How to write cosmetic claims

More than one year has passed since the entry into force of the Regulation (EU) 655/2013 laying down common criteria for cosmetic claims appearing on packaging and other advertising materials. However, despite the information campaigns and the efforts made by the regulatory authorities to throw some light on this matter, there are still open questions on what claims are allowed on the packaging of cosmetic products.

Cosmetic VS Borderline products

Claims are one of the three main elements together with the function and formula defining a cosmetic product. Based on these elements, different categories have been established to englobe beauty and health products with similar characteristics. There are still some grey zones between cosmetics and medicinal products or other type of products, as it occurs with hygiene, sanitation and biocidal products.

For this reason it is of outmost importance that the claims are written accordingly with the rest of properties of the product and are reliable and clear for the consumers.

Once it has been assessed that a certain product falls under the Cosmetics Regulation, then several strict criteria should be taken to attribute the various effects claimed.

So what to consider when writing claims?

  1. Common criteria

The European Commission has published guidance to set out the minimum requirements that cosmetic claims should meet:

  • Legal compliance: Presumed for all products circulating in the EU
  • Truthfulness: Concerning the presence of certain ingredients or properties in the finished product.
  • Evidential support: All manufacturers should provide proof of effect claimed for their products, taking into account the state of the art at the moment when the product is marketed.
  • Honesty: The effect claimed should not go further than the evidence available.
  • Fairness: Different products shall not be compared to prove the benefits of one of them.
  • Informed decision making: Claims and advertising shall be clear and understandable for the target audience.
  1. Common mistakes

Some claims are widely spread among the cosmetic industry and have been considered as not valid by the Authorities in several occasions.

A review case-by-case is always necessary, but here is a sneak-peek of definitely DON’Ts when claiming characteristics or benefits for your products.

Not tested on animals/Cruelty Free Animal testing is banned in the EU
EU compliant It is mandatory for all products to be compliant
48h protection Only if duly supported by scientific evidence
Safe and soft It is mandatory for all products to be safe
Boost hair growth Cosmetic products are not intended to have a metabolic effect

Advice and responsibility

The aim of the legislation is to guarantee a high level of safety for the final user. This will only be achieved by carefully pre-market compliancy and in-market surveillance to ensure that no misleading statements are made in the packaging or advertising of cosmetic products.

It is the obligation of the Responsible Personto ensure compliance with Art. 20 of EC Regulation 1223/2009 about “Product claims” as well as with the common criteria laid down in EC Regulation 655/2013. The RP is responsible as well for the compilation of the Product Information File, an essential step towards the compliance and marketing of a cosmetic product in the EU.

Are you confident that your claims are authorized in the EU? Would you like to know more about how to justify such claims? Please contact us for in depth information about this and other steps in the EU compliance process. With more than 25 years of expertise, we provide consultancy and regulatory advice to support your activities within the EU Market.

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