How to Import Perfumes and Cosmetics Into Australia

In this article you will find key information on how to import perfumes and cosmetics into Australia.

The market for cosmetics and beauty products is undoubtedly one of the oldest industries that continue to thrive.


In 2014, the import trade turnover of cosmetics from the U.S. to Australia amounted over US$ 530 million. As the market continue to grow, it could be a good opportunity to get a piece of the market.

Understand the rules of importing

When importing perfumes and cosmetics into Australia. It is crucial to follow Australia’s import guidelines. Under the Industrial Chemicals Act, cosmetic ingredients are regulated by the Department of Health. For products containing animal or plant products, you are required to obtain clearance.


You can also find another helpful guide from the Department of Agriculture on areas you’ll need to consider when you’re importing. You will need to understand these rules and make sure you follow them.

Learn about any restrictions on the types of products you can import

You can find out if your goods fall under Australia’s import restrictions or are allowed to be imported to Australia with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ biosecurity import conditions system. You may be required to obtain approval if your products contain the following:

  • Plant or plant products.
  • Animal or animal products.
  • Biological products.
  • Timber, wood, bamboo or related products.


However, it’s important to check the list as there may be some areas of restriction for the products you’re interested in, and if you’re not sure, contact the Australian Border Force.

Source perfumes and cosmetics you’d like to import

There are a number of marketplaces to source for perfumes and cosmetics. Remember to carry out some market research and get an idea of the goods, price range, brand, quality, and other factors your potential customers may want. Use this insight to help you source for items.


There are various places you can find items to sell, these include:

  • Korean Cosmetic Wholesale — A wholesaler of Korean cosmetics based in Seoul, Korea.
  • Alibaba — A huge online marketplace that provides millions of different types of items, mainly available from China.
  • Amazon — Look through the various marketplaces to find suppliers of perfumes and cosmetics and approach them directly.
  • Ebay — Some manufacturers and distributors will list items on the popular auction website.

Hints and tips on choosing the right perfumes and cosmetics

  • Always source items based on what you know about your prospective customers. Base your decisions on your data and research.
  • Read reviews on the quality and customer service others have received from your prospective suppliers. Research them as much as you can before placing an order.
  • Always request a sample of any items you’re interested in. When you receive it, check the quality and workmanship. You might want to look into the authenticity of the products.
  • Ask the supplier about their terms for payment, how long it will take them to send the product to you, what protections and guarantees you have, and what their policies are on returns. If you are satisfied and you’ve finished your due diligence, sign a contract with them.

Make sure your perfumes and cosmetics are labelled accurately

Imported goods must be properly labelled. This includes the country of manufacture and origin, a true description of the goods, a sender’s address, and a recipient’s address. The labels should be in English, attached to the goods in a prominent position and be clear and easy to read. You can find full details of labelling requirements here.

Understand costs to import perfumes and cosmetics

Now you know the products you want to buy, you’ll need to understand the total cost to your business.


This includes the following:

  • The cost of buying the cosmetics and perfumes in the first place (the wholesale costs).
  • The costs of shipping the cosmetics and perfumes from its place of manufacture to Australia (logistics and distribution costs).
  • The tariffs and duties you’ll need to pay when importing into Australia.


You will almost certainly have to pay some taxes and tariffs on your imported goods. Spend some time learning about:


If your goods are valued at over $1,000 AUD, you will almost certainly have to pay import duty and GST on them.

  • Import entry costs and processing charges – Customs will charge you a fee (typically under $200 AUD) for processing your goods.
  • Customs import duty is calculated as a percentage of the price you paid for the goods. The duty rate can range from 0% to 10%, but the rate for most goods is 5%.
  • Goods and services sales tax (GST) will also be charged based on the following:
  1. The valuation of the goods plus;
  2. The customs import duty amount plus;
  3. The cost of insuring the goods and transporting them to Australia.
  4. GST is charged at 10% of the final amount.


This is just intended as a general guide – These charges can be influenced by what you’re bringing in, excise taxes, free trade agreements, and many other factors. Please check with customs for your individual circumstances.


Some types of goods are eligible for concessions (reducing the amount of duty you need to pay). You can find a factsheet about the Tariff Concession System here.

Figuring out your costs

Crunch some numbers before taking the plunge. Make sure you work out how much you are purchasing each perfume or cosmetic at cost price.


Then, include your price per item (buying or manufacturing), transport and logistics, exchange rates, operational costs, insurance, salaries of people you need to pay, duties, tariffs, tax, and everything else that goes into running a business. Use all of these costs to help you set your selling price.

Paying for your goods in foreign currency

Importing is usually done in US dollars or Chinese Yuan.

Consider using OFX.

They specialise in international payments and receipts for Australian businesses. Each client has a personal manager and access to a range of useful products like Forward Exchange Contracts, Options, Limit Orders and Currency Options.

OFX is a trusted partner of The Currency Shop. Click on this link , sign up and never pay a transfer fee for your international money transfers. Ever.

OFX charges no transaction fees. Minimum transfer A$250. Third party intermediary fees may still apply.

Learn more about OFX

What about receiving money in foreign currency?

Until recently, Australian businesses had 3 options to receive money from overseas customers:


  1. Get paid into a local Australian based, Australian dollar account.
  2. Open a Foreign Currency Account, usually with a bank
  3. Use a payment gateway like PayPal, Braintree or Stripe


Unfortunately, these options are usually filled with fees, balance requirements or massive exchange rate mark-ups.

In October 2017, TransferWise released the Borderless account in Australia and it’s really impressive. It allows you to receive, hold and transfer 27 different currencies.


A unique feature that is particularly useful for businesses, is the ability to have local bank account details in USD, EUR, GBP or AUD. This makes receiving money from overseas customers exceptionally easy.


For the full review of the TransferWise Borderless Account, click here

Learn more about the Borderless Account

Sell your perfumes and cosmetics and reap the profits

Once your shipment arrives, it’s time to put your perfumes and cosmetics up for sale in your ecommerce store, brick and mortar shop, or through an online marketplace. Good luck!