Fact sheet: Labelling of cosmetics
In this fact sheet you can read about the requirements for labelling cosmetics, following the EU Cosmetic Regulation (no 1223/2009). Cosmetic products may include skin lotion, deodorant, soap, shampoo, hair removal products, hair dying and bleaching products, shaving cream, facial and eye make-up, tooth paste, nail polish and sun lotion.
Requirements for labelling of cosmetics
Containers and any exterior packaging for cosmetics have to be labelled with indelible, easily legible and visible lettering.
Number 2, 3, 4 and 6 listed below shall be in Danish. The other listed information does not need to be in Danish.
- Name and address of the responsible person. The information may be abbreviated provided that the abbreviation makes it possible to identify that person and his address. The country of origin shall be specified for cosmetic products imported from a non EU member state;
- Weight or volume must be indicated. Exempted from the rules are packages containing less than five grams or five millilitres, free samples and single-application packs; If a product is normally sold in multiple-application packs where weight and volume have no importance it is sufficient to write the number of units on the packaging. One example is wet wipes which are always sold in multiple-application packs. If the product is normally sold in single-application packs or if it is easy to determine the single item, it is not necessary to give this information.
- The date until which the cosmetic product, stored under appropriate conditions, will continue to fulfill its initial functions and is safe for the consumer. The date of durability must be clearly stated and consist of either the month and year or the day, month and year in that order accompanied by the following text: "Best used before the end of ..." or indicated by the symbol:
If the durability is conditioned by the customer keeping the product in a special way, e.g. under cool temperatures, this must be stated. The date of durability is not mandatory for cosmetic products with a minimum durability of more than 30 months. For such products there shall be an indication of time after opening for which the product is safe to use. This information shall be indicated by the symbol below, followed by the time period (in months and/or years).
Particular precautions/safety instructions to be observed in use, including those listed in Annex III to VI in the Cosmetic Regulation and any special precautionary information on cosmetic products for professional use. This also includes user instruction where it is a product that requires guidance to use correctly and safely.
- The manufacturer’s serial number or reference (batch number) must be indicated so that the time and place of manufacture can be identified.
- The function of the cosmetic product, unless the use is clearly indicated from the appearance of the product;
- A list of ingredients that provides information about all ingredients, stated according to weight at the time they were added to the product. The list shall start with the word "ingredients".
Special requirements for the list of ingredients
The following special conditions apply:
- The ingredients must be indicated in descending order of weight by the name used in the nomenclature of cosmetics as appears in "the list of cosmetic ingredients", INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients);
- Certain substances are not considered to be ingredients. It concerns impurities in the raw materials used and the subsidiary technical materials used in the mixture but not present in the final product;
- Perfume and aromatic compounds and their raw materials shall be referred to by the terms "perfum" or "aroma". The list of ingredients shall however state separately the 26 allergen compounds in perfumes and aromas;
- Ingredients present in concentrations of less than 1 per cent can be listed in any order after those in concentrations of more than 1 per cent;
- Ingredients present in the form of nanomaterials shall be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients. The names of such ingredients shall be followed by the word “nano” in brackets.
- Colorants other than those intended to colour the hair may be listed in any order after the other ingredients. For decorative cosmetics placed on the market in a number of colour nuances, all colorants other than those intended to colour the hair in the series may be listed, if the words "may contain" or +/- are added. This applies for instance to lipstick, eye shadow, rouge, powder, mascara and nail varnish.
Exceptions to the rule that labelling must be on both container and packaging
- The manufacturer’s serial number or reference (batch number) need only to appear on the exterior packaging, if the product is very small;
- The list of ingredients may be indicated on the packaging only;
- Regarding the list of ingredients and particular precautions/safety instructions the information may, where it is impossible for practical reasons to label the information as provided, be added on an enclosed or attached leaflet, label, tape, tag or card. In this case – unless impracticable – this information shall be referred to by abbreviated information or the special “hand and book symbol” indicated below. Such reference shall for particular precautions/safety instructions be added on the container or packaging and for the list of ingredients on the packaging
In case of soaps, bathing balls or other small products without packaging, the list of ingredients must be on a display next to the container from which it is sold.
The rules benefit the consumers
The rules aim at ensuring that consumers obtain important information about cosmetics. This may e.g. be what the cosmetics are used for, what they contain, and the date of durability (sell-by date). Information about any safety instructions and enterprise name and address must also be provided.
The person responsible for marketing is also responsible for compliance with the rules
The person responsible for marketing is also responsible for ensuring that the consumer is not misled - that the rules are complied with. This might be the manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or retail distributor. The person who places cosmetics on the market is responsible for labelling the container and the packaging according to the labelling requirements.
The Environmental Protection Agency's chemical inspectors monitor compliance with the rules, and ensure that illegal situations are brought into compliance. This may involve withdrawing the product from the Danish market, or making the product legal in some other way. Anyone who breaches the rules may additionally be subject to a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.
The rules about labelling in Danish are available (in Danish) at the Retsinfo (legal information) website: Statutory Order of the Ministry of the Environment no. 803 of 21. June 2013 on cosmetic products (Bekendtgørelse nr. 803 af 21. juni 2013 om kosmetiske produkter) (in Danish).