Labelling Review

The label of a cosmetic product is required to follow certain labelling rules and language requirements.

Cosmetics Labelling Rules in the EU

*This label example is only for general information and cannot be applied automatically to any product. Only once the EU compliance process has been almost completed (including the safety tests, safety assessment) will a product’s label be verified, and the requirements applied in reference to the specifics of the product.

The labelling (including: container, outer packaging and inserts) of a cosmetic product must reflect the Product Information File of that product. As such, the labelling can only be created after the product information file was compiled and reviewed by the Responsible Person. The final artwork of a cosmetic product labelling, must contain the following information:

  1. Full Commercial Name – Brand name + Commercial name + Function
  2. Product function (must be translated) – Product Function is not required when the product presentation clearly shows the function (e.g., lipstick, nail polish).
  3. Particular precautions for use (must be translated) – When impossible, for practical reasons, to have the precautions for use appear on the product container and outer packaging, then this information may be listed in an insert / leaflet only. In this case the “open book symbol” shall appear on the container or the outer packaging of the product.
  4. Ingredients list – Ingredients list should perfectly match those mentioned in the safety assessment, in descending order with each ingredient’s INCI denomination, including allergen and Color Index numbers (CI). The list of ingredients must be precedent by the word “Ingredients:”. Some EU authorities (e.g., Hungary) request to have the word “Ingredients” translated in their national language(s). When impossible, for practical reasons to have the list of ingredients appear on the product container and outer packaging, then this information may be listed in an insert / leaflet only. In this case the “open book symbol” shall appear only on the outer packaging of the product.
  5. Expiry date – Date of minimum durability and /or PAO. When product validity/durability is less than 30 months the date of minimum durability shall be used as follows:+ expiry date (dd/mm/yyyy). When product validity/durability is more than 30 months the period of time after opening symbol shall be used as follows :+ x M (e.g., for a product for which PAO is 18 months: + 18 M).
  6. Responsible person name and address
  7. Manufacturer Name and Address – recommended
  8. Batch number – When impossible, for practical reasons, to make it appear on the product container, it may appear only on the outer packaging
  9. Product’s country of origin – “Made in … “ only if manufactured outside the European Union.
  10. Nominal quantities – The nominal content at the time of packaging, given by weight or by volume, except for packaging containing less than 5 grams or 5 milliliters, free samples and single‐application packs.

EU Language Requirements

The label of a cosmetic product (container & outer packaging) should follow the language requirements which are exerted by the National Laws of the EU member states.

The outcome of a correct compliance strategy would require only the product function and precautions for use to be translated to the official language(s) of the EU state it is to be sold in.

The table below provides an overview of the official languages in the EU Member States with the aim to assist the manufacturer to know which languages should appear on the labels of cosmetic products to be place on specific markets.

EU member state Official language
Austria German
Belgium German, French, Dutch
Bulgaria Bulgarian
Cyprus Greek
Czech Republic Czech
Denmark Dnish
Estonia Estonian
Finland Finnish, Swedish
France French
Germany German
Greece Greek
Hungary Hungarian
Ireland English, Irish
Italy Italian
Latvia Latvian
Lithuania Lithuanian
Luxembourg French, German
Malta Maltese, English
Netherlands Dutch
Poland Polish
Portugal Portuguese
Romania Romanian
Slovakia Slovak
Slovenia Slovenia
Spain Spanish
Sweden Swedish
United Kindgdom English
Croatia Croatian
ETFA country Official language
Norway Norwegian
Iceland Icelandic
Lichtenstein German
Switzerland German, French, Italian

It is critical to remember that the function should always be translated and appear in the official language(s) of the country on the label. However, the Precautions for use should always be translated – but if it is practically impossible to put them on the label, they may appear on a leaflet enclosed to the product.

When it comes to the expiration date of your product, you may use a symbol for the expiration date instead of writing Expiration date 28/7/2021 – this symbol is internationally recognized, on both inner and outer packaging:

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