If you are selling homemade products them this article is for you. We outline the major components of how to label your products correctly if you are selling your products within the united states.
The key points outlined in this article are not just a preference, there are specific rules of the FDA in the United States and this article references the legalities of the United States, if you are selling your products outside of the United States there may be different rules and regulations to abide by so please check with your local area. Laws can get detailed so this article aim to keep labelling obligations simple. This article also does not constitute legal advice, it simply discusses some information regarding legal information.
Firstly you need to be careful on the claims made on your product, a claim to have a certain effect will mean your product will fall under the classification of a “drug”. The FDA says “A product is a cosmetic if it is intended for use such as cleansing of the human body, making a person more attractive or changing a person’s appearance. Some products meet the definition of both cosmetics and drugs, this may happen when a product has two intended uses, for example a shampoo is cosmetic as its intended use is to cleanse the hair, an anti-dandruff treatment is a drug as its intended use is to treat dandruff, consequently an anti-dandruff shampoo is both a cosmetic and a drug. Among other cosmetic drug combinations are toothpastes that contain fluoride, deodorants that are also anti-perspirants, and moisturisers and make-ups marketed with sun protection claims. Such products must comply with both cosmetic and drugs. So unless you wish to go down the rabbit hole of legal requirements and lab testing, do not make any types of medical claims what so ever on your products, however small. The benefit of minor skin conditions for instance would still fall under the classification of a drug, if you are claiming to make any changes to the structure or function of the body or any components of it, then it is classified as a drug.
A few points to consider when it comes to labelling for you products, luckily you do not need to get your label approved by the FDA beforehand, but it is your responsibility to make sure your label is accurate and follows all the guidelines such as the following:
Name of product on the label.
This one is simple – you must have the name of the product on the label
All the ingredients must be listed in their common name or scientific name without any further description. If the ingredients are certified organic you can use it as part of the name in that list, but it needs to be at the end, but this is why you sometimes see a little star next to some ingredients and then that star is explained below the ingredient list as marking those ingredients as all natural, naturally derived or organic, since you don’t list that type of descriptive term with the ingredient list.
Directions for safe use. You must have a directions for safe use on your label, add to this any safety warnings like do not use on open wounds or is not meant to treat or cure any medical conditions. Also a big point to remember is just because something is natural, it does not make it safe for everyone. Arsenic is natural for instance, so is uranium. Even some essential oils that are completely natural can be quite hazardous to certain people with certain conditions and when not used properly.
As for cosmetics color additives are the only ingredient that has to be approved by the FDA, so it is recommended not to use those. The term natural is not a regulatory term and you can use that however you want, it doesn’t have any meaning with the FDA or as a term of safety. The FDA does not regulate the term organic but the USDA does, so you can not state your product is organic unless you have it independently tested and approved by them. You can list the ingredients with a little star that have been approved by the USDA as certified organic, but this does not make the product itself certified organic unless you want to get it approved by the USDA.
Name and Place of business.
The FDA requires cosmetic labels to identify the name and the place of the business. You need the physical place of the business or the place where the products are made, not just a PO Box or a website address alone.
Qualtity of product
The quantity of product on ounces or grams must be listed.
Make sure every part of the type face is clearly legible and you need to check the specific details regarding the size of the label, for every container has its own rules on the size of the label needed. If you have a box that contains the product and container, you need to have a similar label on both of those containers.
Dont forget to include an expiration from open date, for example use within six months from date opened. You could even have a gap on in the use by so you can hand write this when you make the products.
If you are looking for a ready made template the following are easily customisable designs you can easily edit to suit your brand.
You can use an easy editable product label template to get the right look for your product.