How to Label Lipstick Packaging & Other Cosmetics

How to Label Lipstick Packaging & Other Cosmetics

Tiny tubes are tough to get labels on unless you have the right equipment.

Your lipstick packaging labels have some heavy lifting to do. They must conform to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, be compelling and appealing to attract customers, convey the information the customer needs and wants to know, mesh with your branding and marketing, and not wear out or fall off easily. You, the cosmetics manufacturer, must address all of these challenges by learning the FDA’s rules, hiring top-level graphic designers, understanding your customer base and tailoring the label’s text around them, and ensuring that hardy, durable labels are properly applied. Let’s look at these challenges in a little more detail.

FDA Rules

Ensuring the legality of your labels is as (or more) important than any other aspect of your labels. The FDA can and does go after cosmetics companies and levy fines and other punishments. Businesses whose labels are noncompliant, whether because of information being inaccurate, missing, or even just because it’s unreadable, can’t get away with it for long. 

And that’s no joke regarding the FDA’s requirement that the font is legible, their guidelines state that fonts must be larger than 1/16” as determined by the size of a lowercase “o”. If your lipstick packaging is smaller than 12 square inches, you may use a font that’s 1/32”. 

Here are the necessary items your lipstick packaging must have:

1. Principal Display Panel

On the front of your package must be the principal display panel (PDP), which features the statement of identity and the net weight. The statement of identity is the name of the product, and the type of product (lipstick, skin lotion, etc.). If you mention one ingredient in the statement of identity, you have to mention all of them. This can be cumbersome if you are using many ingredients, and can result in a product named, “Aloe Cucumber Lemon Coconut Lavender Vanilla Bean Body Wash.” Just calling it “Body Wash” is sufficient.

The net weight belongs in the bottom 30% of the panel and must remain isolated to stand out. Your product’s net weight should be given in ounces. 

2. Information Panel

This panel contains the ingredients list, the manufacturer’s address, and any warnings regarding allergies, the amount of product that should be used, where the product should be used, storage, and other concerns consumers need to be aware of. Let’s break down the information panel a bit more.

Ingredients List: List your product’s ingredients from heaviest to lightest rather than by amount. If there’s a common name for the ingredient, use that. The point of the ingredients list is to inform customers, not confuse them! If there are any active ingredients or drugs in your cosmetics, they must be first on the list and state the amount.

Manufacturer’s Information: List your name and business address. If you have a co-packer or distributor, list their information as well. 

Warning Statements: Any drug interactions, dangers, or usage issues should go here. If, say, your product cannot remain on the skin for longer than 6 hours, shouldn’t come into contact with sensitive body parts, if the product contains aerosols, or if it has substances that are flammable for instance, that information must be present and in bold typeface on a contrasting color background.

How to Label Lipstick Packaging & Other Cosmetics

Great Design

Once you have your required information in place, you can start to focus on your design. The name of your product, your brand, your logo, everything must work together in harmony to create an expected experience for the customer while simultaneously standing out among similar products on store shelves. Lipstick packaging is more than just a conveyance for the lipstick, it’s part of the customer experience.

As you’re designing (or working with your graphic designer), you will need to keep your ideal customer profile (ICP) in mind for your decisions. Are your customers young and energetic? Bright, bold colors with exciting fonts should be your go-to. Are you aiming for a high-class, wealthy, elegant demographic? Spare, modern design with tall, graceful fonts are for you. Whatever your customer base is, cater to them and give them the products and design language that speaks to their sensibilities.

The design of your labels also need to take into account the kind of labels you’re using. Typically, lipstick tubes use wrap around labels because they’re fast to apply and make the best use of the surface area. Your labels can be opaque or clear depending on your design and branding and are usually made out of propylene (BOPP) for durability and moisture resistance.

Communicating with the Customer

The wording on your lipstick packaging must do more than satisfy regulations, it needs to speak to the customer about their concerns. Not every customer will care about sustainable packaging, but if your key demographic considers environmental impact when making purchases, then you’ll have to use sustainable/recyclable/recycled/upcycled packaging and be sure to include that fact on the label.


In the space you have, the words you use need to tell a story. Not necessarily the way that winemakers do, they have more room to play with than you do with your lipstick packaging. But with a few words, you can convey that you “get” your customers and their desires. It may just be catchphrases or taglines that can fit, but lines like, “for the discerning and understated,” “sourced from exotic locations,” or “be bold and get noticed tonight” give a little insight into the nature of the company and the experience of using the product.

Labeling Your Lipstick Packaging

Here’s where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Placing labels on lipstick packaging or tubes is difficult given the size restriction. Plus, not every lipstick tube is designed to stand up on its own, further complicating the matter of running them on conveyor belts through most labeling equipment. What do you do to ensure your lipstick gets labeled properly?

Use the Pack Leader USA PL-521 horizontal wrap around labeling machine! The entire labeler is canted at an angle so that tubes sit perfectly as they pass through, regardless of whether they’re freestanding or not. It can handle tubes anywhere from 0.3” in diameter all the way up to 1” and has two guides that get tubes in the right position for the labeling process. The PL-521 can perfectly, evenly, and consistently label 40 tubes every minute, which is far faster than any human can manage. Also, the PL-521 will slot easily into an existing packaging line and can run semi-automatically or fully automatically for hands-off labeling.


Find Out if the PL-521 Is Right For You

Pack Leader USA works with cosmetics companies around the world, and we provide more than just labeling equipment, we provide a labeling partnership. We’re invested in your labeling machines running smoothly today, tomorrow, and as long as you’re planning on making new products! To find out if Pack Leader USA machines are right for you, schedule a free labeling equipment consultation and we’ll give you a thorough tour of our machines!