Cosmetic Packaging Claims for Successful Beauty Products in the US



When it comes to developing beauty products and selling these in the US, there’s a critical moment in every cosmetic creator’s journey that affects just about every part of your go-to-market strategy, and that’s deciding what claims to use on the packaging label. 

To clarify, when you sell your beauty product, claims are the promise that a product makes to consumers about its performance, and they impact just about every aspect of a product. For instance, from your cosmetic label and product package to how you position the product in the market. 

Claims drive the perception of consumers

Claims even drive how educators and sales reps talk about your products to consumers. The claims that we use are really where the science and the art come together during product development. 

Get customers right

Get them right, and you have a beauty product that performs and sounds amazing. 

Don’t get them wrong

But get them wrong, and you could find yourself on the wrong side not just of consumers, but of the US government. That’s because cosmetic products are regulated in the US, as well as their claims. They can determine if a product is actually a cosmetic under the law and what brands have to do to sell them. 

So, in this blog, we’re going to look at three key areas when it comes to figuring out your cosmetic packaging claims so you can develop beauty boxes confidently, in compliance, and get to market fast.

The goal of compliance

It’s helpful to remember the goal with compliance: The goal is to make a product packaging that’s marketable, and appealing to consumers. To clarify, It’s to make a product box truthful and describe it in a way that stays on the right side of the law. 

Most importantly, making sure your cosmetic product packaging is, in fact, packaging and it’s being marketed like one is something every product developer has to get right. 

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at three key areas of cosmetic marketing claims in regulatory compliance so you can avoid potentially costly mistakes.

Marketing Claims

First, what is a marketing claim? 

A claim tells us what a cosmetic product does. Together with a product name, claims can tell us about a product’s intended use and how it performs. They’re called marketing claims, performance claims, or just claims. They’re how a brand describes the product so that it sounds convincing and so the consumers will buy it for why it stands out from the competition. 

Where to print the claims

Claims can be on packaging and in a product’s marketing materials, like on the ads or the website. They can shape just about every facet of product marketing. 

Some examples could be: such and such a product is moisturizing, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and reduces the look of age spots. Claims are one of the factors that determine whether or not your beauty product is considered a cosmetic by the FDA versus, say, a soap or a drug. The FDA has different definitions for cosmetics versus drugs. 

FDA cosmetic definition

Cosmetics are topical products that cleanse and beautify. They alter our appearance and promote attractiveness. 

Beauty brands are not required to register cosmetic items with the FDA. You don’t need approval in order to sell cosmetics in the US. You just need to make sure that the product is safe, it’s accurately labeled, which includes putting the right claims on the cosmetic boxes. 

Good claims Vs. Bad claims

And this leads me to principle number two: good claims versus bad claims. But we really should make a distinction here: it’s not so much about good versus bad as it is about compliance. Compliant versus non-compliant. 

How did we identify these pitfalls?

So, Working with hundreds of beauty brands and manufacturers developing cosmetic product packaging for clients. We started to identify some common pitfalls that would come up when brands were deciding on which claims to use on product packaging. 

When a brand is deciding on whether a claim is good or bad, whether they say, “No, not going to use this claim,” there are a few areas where some brand owners and companies overlook. 

Using the competitor’s packaging claims 

The first is when a brand looks at its competitors and uses the competitor’s claims as a benchmark for compliance. This does not work. Actually, one brand’s FDA warning letter could become your warning letter, too. If you’re feeling really nerdy or paranoid enough, you can check out the FDA website and read the warning letters that have been written to cosmetics companies, telling them just how wrong their cosmetics claims were according to the law. 

Do your homework on packaging law

Anyway, brands need to do their homework on marketing claims and take competitor claims with a gigantic grain of salt. 

A claim without evidence

A third pitfall can be to make a claim without evidence that it’s true. Marketing claims need to be truthful and evidence-based. Today, we see many brands highlighting the performance of ingredients over say, the finished product itself. But even here, there really are more complex answers. 

For example, A brand might refer to an ingredient having antiseptic and antibacterial properties and then suggest that the product be used for acne-prone skin and still get into trouble with the FDA because its intended use indicates that the product is a drug. This is an actual real-life example. 

How do you know if your cosmetic claims are actually compliant? 

However, that brings me to principle number three. But before we finish this off and look at principle number three, are you starting to see how getting on the right side of cosmetics packaging claims can set you up for faster product development? Are you starting to see how unlocking the essentials of cosmetic compliance gives you more confidence when you’re working on your marketing strategy? If you can, can we just get a “yes” in the comments below?

Cosmetic Claims Compliance

So, how does a brand know if its cosmetic claims are compliant with regulations? There are a number of ways that brands can check to make sure cosmetic claims are compliant and up to date with regulatory requirements. 

Firstly, keep these two websites in your favorites folder. 

  1. The first is the FDA website and the section on cosmetic regulations. 
  2. The second is the Federal Trade Commission website and its section on the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. 

After you’ve read the guidelines, all of them, and you’ve poked around the various blogs that will tell you all the don’ts of cosmetic claims, you might actually want to check in with a live human being to see what you can write in your performance claims. 

What to do? Where to source my packaging?

For that, you have options. You can contact us, which we highly recommend. You can work with our regulatory compliance consultant.