When importing cosmetics, the most important thing is to determine whether the product may also be considered a drug. If the importer makes any medical claims regarding the product, then it will be considered a drug. If it is a drug, importers likely will have much more difficulty importing the product. If it is only a cosmetic, then importers will have a chance to import the product assuming they meet the labeling guidelines. There are certain items that the United States automatically will determine to be a drug. For example, sunscreen, hair restoration products, skin protectants, pain relief medication, anti-aging creams that involve structure or function of the skin, acne medication are all considered drugs.
The challenge for importers is to determine whether or not a medical claim is made. There are certain cosmetic products that are in a gray area because the claims they make can be interpreted by one FDA officer as medical and by another FDA officer as non-medical. This creates uncertainty.
If the product is only a cosmetic, the product still must meet labeling guidelines as well as follow FDA rules on acceptable ingredients. Please see the following website for more information: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/InternationalActivities/Importers/default.htm#Imports5
Related: Importing Facial Masks