Cosmetics ingredients labelling

The mandatory standard prescribes the requirements the labelling of cosmetic products.

About the standard

The mandatory standard for ingredients labelling on cosmetics came into effect on 29 October 1991 and was last amended 23 May 2008.

The Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991 prescribes the requirements for this mandatory standard. Suppliers may also find the Regulation impact statement — Cosmetics helpful in understanding aspects of the mandatory standard.

Under the mandatory standard, cosmetic products are substances or preparations intended for placement in contact with any external part of the body, including the mouth and teeth, for the purpose of:

  • altering the odours of the body
  • changing the appearance of the body
  • cleansing the body
  • maintaining the body in good condition
  • perfuming the body
  • protecting the body.

The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) also has a cosmetic standard that you can view on the NICNAS website.

Exemptions

The following goods are exempt from the mandatory information standard:

  • therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989
  • cosmetics manufactured in Australia for export
  • free samples of cosmetic products
  • testers of a cosmetic product.

Key requirements

The following provides some key information on the labelling and testing requirements for this mandatory standard.

Labelling

  • Product ingredient information should be available to consumers at the point of sale.
  • The listing of product ingredients is required on the container or on the product itself, if not packed in a container.
  • Where the container or the product is of a size, shape or nature that prevents ingredient labelling by any of the above methods, the mandatory information standard requires the display of information to allow 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.
  • When listing ingredients, the 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.

Testing

While the standard does not require testing, before suppliers can label cosmetics accurately, they need to establish that the volume or mass is correct.

Does this apply to your business?

Under the Australian Consumer Law supply includes:

  • in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase
  • in relation to services - provide, grant or confer.

This ban applies to anyone in the business of supplying this product, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

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