Safety above all!
EU legislation defines a cosmetic as: “any substance or mixture intended to be put in contact with the external parts of the human body or with the teeth and mucous membranes of the oral cavity with an exclusive view or mainly to clean them, scent them, change their appearance, protect them, keep them in good condition or correct body odors ”, thus excluding medicines or medical devices.
However, product safety is the most important issue for any cosmetic brand, to ensure that a cosmetic does not pose a threat to human health, as the cosmetics legislation strongly protects consumers regarding safety issues.
The brand has a legal responsibility to ensure that its products are safe for consumer use, and failure to comply with this obligation can have dire consequences such as Johnson & Johnson, which was recently ordered to pay $ 4.7 billion because their talcum products allegedly led to the development of cancer ovaries in 22 women in the USA.
European authorities consider it a very serious offense to supply a cosmetic product that could harm human health or that contains specific restricted or prohibited substances (for example, alkaline alcohols or antibiotics).
Legal advertising for cosmetics is an area that brands often neglect but which can lead to serious damage to their reputation in the market.
Cosmetic brands need to prepare a product safety report before placing it on the market and notify them using the EU Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP).
Any cosmetic company wishing to place finished cosmetic products on the European Union market must appoint a natural or legal person in the EU (also known as a responsible person) to fulfill its regulatory compliance obligations.
In summary, to ensure compliance with the regulation, a cosmetic brand must:
Review all ingredients used in the product to ensure that they are authorized and comply with restrictions imposed on the EU market;
Manufacture your cosmetic products in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) established in the Regulation;
Appoint a responsible person in the EU to comply with regulatory compliance;
Prepare a product safety assessment report;
Check if the label is in compliance;
Ensure that the responsible person notifies each product to the EU before starting to sell the products;
Ensure that the responsible person prepares and maintains a product information file
Comply with the ban on animal testing.
Ensure that the Responsible Person monitors the legislation to detect whether any updates to the legislation will impact the products that are already on sale.
All cosmetic products sold in the EU must comply with marking and labeling laws. This includes ensuring that the package contains:
- The name and address of the responsible person;
- The nominal content at the time of packaging, expressed in weight or volume;
- The expiration date;
- The list of ingredients;
- Particular precautions / warnings;
- Lot number or code;
- The country of origin, that is, where the product was manufactured.
Be careful what the brand says about the product!
Legal advertising for cosmetic products is an area that brands often neglect, but non-compliance can lead to serious damage to market reputation.
Consumers, competitors and the competent European authorities themselves can investigate non-compliant advertising and, if found to be in breach of legislation, a brand faces several sanctions, including an online public decision and associated negative advertising, as well as the obligation to eliminate advertising misleading.
All claims must comply with the following key principles:
- Make only true and legal statements;
- Check, before product notification on the CPNP portal, any claims made.
The EU created a regulation no. 655/2013 that establishes common criteria for justifying claims related to cosmetic products. You can consult it here: COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 655/2013
It is vital that brands have appropriate and appropriate scientific evidence to support any claim that goes beyond simply stating a cosmetic effect of perfuming and cleaning.
Watch the images!
The images used in cosmetics promotions can also be misleading, either alone or due to the effect they have on the words used in an ad.
The images must be examined carefully to ensure that any implicit effects do not exaggerate what the product can realistically achieve, and in the event of inspection the marks must retain all material to demonstrate its veracity.
In the absence of such evidence, a brand is at risk of violating the ASA's rules on misleading advertising and exaggeration. For example, in 2012, ASA found allegations that “skin looks smoother” and “skin looks smoother” used in an ad for a moisturizer with Rachel Weisz to be misleading, as the actress’s image has been substantially altered, exaggerating the implicit performance of the product.
Special care is needed when using “before and after” photographs. Such photographs should not mislead consumers, exaggerating the product's effects.
Don't make medical claims!
A medical claim is an advertising claim that implies that a product can treat or prevent an illness, including an injury, illness or adverse condition.
Cosmetic brands cannot make medicinal claims for cosmetic products, as these claims can only be made if the product has been licensed as a medicine, so terms such as "cure", "treat" or "clinically proven" cannot be used.
Make sure influencers comply
Influencers are a powerful marketing tool and cosmetics brands were the first to embrace influencer marketing.
Influencers can boost products and help create a bond between consumers and the brand, however, it is vital that the brand ensures that influencers correctly adhere to the rules related to the transparency and truthfulness of the product's effectiveness.
Awareness of the challenges and a willingness to adapt are key to a cosmetic brand making the most of these opportunities, while avoiding the potential financial and reputational damage of getting it wrong.