What is a Cosmetic?
In Canada, cosmetic products are defined as “a substance or mixture of substances intended for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin hair or teeth”. Cosmetics includes soap, animal grooming products, deodorants, perfumes, professional aesthetic products such as hair dye and manicure sets. Normally a cosmetic product is applied externally to the body, never inserted below the skin. Oral cosmetics include products like non-fluoride toothpaste, breath freshening mouth wash and tooth whiteners, but never products that are intended to be swallowed.
Although your product’s ingredients, formula, and intended use may fit the bill for it to be considered a cosmetic, any claims you make about the product may not. If a product makes a therapeutic claim to prevent or treat a disease, it is classified as a drug and requires a drug identification number (DIN). If the product making a claim like this also contains natural ingredients with a therapeutic function, they are regulated as natural health products and require a natural product number (NPN). Cosmetic products (including foundation, moisturiser etc.) must not make SPF claims, or they required a DIN or NPN.
What are Acceptable Claims for Cosmetics?
Claims can be a word, sentence, paragraph, or even an implication through imagery. Any claims made on a cosmetic must be accurate. Although some claims are subjective, they must never be misleading to consumers. Below are some examples of unacceptable claims, and an alternative phrase that would be an acceptable claim for a cosmetic product.
The main difference between unacceptable claims and acceptable claims is that many unacceptable claims are absolute, and imply that the product alters normal body functions such as sweating, pigmentation, and oil production. Generally, words such as “heals”, “stimulates”, “penetrates”, “treatment”, “reverses”, “regenerates”, and other similar terms are unacceptable as a cosmetic claim. Acceptable claims tend to focus on the appearance of an effect, with words like “helps”, “reduces”, “looks”, “improves”, and “cleans”. An extensive list of unacceptable and acceptable claims for various types of cosmetic products can be found here.
Resources for Canada:
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Focal Point Research Inc. We are industry leading Cosmetic Regulatory Consultants that you can trust to help guide your company in the right direction.