Creating cosmetic and personal care labels: The ultimate guide

Cosmetic labels serve multiple purposes. For one, they act as a differentiator – helping your brand and your products stand out from the pack on shelves, in aisles and even on the web.

But they also serve to inform.

Buyer’s are data-driven; they want to know where your products were made, how they were sourced and what ingredients are in them that could impact their health or wellbeing.

And labels? Those are often the biggest source of that information.

So how do you strike that balance? What are the must-haves (legally) and the nice-to-haves (marketing-wise)? Let’s take a look.

Must-haves for cosmetic and personal care labels

First and foremost, your labels need to comply with Australian law and public policy. As cosmetics and personal care items are often put directly on the skin, hair or body, there are many stipulations as to what much be disclosed on their labels – ingredients, claims, sourcing and otherwise.

The first step is to ensure that your product is, in fact, a cosmetic. According to the law, cosmetics are any products “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
  • Perfuming the body
  • Protecting the body”
woman spraying perfume image

Do you know what’s in your favourite perfume?

If your product falls into one of these categories, you’ll need to follow these rules:

  1. A full list of ingredients must be included on the label. It must be available for viewing at the point of sale (e., not inside the box where a consumer can’t see it before purchasing).
  2. Ingredients should be listed in descending orders by mass or volume, though exact percentages don’t need to be included.
  3. If the product includes any chemical listed in the Poisons Standard, the appropriate warning and safety statements must be included.
  4. The label must also include measurement markings, as stipulated by the National Measurement Institute.
  5. You can’t include any false or misleading claims about what your product does or can do (unless you have testing to prove it.)

Free samples don’t have to comply with these regulations, but any manufacturer, importer, distributor or retailer of full-size cosmetics must.

Marketing considerations

Let’s face it: the cosmetics industry is a competitive one. There are hundreds of versions of every product, and when one sees big success over another, it usually all comes down to marketing.

That’s where labels can help.

Here’s are some tips for making sure your labels make an impact:

Think visually.

If you want your product to stand out from the competition, it needs to look different – and possibly from a distance. Beauty store aisles are crowded places, so use colour and design to really make your product pop. Look at your competitors in the space, and see how you could do things differently.

Kylie Jenner lip gloss kit image

Photo: MTV. The packaging for Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits are about as iconic as the product itself. The motif of a pair of lips dripping with glossy product is part of what makes receiving the package so exciting.

Meet a need.

Ultimately, people buy cosmetics and beauty products to meet a need. Maybe they have dark circles they want to cover up, or they just might want to make their eyes pop more in upcoming photos. There are lots of potential needs out there, so make sure your product serves at least one – and make it clear and apparent exactly what that is on your label. You want a consumer to see your product and think, “That’s exactly what I need!”

Call attention to differentiators.

Is your product certified organic? Was it sustainably sourced? Does it use only Australian ingredients? Is it safe for sensitive skin? In the beauty industry, these variables can be what push a consumer past just casual interest and inspire them to hand over that cash and buy in. Call attention to them and make them instantly obvious.

Cherub Rubs product image

Photo: Cherub Rubs. More than 95% of all the ingredients in the majority of the Cherub Rub range are certified organic. The entire range is manufactured under strict organic standards in a certified organic manufacturing facility.

Get a pro’s opinion.

Don’t go it alone with your label. Enlist a professional designer and always make sure a pro editor has looked over your copy before you go to print. Typos and grammar mistakes are an instant turn-off for most consumers, making you look unprofessional and haphazard – neither of which is good in the beauty industry.

Want help creating your cosmetic or personal care product labels? Give us a call today.