A startups guide to skin care label requirements and ingredient labelling regulations
For skincare and cosmetic product labels and packaging designs.
Designing labels and packaging for skin care and cosmetic products is fun! It’s always a welcomed challenge to create something unique; that visually speaks your brand story; that sets your product apart from other brands and looks fabulous on the shelf – in shops and at home.
But, did you know skin care labels have a range of important cosmetic labelling requirements? And, as the brand owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your product labels adhere to those requirements?
If you’re building your own skincare brand, this article will guide you through the cosmetic labelling requirements. It will also connect you to important resources to better understand those laws and regulations that might relate to you.
Skin care label requirements
- Primary information your label must include:
- the ingredients in descending order calculated by either mass or volume
- unit of measurement (volume or weight)
- business name & address/website
- any relevant warnings or cautions
- Secondary information not legally required but advisable include:
- expiry date
- batch number
- usage/application instructions
- recycling & product life icons
- Product ingredients should be on the container or on the product itself, if not packed in a container.
Important! It is YOUR responsibility as the brand/product owner to make sure your labels meet all the requirements – it is not the graphic designer’s responsibility.
Skin care label recommendations
- The label should maintain its integrity throughout the product’s life. So test the label stock and print quality first. For example, how does your label hold up when wet or held by greasy fingers?
- No doubt you’ve come across labels with text so small you can’t read it, as there isn’t a minimum font size. The smallest legible font size is 5pt.
- Negative or reverse printing (white text on black background) can be difficult to print clearly with small or thin fonts. Always test print. Don’t rely on how the label looks on screen.
- When using clear labels, remember “white” cannot be printed in CMYK process printing. To print white on a clear label requires a Pantone spot colour print.
- If 100% colour matching matters, Pantone spot colour printing is the safest option. CMYK colour printing can vary.
- Incorporate a visual difference between product designs for products used in a shower (when glasses cannot be worn). Something more significant than wording and product name variations.
- Using an obvious graphical difference helps customers distinguish between products while being used.
The above is a basic outline of the visual aspect to your skincare label packaging design artwork. But a business that sells or manufactures cosmetic products must also comply to the mandatory standard of cosmetic ingredient labelling. So let’s. take a look at some of the key labelling information.
Cosmetic ingredient label requirements
- The product’s ingredient information should be visually accessible to consumers at the point of sale.
- The list of product ingredients is required on the outer casing or on the product itself, if it’s not packed within an outer container/box.
- If the container or product is a size, shape or other nature that prevents ingredient labelling as per the above, the mandatory information standard requires the display of information for consumers to be informed.
- The labelling of ingredients on cosmetics such as make-up, deodorant or moisturiser usually appears on the packaging or outer casing of the product for consumer knowledge.
- The list of ingredients need to appear in descending order calculated by either mass or volume.
- Alternatively, the mandatory standard allows for the listing of ingredients in the following way:
- ingredients (except colour additives) in concentrations of 1 per cent or more in descending order by volume or mass
- followed by ingredients (except for colour additives) in concentrations of less than 1 per cent in any order
- followed by colour additives in any order.
- The mandatory information standard does not require the listing of the quantity or percentage of each ingredient.
Important: This article is a general guide only. This information is not intended as a consulting or advisory service. Please use the additional resources listed below for more information and industry contacts.
Cosmetic skin care business registrations
This list will start you off with the typical business registrations. However, of course you should also seek professional advice.
- Business Name Registration
- NICNAS Chemicals & Business Registration (if you import or manufacture chemicals or some cosmetics and soaps)
- Local Council Licences (check with your local council about running a business from home and to see if they have any licenses or regulations)
- Therapeutic Goods Association TGA (if your product is therapeutic you may need to list on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods)
- ACCC Mandatory Standards for Cosmetic Labelling
- Business.gov Labelling and Your Products
- NICNAS Cosmetic Regulations
- Understanding Cosmetic Regulations in Australia
- Cosmetic Label Review Service
We provide cosmetic graphic design for skincare product packaging and product labels. Take a look at samples of our skincare label designs.
Cosmetic label design elements
Our curated collection of cosmetic design elements, patterns, backgrounds, fonts and logos are perfect if you are preparing your own cosmetic product packaging designs. Take a look at the collection here.