Criteria for entry

Products entered for the FreeFrom Skincare Awards must meet the following criteria:


Products must meet our definition of skincare / cosmetic product, namely that of a preparation applied to the skin, hair or body for the purposes of cleaning or fragrancing, or to improve its health, condition or appearance.

More precisely, according to Article 2.1 (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009, a cosmetic product is “… any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or correcting body odours.”


Excluded cosmetics

As our testers are unable to test them during the winter/spring testing period, we cannot accept sun creams / blocks or after-sun products. (Products with incidental SPF, such as lip balms or face creams, are accepted.)

We also cannot accept seasonal products or cosmetic gift sets / multi-packs.

See also ‘Ineligible products’, below.


All products entered must be available for purchase from the UK, Ireland or other EU nation via usual outlets (chemists, health stores, high street shops) or by online order from British, Irish or EU-nation stores or distributors.

Products available exclusively to European consumers via overseas shipping to Europe are not eligible.

Products must be available on the retail market by the closing date of the Awards, 17th March 2019.


Excluded ingredients
Products that include any of the following ingredients are not eligible:

Artificial fragrance
Ethanolamine compounds and salts (eg MEA, TEA, DEA and derivatives)
Formaldehyde and its releasers (eg imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15)
Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)
Microbeads / microspheres (plastic)
Palm oil (or derivatives of) from non-certified sources
Parabens (butyl-, ethyl- or methylparaben)
Para-phenylenediamine (PPD)
Peanut / peanut-derived ingredients
Petroleum (petrolatum) or mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum)
Petroleum-derived non-preservative ingredients, other than those given in ‘Other Ingredients’ below
Phthalates (eg diethyl phthalate)
Sodium lauryl / laureth sulphate (SLS/SLES)
Synthetic silicones and derivatives (eg dimethicone)
Talc, unless pressed
Toluene / toluene-2,5-diamine (TD)

Other Ingredients
The following ingredients are permitted, but credit will be given to brands / products which avoid them:

Ethoxylated ingredients (eg PEGs, ammonium laureth sulphate)
PEGs / glycols (eg butylene glycol)
Palm oil (or derivatives of) from certified sources
Synthetic colours (in make-up / hair dyes only)

We appreciate that preservation is a complex and often controversial area of cosmetic science. Although, with the exception of parabens, triclosan, formaldehydes and isothiazolinones, we allow synthetically derived preservatives (which may or may not be derived from petrochemicals, such as phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin and dehydroacetic acid), products will receive credit for using COSMOS-approved preservation systems (namely benzoic, dehydroacetic, sorbic, salicylic acids and their salts, and benzyl alcohol) and additional credit for using wholly natural preservation systems (eg plant enzymes/acids, essential oils).

Food allergens
Only products that exclude three or more of the following major food allergens will be eligible — cereals containing gluten, milk, sesame, tree nuts, soya and egg. Products containing peanut derivatives are not eligible.

Cosmetics containing nanoparticles must adhere to EU rules on usage and labelling. Find guidance here and here.


Ineligible products
The following may not be entered:

* muscle / pain-relief / sleep aid products applied to the skin;
* insect repellents applied to the skin;
* hairstyling, make-up, cleaning or grooming tools, such as brushes, combs, razors etc;
* any electrical equipment, such as facial saunas / shavers;
* beauty supplements, foods or tonics for oral consumption;
* dry face cloths, sponges, exfoliating mittens, loofahs etc.
* tampons / sanitary towels.