Cosmetics is a multi-billion dollar industry and it is only going to expand in the coming years. It is probably the only industry you will make a profit in, despite all the saturation. Everyone can earn profit in the cosmetic industry, provided the product has good quality.
What are cosmetics?
By definition, cosmetics are products that are applied to the human body for
- Cleansing the body
- Making a person more attractive, or
- Changing a person’s appearance
These products are rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed externally. Some examples of cosmetics are:
- hair dyes
- nail care and nail paint
Cosmetics that are drugs:
Some products fall under the category of cosmetics that are drugs. By definition, drugs are products that affect the structure or any function of the body. When a product has two intended uses, for example, anti-dandruff shampoo is a cosmetic that is also a drug; it is used for cleaning the hair and scalp and to treat a medical condition (dandruff).
When a product is intended to affect how a person’s bodywork or to prevent and treat the disease it is a drug, when you add aesthetic properties to it, it becomes a cosmetic which is a drug.
Packaging for cosmetics:
A common concept about custom cosmetic boxes is that they’re used for product marketing, placement, and protection. The truth is packaging serves much more than that. The packaging is the primary source of information and making your product compliant. It must comply with the labeling regulations by the FDA (Under the FD&C Act and the FP&L Act).
Guidelines for printing information on packaging:
The packaging is of three types:
- Primary packaging: that contains the product e.g. Plastic or glass containers
- Secondary packaging: an outer container/carton, usually foldable e.g. Kraft and corrugated cartons.
- Tertiary packaging: accompanying the primary and secondary packaging (sometimes just the primary) e.g. tape, tags, cards, etc.
What are the labels? One may ask. Labeling means all labels and written, printed or graphic matter that is on the packaging or accompanying a product. Labeling must appear on the inside (primary packaging) as well as any outside container (secondary packaging) or wrapper (tertiary packaging).
Prominence and conspicuousness are the most important factors when it comes to packaging. All labels and information over the package must be easy to read and understand for ordinary individuals.
The size of the label and information must not be any less than 1/16th inch in height. If the area for labeling is less than 12 square inches then it must be 1/32 inch in height.
Mentioning all the ingredients is mandatory and they must be mentioned in their established label name. established label names are issued by FDA and you can refer to their website to make sure you get all the guidelines for compliant packaging
Order of listing:
All ingredients must be listed in descending order of predominance. There are some exceptions though:
- If the cosmetic is also a drug (the ones mentioned above), the active drug ingredient(s) should be mentioned before the cosmetic ingredients.
- Ingredients present at a less than 1% concentration can be listed in any order after listing all the ingredients that are present in a concentration higher than 1%.
An ingredient is considered a trade secret when disclosing it may lead to your competitor taking advantage of it. You can file an application with the FDA for non-disclosure of an ingredient that you consider your trade secret.
Misbranded cosmetics and regulatory actions:
A cosmetic product is considered misbranded when:
- There is a false and misleading claim printed on it.
- When the address of the manufacturer, distributor, and packer is missing.
- When the net quantity of contents is not mentioned exactly.
- When information is not stated prominently
Labeling on packaging will be considered misleading if the statement is deceptive and if a material fact (regarding composition or effects of product) is not revealed.
Misbranded cosmetics will lead to legal action. The FDA will take legal action against the brand the said product will be instantly removed from the market. Sometimes the mistake on packaging is involuntary and happens because of outsourcing a cheap packaging company.
For small business and homemade cosmetics:
For small business and homemade cosmetics, the FDA has issued a separate set of guidelines. It is similar to the one issued for larger enterprises with some minute changes. If you own an indie brand or make cosmetics at home:
- You’re legally bound to use ingredients that are safe to use
- Your product must be safe and properly labeled
- You are legally responsible for your products
If your product is misbranded or adulterated, you will be the one dealing with legal actions.
Although the FDA doesn’t regulate the cosmetic industry aggressively, there are severe consequences for any discrepancies in packaging and labeling. To avoid any legal trouble, hire a professional and experienced packaging firm. This will make sure that your packaging is compliant as experienced packaging companies are usually well versed in all the FDA guidelines and there is a small probability of an error.