5 Cosmetic Labeling Requirements to Keep in Mind

Cosmetic Labeling Requirements

When it comes to planning your cosmetics labels, there are five key points that you need to remember. From the size and placement of your labels to the font you use, the FDA has cracked down on cosmetics companies in recent years and added a variety of new cosmetic labeling requirements in order to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe ingredients. 

1. Ingredient List

The ingredient list is probably one of the most complex parts of your cosmetic label. A full length ingredient list must be visible on one of the information panels of your label in legible font for any consumer to read. In general, your ingredient list will need to be at least 1/16" font and include all ingredients of your product in descending order, starting with active ingredients where relevant. At the end of the ingredient list, any additives for color or flavor must be listed as well. 

2. Font Size

Throughout the remainder of your label, your font size must be at least 1/16" for all applicable warnings and other requirements. In some cases, fonts as small as 1/32" are acceptable where limited space is available. However, it is important that all font is clearly readable and is not crowded by other text or images in the label design. In addition, the color of the font and background must provide adequate contrast to be both prominent and conspicuous.

3. Language

The FDA has very specific cosmetic labeling requirements for language. In certain cases you will be required to include relevant warnings on your products for certain ingredients or claims to be made. The FDA has published verbiage for these warnings which must be followed precisely. Your ingredient list must also make use of common or scientific terms for ingredients which are generally recognizable to the consumer. 

4. Principal Display Panel

 The PDP is the front panel of your label. According to the FDA this will be the portion of your label that is clearly visible to consumers in a retail setting. The PDP must make up the majority of the front of your product and just include several important pieces of information. The brand name and product description must be prominent in your label. The description also needs to use common language for the product that informs the consumer about its intended use. An accurate net weight also needs to be listed on the front panel. This information is typically given in ounces but can also be given in terms of single use applications or similar terms. 

5. Manufacturer Information

The sensitivity of the ingredients used in cosmetics, and the frequent of allergic reactions, cosmetic labeling requirements also provide for a way of contacting the original manufacturer directly. This gives consumers a way to report any signs of contamination or negative side effects, especially for cosmetics that have active drug ingredients or those which have not been tested adequately to make claims about performance. This information is usually placed on the side information panel next to the ingredient list, and includes both name and address of the manufacturer. 


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Cosmetic labeling requirements also contain tons of provisions for other details such as directions for safe use and proper application. However, knowing how and when to use these five basic elements of your label will help ensure for labels are accurate and compliant with FDA rules. Further information about labeling requirements can be found on the FDA website along with a list of customary ingredient names and any necessary warning text.

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