Ana Gabriela Verotti Farah

Ana Gabriela Verotti Farah

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


How to Import and Sell Cosmetics in Brazil

Ana Gabriela Verotti Farah

Ana Gabriela Verotti Farah

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Allied to the beauty market, Brazil is a great consumer of cosmetics and, therefore, one of the most promising markets for companies of the sector.

The Cosmetic Market in Brazil

Brazil is one of the biggest importers and consumers of cosmetics in the world, and one of the countries where this sector is constantly increasing. In 2011, the country surpassed the record number of USD 500 million with the import of make-up, soap, fragrances, creams and shampoos, as a consequence of the increase of the national market and the valorization of the Brazilian Real (BRL).

From January to November of 2011, there were USD 578 million in imports of this sector. This data showed that the expectations were right and that Brazil has surpassed Japan, becoming the second larger cosmetics and toiletry market, only behind the United States.

The numbers of this market in 2012 aren't consolidated yet, but the president of ABIHPEC (acronym for the Brazilian Association of Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Industry), João Carlos Basilio, points out that, for the 17th year in a roll, there is a considerable increase of two digits in the sector's gains.

A theory called “lipstick index” points that this sector is almost immune to crisis. The expression was created in 2001 by Leonard Lauder, executive of the cosmetics company Estée Lauder, to illustrate the idea that lipsticks are products that have their sales increased in times of crisis because of its low prices.

This industry is composed by products which are basic needs, such as toothpaste and soap, and products of adornment, such as make-ups and fragrances. These last ones are considered objects of desire. Once they are offered at low prices, there are more people buying them, and the growth is maintained. And considering that more women are entering the job market, and that their incomes are becoming higher, there is no reason to disbelieve that the sector will keep on growing.

The forecast for Latin America is that the sales of popular cosmetics will have a 29,5% rise until 2016, against 27,7% of premium products, which are more expensive. Both numbers are higher than the worldwide average forecast of 15,7% for popular products and 14,6% for premium. Brazil represents 58% of the consumption of cosmetics in Latin America.

Import: documents required

The Ministry of Health controls the manufacture and the import of all cosmetic products in Brazil, aiming to guarantee the safety and the quality of the products offered, in order to protect people's health.

All the establishments that produce, import or store cosmetics or any product related to toiletry and fragrances, must be registered in ANVISA (the National Health Surveillance Agency) and have a document called Autorização de Funcionamento de Empresa, an authorization for the company to operate.

ANVISA separates the products in two categories. Belonging to “Level 1” are the products which have basic or elementary properties that don't need to be initially tested and don't require detailed information about its usage and its restrictions. Examples that fill up this criteria are soaps, shampoos, beauty creams, body lotions, make-ups, lipsticks and products to be applied as make-up in the eyes (with no sun protection).

To “Level 2” belong products whose safety and efficiency must be tested. Their information and usage restrictions are required as well. All the products destined to kids belong to this category, as well as anti-dandruff shampoos, anticaries and antiplaque toothpastes, intimate deodorants, UV filters, among others.

Imported cosmetics must have the same authorization that cosmetics manufactured in Brazil have:

  • Original document and copy of the Formulário de Petição de Autorização (Authorization Petition Form)
  • Guia de Recolhimento (Collection Form) from ANVISA/HM (Health Ministry)
  • Declaration to the Anivsa/HM, registered at the Cartório de Títulos e Documentos, or authenticated copy pleading to have discount in the collection of the Taxa de Fiscalização de Vigilância Sanitária (Health Surveillance Fiscal Tax), if necessary
  • Letter of attorney of legal representative, if necessary
  • Copy of the Contrato Social (Social Contract) registered in the Junta Comercial, with a description of what was requested
  • Copy of the General Taxpayers' Register (CGC) or Corporate Taxpayers Registry Number (CNPJ)
  • A declaration of commitment of the technicians, issued by the Conselho Regional de Classe (Regional Council of Category), nominating the name of the technical responsible
  • Technical report of the equipments – and their specifications – owned by the company for the activities pleaded
  • Ficha de Autógrafos (Signatures Sheet) of the legal representative and the technical responsible, in tow copies
  • A technical report with the quality description of the control equipments
  • A two-copy report of the installations that the company owns
  • A short list describing the products' features
  • A document providing the complete address of all the branches, warehouses and representatives of the company.

Besides these documents, import companies also must present:

  • A certificate of free sale (known as CVL) or a certificate of free commercialization, issued by the country of origin
  • The original formula of the product
  • A declaration, issued by the exporter, that the establishment meets the requirements of the Verificação do Cumprimento das Boas Práticas de Fabricação e Controle dos Estabelecimentos das Indústrias de Higiene, Cosméticos e Perfumes document (a document testifying the good manufacturing practices and control of the toiletries, comestics and fragances industrial establishments).

The importing company is also required to present an Inspection Report (Relatório de Inspeção) with a conclusive technical opinion issued by the local Health Surveillance (VISA) subsidizing ANVISA/HM or not with the concession of the Autorização de Funcionamento (authorization to operate).


For those who are coming back to Brazil after a trip abroad, the number of cosmetics and products like shampoo and creams that one can bring is not predetermined. However, it's advisable to bring up to ten products of the same kind to avoid being charged. It's also possible to buy these products via websites; there are several options for the individual purchase.