September 8, 2020

The future of Cosmetic Claims – Free from Claims


In July 2018 the European Commission provided a Technical Guidance Document on Cosmetic Claims. This document is intended to guide companies and Competent Authorities in the application of the Common Claim Criteria laid down in Regulation (EU) No. 655.2013.

On release this document, rather than providing clarity on the requirements, added to the confusion surrounding this topic. At the time it was impossible to predict how and when National Authorities would choose to interpret or enforce this guidance.

Two years on from this initial guidance the position of EU Member States is clearer with several taking extremely strong stances against ‘Free from Claims’. It is becoming increasingly clear that these claims will no longer be acceptable in the EU and industry is swiftly moving away from making these claims.

Of particular concern are claims such as ‘Free from Parabens’, ‘No Preservatives’ or ‘Free from harmful chemicals’. These claims which denigrate groups of ingredients are no longer permissible in the EU and should be removed.

There are situations where certain free from claims are allowable. If it can be shown that the claim allows informed decision-making for the consumer a claim can be allowed. Some examples of these are:

  • Free from alcohol – in a mouthwash product intended as a family product this could be justified
  • Sulphate Free – In a hair styling product where there is a justification for preventing colour loss this may be allowable

As with all claims in the EU the Responsible Person has the final say in where a claim is acceptable or not. If in doubt, please reach out to your MSL contact.

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