Marking and Labelling of Cosmetic Products

The following information must be given on the packaging or labelling:

1. Ingredients

The package in which the cosmetic product is supplied must bear a list of ingredients, headed 'Ingredients' (see note below), in descending order of weight, determined at the time the ingredient was added to the product.

You do not need to include any of the following as ingredients:

  • Impurities in the raw materials.
  • Materials used in the preparation of, but not present in, the final product.
  • Materials used as solvents or carriers for perfumes and aromatic compositions.

For products placed on the market after 11th March 2005, perfume and aromatic compositions and their raw materials will be referred to as 'perfume' (see note below) or 'aroma' unless:

  • it is listed in column 2 of Schedule 4, and
  • it is required to be mentioned specifically by virtue of column 5 of Schedule 4.

Ingredients in concentrations of less than 1% may be listed in any order after those of 1% or more.

Colouring agents may be listed in any order after the other ingredients. For decorative cosmetics marketed in various colours, all colouring agents in the range may be listed so long as the words 'may contain' or the symbol '+ / -' are also used.

The ingredient name shall be that listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) or, if no such name is listed, the:

  • chemical name;
  • CTFA name;
  • European Pharmacopoeia name;
  • International Non-proprietary Name (INN), as recommended by the World Health Organisation;
  • EINECS identification;
  • colour index number.

    There is a procedure detailed in the Regulations that, subject to agreement, allows the confidentiality of some ingredients to be maintained.

    Note: For consistency across the EU, the following conventions have been agreed by COLIPA (the European cosmetics industry trade association). Firstly, the word 'ingredients' should be given in capital letters, and secondly, the word 'perfume' should be replaced by 'parfum'. Although these conventions do not have the force of law, their use will be accepted by UK enforcement authorities. If you are exporting cosmetic products to other EU Member States, you should confirm that the authorities in those States also accept this convention.

2. Name and address

Name, or trade name, and address, or registered office address, of the manufacturer or the supplier in the EC.

3. Function

If not otherwise obvious from design and packaging.

4. Batch code

Some means of identifying the production batch, normally a code or date.

5. Durability

Where a cosmetic product is likely, within 30 months of the date of manufacture, to deteriorate to the extent that it no longer meets the safety requirements of the Regulations or is no longer fit for its purpose, it must be marked with a 'Best Before' date that reflects the earliest likely date this is likely to happen.

The indication must be in the form 'Best Before (date)' or, where the date appears elsewhere on the labelling, 'Best Before (position of date on labelling)'. If any particular precautions are required to ensure the shelf-life of the product, these must also be described.

Where a product has a shelf-life of more than 30 months, but it is liable to deteriorate after it is opened to the extent that it no longer meets the safety requirements of the Regulations or is no longer fit for its purpose, it must be marked with the following symbol together with an indication of its expected life after opening:

cosmetic symbol

6. Additional information

Additional information must be given where certain ingredients, such as preservatives and UV filters, are present. This information is specified in Schedules 4, 6 and 7 to the Regulations.

7. Presentation

All required information must be visible, indelible and easily legible. The ingredients list must be given in a language which is easily understood by the consumer, and all of the other information must be in English and can be supplemented by other languages.

There is one set of rules about presentation for ingredients lists, and another set for the other information.

Ingredients List

The ingredients list must appear on the packaging or, if it is impossible to do so or there is no packaging, on the container. If the product is sold loose, the ingredients list can be given on the container in which the product is exposed for supply or on a notice. If this is not possible, the list can be given on a leaflet, label, tag, tape or card enclosed with or attached to the product, along with an indication referring the consumer to it (either by way of abbreviated information or the 'hand and book' symbol). For small products such as soap and bath balls, a notice can be used instead of a leaflet, label, etc.

Other information

The name / address and 'best before' date must always appear on both the container and the packaging. The batch code must also appear on the container and packaging but, if this is not possible for reasons of size, it can appear on the packaging only. All the remaining information must also appear on the container and packaging or, where this is impossible, on a leaflet, label, tag, tape or card enclosed with or attached to the product, again with an indication referring the consumer to it.

In the case of loose soap, the name, address and batch number must be given on the soap itself (in which case it need only be indelible until the soap is first used), or on the container in which the soap is exposed for sale. All other information must be given on a leaflet which is supplied with the soap.

In the case of loose cosmetic products other than soap, all of the information must be given on the container in which the product is exposed for supply, or on a notice in immediate proximity to the container.

8. The requirements on the "responsible person"

Where a cosmetic product is supplied or manufactured in the UK, the responsible person is required to keep certain product information at the registered office address or the address detailed on the product. This information must be easily accessible to the nominated authorities, generally the responsible person's local Trading Standards Service, and can be requested in the case of medical emergency. The information must be in English or another language easily understood by the nominated authority.

The Regulations define "responsible person" as any of the following:

  • The manufacturer of the product.
  • The manufacturer's agent.
  • The person to whose order the product is manufactured, for example a supermarket chain which has an 'own brand' item produced by an independent manufacturer.
  • The person who first supplies the cosmetic product in the UK, if all the above are established outside of the EC.

The product information must include all of the following:

  • The quantitative and qualitative composition of the product. For perfume or perfume compositions in the product, you are only required to keep the name, code number and supplier identity. Qualitative information for all composites, and the quantitative information in relation to dangerous substances, must also be made easily available to the general public.
  • The physico-chemical and microbiological specifications of the raw materials and the finished product, and the purity and microbiological control criteria of the cosmetic product.
  • The method of manufacture.
  • An assessment of safety for human health of the finished product, including the criteria as stipulated in the Regulations. For products first placed on the market on or after 11th September 2004, there are additional criteria where the product is intended for use on children under three years old or exclusively for use in external intimate hygiene.
  • Details of the person or persons, with the minimum qualifications as detailed in the Regulations, who carried out the assessments.
  • Existing data on the undesirable effects on human health resulting from use of the product. This information shall also be made easily available to the general public.
  • Evidence to justify any claims made by the product.
  • For products placed on the market from 11th September 2004, data on any animal testing performed by the manufacturer, his agents or suppliers, relating to the development or safety evaluation of the product or its ingredients.

Where the "responsible person" is established in the UK and is the manufacturer or first importer into the EC, he/she/it must possess an appropriate level of experience or qualifications in accordance with UK legislation and practice. They must also notify the competent authority (the DTI) of the address of the place of manufacture or initial importation into the EC for each type of product they place on the market (but not for each individual product).

Where the product is manufactured in the UK and another EC country, the product information can be retained outside the UK, as long as the UK nominated authority is directed to the correct address and the information is available in English or other language easily understood by the UK authority.

Contact us

Business Support Team
Cheshire East Council




01270 685900


Rate this page

We value your feedback. How do you rate this information?