Label Policy vs. Label Appeal
When it comes to the design of your cosmetic label, you’ll want to create something that effectively represents your brand and leaves a memorable impression on consumers in the marketplace. However, you need to keep in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the proper labeling of cosmetics. Cosmetics marketed in the U.S. must adhere to the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FP&L Act). Cosmetic labels are used to define the product’s intended purpose, list ingredients and quantities, spell out warnings, and state the place of manufacture or distribution; and, they must do all of this while inspiring consumers to pick your product off the shelf.
FDA Label Regulations
According to the FD&C Act cosmetics are, “articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions. Included in this definition are products such as skin creams, lotions, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial make-up preparations, shampoos, permanent waves, hair colors, toothpastes, deodorants, and any material intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product.” There are a number of regulations to follow if you are labeling such a product; here are a few of the mains ones:
Principal Display Panel: The part of the label most likely displayed or examined under customary conditions of display for sale must state the name of the product, identify by descriptive name or illustration the nature or use of the product, and bear an accurate statement of the net quantity of contents.
Ingredients: Cosmetics produced or distributed for retail sale to consumers for their personal care are required to bear an ingredient declaration. The ingredient declaration must be conspicuous so that it is likely to be read at the time of purchase.
Warnings: Cosmetics which may be hazardous to consumers when misused must bear appropriate label warnings and adequate directions for safe use. The statements must be prominent and conspicuous.
Business Information: The name and place of business of the firm marketing the product must be stated on an information panel of the label. The address must state the street address, city, state, and zip code.
The Price of Noncompliance
This is just a sampling of the code of federal regulations, which contains hundreds of pages and covers things like where this information must be placed, how large the type must be, and in what order it must appear on the label. Should you fail to adhere to these rules, your product will be considered misbranded and will be subject to regulatory action such as investigation of your product and business facility, and potential confiscation of your misbranded cosmetics. The FDA considers a product misbranded if it is incorrectly or deceptively labeled.
Designing your Label
It’s interesting that mislabeling is considered misbranding because your label and your brand really do go hand in hand. Now that your head is full of rules and regulations let’s think about some of the fun ways to design your label for print.
The Consumer: Know your audience, a line of anti-aging products will be designed differently than a preteen makeup line. Think about who your customer is and how you can stand out from the competition so they will pick your product.
Color: You’ll want to pick a color that will be noticeable among other products on the shelf while sending the right message to consumers. The right color will convey the value and mood of your cosmetic.
Embellishments: In addition to fonts, colors, layout and design, there are many ways to make a label unique and memorable. Consider special shaped dies, decorative foil stamping or embossing.
Brand: Your label should be relevant and reflective of your brand. Your label should support the messaging you’ve decided on and communicate to the customer about your company.
All the pieces of your label, including your FDA mandated information and your product’s design elements, should work together to capture the consumer and represent your brand.
For more information please see the FDA site on cosmetics www.fda.gov/cosmetics. Ready to take your cosmetic labels to the next level? Download the free Advanced Labels ebook 5 Keys to Labels That Sell.