicals in beauty and personal care products. This law requires companies to report any cosmetic or personal care product sold in California that contains chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. It includes chemicals found on California’s Proposition 65 list and any of the scientific lists that inform Prop 65. The law also empowers California agencies to investigate the safety of cosmetic and personal care product ingredients.

In 2010, California Attorney General Kamala Harris used this authority to sue the company making the Brazilian Blow-out hair straightener for marketing a product as “formaldehyde-free” that was found to contain 10% formaldehyde by weight.

Fund the Safe Cosmetics Program

In 2019, BCPP and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics partnered with Black Women for Wellness on an advocacy effort to secure additional funding and staffing for the California Safe Cosmetics Program. The Program has been gradually starved of the resources it needs to do its job.

BCPP and BWW successfully convinced the California legislature to approve $1.5 million in additional funding for the Safe Cosmetics Program (SCP) for fiscal year 2018-19, and an extra $500,000 in funding each year thereafter. However, at the tail end of the lengthy California budget process, Governor Brown rejected the Legislature’s proposed increase for the Safe Cosmetics Program. This important but modest proposal got swept up in Governor Brown’s decision that no new funding requests would be approved.

We are committed to returning to the California legislature – and to the Governor’s office – to ensure the Safe Cosmetics Program finally gets the funding it needs in 2020 to:

  • Initiate product and ingredient safety investigations
  • Raise public awareness to increase use of the Safe Cosmetics Database
  • Translate the database and educational materials into multiple languages
  • Address under-reporting by manufacturers

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