Cosmetics ingredients labelling

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

About cosmetics

The mandatory standard for ingredients labelling on cosmetics came into effect in 1991. It was last updated on 24 November 2020 to include additional labelling requirements for hand sanitiser.

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.

You should refer to the Therapeutic Goods Administration website for information about the requirements for sunscreen products and other excluded goods.

Exclusions

The following goods are excluded from the mandatory information standard:

  • therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989
  • hand sanitisers that, under the Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods—Hand Sanitisers) Determination 2020, are excluded goods for the purposes of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989
  • cosmetics manufactured in Australia for export
  • free samples of cosmetic products
  • testers of a cosmetic product.

Mandatory standard

The Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020 sets out the mandatory requirements for cosmetics ingredients labelling. These requirements are intended to:

  • reduce the risk of consumers unintentionally exposing themselves to ingredients causing allergic reactions
  • help consumers choose effective hand sanitisers
  • reduce the risk of product harm, including ingestion by children.

Key requirements

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

Labelling for all cosmetics

  • 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.

Additional labelling for hand sanitiser

Hand sanitiser that contains alcohol as the primary active ingredient must display the following information on the product container:

  • The amount of alcohol contained in the product, shown as a percentage (%) by volume per volume (v/v). This may be shown in the list of ingredients or elsewhere on the container.
  • The following warnings (words to the same effect, or pictograms may be used):
    • Keep out of reach of children.
    • For external use only.
    • If ingested, seek immediate medical attention.
    • Flammable – keep away from fire and heat.
    • Discontinue use if skin irritation occurs.

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.

Complying with the mandatory standard during transition phase

The mandatory standard includes a transition period of 180 days to assist with the changeover to the new mandatory standard.

Up to 23 May 2021, suppliers have the option to comply with the requirements from either the Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020 or the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991.

From 24 May 2021, suppliers must only comply with the requirements in the Consumer Goods (Cosmetics) Information Standard 2020.

More information is available in the Explanatory Statement on the Federal Register of Legislation website.