How to Correctly Label Cosmetics

Assembled colorful skincare products with monochrome labels.

The cosmetics industry is absolutely booming. Beauty gurus and makeup artists have flooded YouTube to review and promote various products, and brands are capitalizing on subscription boxes. In order to stand out, you’ll need a beautifully packaged product! First, you’ll need to be familiar with cosmetic labeling requirements.

Cosmetic products are regulated by the FDA, and as such there are very specific guidelines on how to label them. Since you makers are all hard at work, we’ve looked over those guidelines and summarized them — so you don’t have to! 

Principal Display Panel (PDP)

The first things you need to include when designing your cosmetic label are the Statement of Identity, which is the name of the product, and the Net Weight of the product. The Statement of Identity and Net Weight must be displayed on the front of the package, which is commonly referred to as the Principal Display Panel or PDP.

Statement of Identity

The Statement of Identity should give the product name, first and foremost, and then describe your product by its common name (mascara, lotion, etc.), a descriptive or fanciful name if the nature of the cosmetic is apparent, or by an illustration. By making the Statement of Identity bold and prominent on the PDP, you’ll not only comply by FDA regulations, but you’ll also make sure your customers know exactly what they’re getting. 

If you want to mention ingredients in your Statement of Identity, it has to be all or nothing. If your body lotion has peppermint, rosemary, and lemon essential oils or fragrance, and is made of shea butter, you cannot simply mention one of the ingredients in your Statement of Identity. You must either say “Body Lotion” or “Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemon Shea Butter Body Lotion.”

Net Weight

The Net Weight should be placed on the bottom 30% of the PDP, parallel to the base of the package. It should be set apart from any other written information on the PDP, so that the Net Weight remains conspicuous.

See below for a great example.

Revive Bath + Body products, including a sea salt soak and body cream.

Information Panel

The Information panel, which typically includes the Ingredients List, Manufacturer’s Address, and Warnings can be placed either on the outer packaging of your product, like a box, wrapper, etc. or directly on the container if you don’t have any outer packaging.

Ingredients List

Cosmetic products need Ingredients Lists too! The FDA stipulates that you list ingredients in order of heaviest to lightest ingredient, even if the lightest ingredient is the main one. Always use the common or proper name for an ingredient or a technical name where applicable.

Keep in mind that if your cosmetic product also claims to treat or prevent a disease, or claims to alter appearance or structure of the human body, your product is also considered a drug and should abide by the FDA guidelines for both cosmetics and drugs. The label must first list the name and quantity of the drug(s), kind and amount of alcohol (if any), and then the remaining ingredients.

You want to make sure consumers can read what’s in your product, so do not use a font smaller than 1/16”. If the total surface area of your packaging is less than 12 square inches, you may use a font size no smaller than 1/32”. Keep in mind that font size is determined by the lowercase letter ‘o’.

Manufacturer’s Name and Address

Give the name and business address of the distributor, packer, or manufacturer of your product on the information panel as well. 

If you manufacture and package your cosmetic product yourself, list your company’s name and business address. If you partner with a separate manufacturer, packer, or distributor, you’ll need to list their company name and address. Either way, providing additional information like a phone number, email address, or another method of contact may be beneficial for your consumers if they have questions about the product.

Warning Statements

Certain products require Warning Statements in order to prevent any type of health hazard to consumers. An example of this would be an aerosol product, which contains flammable contents under pressure. 

The Warning Statement must be prominent and conspicuous on your label, in such a way that it will be easily read at the time of purchase and use. The statement must be in bold type on a contrasting background and can be no less than 1/16” in height.

A mockup example of a compliant hand lotion label with the fictional company name "Hello Lovely."

Next Steps

If your cosmetic label is looking good and meets the FDA’s criteria, then it’s time to print! We know a thing or two about labeling cosmetics and beauty products, so we have a few suggestions.

We definitely recommend using either a Plastic or Vinyl label material, as these are waterproof and oil-resistant materials. Since cosmetic products are typically handled frequently throughout the day, you need a durable label that will stay looking great throughout your product’s lifespan. Of these materials, you can choose white, clear, or metallic for a unique look!

Another commonly used material for cosmetic labels is our lovely TerraSkin. This material is made of 80% calcium carbonate and 20% polyethylene resin to create an environmentally friendly paper. TerraSkin is water-resistant and inherently durable, so it’s a great option for cosmetic products that are eco-friendly.

Pro tip! When it comes time to label your product, don’t forget to clean the containers thoroughly before applying. Isopropyl alcohol is our go-to when cleaning container surfaces.

If you’d like to see our label materials in action, check out some product shots or request some samples!

Skincare products, including lip balm tubes, with crisp white labels.

Ready… Set… Go!

If you have any questions or think you may need the help of a designer, give us a call! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. If you’re interested in a quote, check out our super easy Live Quote Tool. You can do this!

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