Ultimate Guide to Cosmetic Labeling Guidelines

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Are you ready to create the next big cosmetic product? While you may have the perfect idea in mind and are ready to get going, one critical aspect that can make or break your product's success is often overlooked: the label. 

Don't make the mistake of neglecting the importance of labeling - it's not only a legal requirement but also plays a crucial role in informing and attracting customers. Knowing legal requirements is tough, so we’re here with this ultimate guide to cosmetic labeling guidelines! Let’s dive into everything you need to know about creating compliant and effective labels that will take your product to the next level!

Cosmetic Labeling Guidelines to Consider

When it comes to cosmetic label guidelines, there are several things that businesses like yours need to keep in mind. Understanding these guidelines can help ensure that your products comply with industry regulations and provide consumers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. 

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the FDA regulates cosmetic products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). Under this act, cosmetics are “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance”. The FDA has specific requirements for cosmetic labeling designed to provide consumers with important information about the product they are using.

While there are many regulations that you must follow to be compliant, such as stating ingredients, product identity, or manufacturer details, there are some other guidelines that are very important to consider when creating your labels. 

Designing your cosmetic label can be one of the most exciting parts of the product creation process. While you may be feeling creative and have a specific vision for your label design, remember that your label’s graphics cannot be misleading. For example, if you are producing a sunscreen product, you may not include wording or pictures that state your product can reverse any sun damage at the biological cell level. 

Additionally, you should ensure all the text is readable when designing your label. This can be tricky, as a lot of information needs to be included on your labels, but ensuring that consumers can read everything about your product is important. Some other guidelines include not using any false claims such as “organic” or “cruelty-free” if your product does not meet those specific guidelines and ensuring that your labels are placed in a location that is easy to read and visible to consumers.

It is also important to note that the FDA does not require your brand name or product name to be displayed on your labels, but if you choose to include a product name, it cannot be named as a listed ingredient.

Not only does following these guidelines help your brand stay compliant, but it helps build trust with consumers, turning them into long-term customers!

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Cosmetic Label Regulations and Requirements

There are specific elements that businesses need to include on their cosmetic labels to ensure compliance with FDA regulations. Let’s review some of the most important ones and how to follow them!

How to Follow These Regulations

Before we jump into the regulations you need to follow, let’s go over how your products can stay up to date. Fully understanding cosmetic label guidelines can be overwhelming, but here are a few things you can do to ensure your brand remains compliant!

First, conduct a label analysis to ensure your product labels meet all regulations. This can help you understand the information you are already including and bring any missing information to your attention. Additionally, working with a regulatory consultant can help navigate complex regulations and ensure your products comply. If you choose not to work with a consultant, stay up-to-date with any updates or changes to regulations by regularly reviewing the FDA website.

What Needs to be Included

Product Identity

A product identity statement is one of the most important parts of cosmetic labeling, as it helps consumers quickly identify the product type they are purchasing. This element typically includes the brand name, product name, and, most importantly, the product category, such as "body wash" or "foundation" Additionally, businesses should ensure that the product identity is clear and conspicuous on the label to prevent any confusion for consumers.


The ingredient list helps consumers understand what is included in the product, which helps them find desired active ingredients and avoid allergens. The ingredient list should be listed in descending order of predominance, meaning the ingredients that comprise the largest percentage of the product should be listed first. To be fully transparent with customers, ensure that you include all ingredients in the product, even those in tiny quantities. 

Net Contents

The net contents statement informs consumers about how much product is in the container. This element is typically displayed in either weight or volume and should be included on the front of the label. Including this information is necessary and can help consumers understand how much product they are paying for.

Directions for Use

These directions guide consumers on properly using the product. This element should be clear and concise, with specific instructions for using the product for the best results possible. These directions help avoid user error and protect your business from lawsuits. Including this is important for all products, especially those using harsher ingredients, such as bleach intended for hair use.

§740.10 Warning Statements

There are specific warnings that brands must include on their labels for certain types of products. Section §740.10 of the FDA regulations mandates that specific warnings be included on products that contain certain ingredients or are intended for certain uses. For example, unsafe products should be placed around the eye area and may cause severe irritation or harm. Be sure to review the FDA regulations to determine if your products require any additional warning statements.

Make Your Label Stand Out

Following these regulations helps you avoid any legal trouble and also helps you build your customer base. Consumers look for trustworthy, reputable, and transparent brands with their products. Adhering to FDA guidelines checks off every item on that list! Now that you have everything you need about cosmetic label guidelines and regulations, it’s time to turn your idea into reality!

Create Your Perfect Formula

How can you apply your newly designed, compliant cosmetic labels? With a labeling machine, of course! Using a labeling machine prevents your newly produced labels from peeling off in transport or the hands of your customers and produces high-quality labels every time! Depending on your brand and product needs, many options may be available. However, it can be overwhelming to pick just one machine, which is why we created our Industry Guide to Labeling Cosmetic Containers! This guide outlines all the information you need to know when looking for your perfect labeling machine.

Get Free Labeling Cosmetic Containers Guide