Uniform labelling on cosmetics packaging

What do I use as skincare?

A precise indication of product-relevant details also proves important for buyers in the cosmetics segment. Allergenic ingredients can be identified as quickly as prices, and quantities can be compared. When there is a lack of space it is sufficient to print a book symbol indicating that all relevant details can be found elsewhere.
Cosmetics must be labelled so as to allow consumers suffering from allergies to check cosmetics for potentially allergenic ingredients.  © Robert Kneschke / fotolia.com

Cosmetics must be labelled so as to allow consumers suffering from allergies to check cosmetics for potentially allergenic ingredients.
© Robert Kneschke / fotolia.com

Trend towards US-European consistency

In Germany declaration is governed by European cosmetics law which requires principal ingredients and additives such as

  • Allergen labelling as well as
  • Other product-specific data, but also
  • Shelf life Filling volume and basic price
  • Manufacturer’s data
  • Identification number and
  • Warning advice

to be highlighted clearly for the protection of users.

In the European Union cosmetic ingredients have been listed in accordance with the INCI System (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) since 1997.  © Beiersdorf

In the European Union cosmetic ingredients have been listed in accordance with the INCI System (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) since 1997. © Beiersdorf

In the US the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic as well as Fair Packaging and Labeling Acts require relevant indications to feature on boxes, cartons and containers. Nevertheless, the aim is to further harmonise with the European INCI system (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) especially in view of the TTIP free trade agreement. After all, the legal provisions are not the same when it comes to details: in the EU cosmetic products are governed by a different legal definition and safety standards are particularly high – and the existing nomenclatures continue to be different. Example: Water / Aqua.
Pursuant to the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients in the EU 26 potentially allergenic odorants are listed for perfumes.   © Messe Düsseldorf

Pursuant to the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients in the EU 26 potentially allergenic odorants are listed for perfumes. © Messe Düsseldorf

 © Beiersdorf

In the US cosmetic products are currently listed in a nomenclature pursuant to the CFTA (Chemistry, Toiletry and Fragrance Association) now called the Personal Care Products Council. The trend, however, is towards a globally uniform INCI nomenclature. © Beiersdorf

Tags and package inserts

By the same token – when there is a lack of space – the mandatory information required by the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients can instead be printed on tags, labels, hang-tags or even package inserts. But be it a body lotion, eyeliner or hair colorant: skincare products are usually composed of numerous substances which is why further indications are statutory though not always feasible even when opting for the smallest font size. In these cases the book symbol may be printed on the packaging telling consumers they will not find the information for these goods directly on, in or around the packaging.
 © Messe Düsseldorf

If the space is not sufficient for indicating all necessary data on cosmetic products a book symbol can feature on the packaging indicating that all relevant details can be found elsewhere. © Messe Düsseldorf

Book symbol for miniature packaging

It is up to the producer to decide exactly how and where product details are declared. These do not have to feature on the product itself. In addition to the hand pointing to an open book there are other symbols for labelling cosmetics. An open cream pot with a number states the PAO (period after opening) for ingredients with a long shelf life, an hourglass with a date refers to the expiry date. An “e” symbol stands for the guaranteed volume. No rules without exceptions: this mandatory labelling does not apply to packaging units under 5 grams or 5 ml or to complimentary samples.
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