Marketing claims related to cosmetics

Claims used to market cosmetics must be truthful. Marketing claims must not link products to properties or effects that the product does not actually have, and it must be possible to prove all made claims.

Information provided on a product must be:

  • useful
  • understantable
  • reliable.

Consumers and professionals must be able to make informed choices based on the provided information when considering whether to purchase the product.

The aim of the EU cosmetics claims regulation is to

  • guarantee protection for end users from misleading claims in relation to cosmetic products;
  • enhance consumer protection and equal standing of different actors; and
  • promote fair trading.

When presenting marketing claims all criteria put forward in the cosmetics claims regulation must be met (Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013 on laying down common criteria for the justification of claims used in relation to cosmetic products).
In addition to the criteria put forward in the cosmetics claim regulation, the commission guidelines, can be used to help determine how to comply with the criteria in practice.

Criteria for marketing claims

The following 6 criteria apply to claims used to market cosmetics in the EU/EEA area:

  • Legal compliance
  • Truhfulness
  • Evidential support
  • Honesty
  • Fairness

  • Informed decision-making

The responsible person and the distributor are responsible for ensuring that the marketing claims used in relation to their products meet the criteria. 

Claims are an integral part of products and must contain information allowing the average end user to make an informed choice. Marketing claims must be easy to understand regardless of whether the product is intended for consumers or professionals.

Legal compliance

Claim: Cosmetic skin cream X can be used to treat psoriasis and rashes.

The purpose of the cosmetic product is to care for, cleanse, keep in good condition, perfume, change the appearance of or protect external parts of the human body or mucous membranes of the oral cavity and teeth. Based on this, so-called medical claims that promise that the product cures illness or its symptoms are not permitted.

Claim: Cosmetic product X has been approved by an authority.

Cosmetic products sold in the EU/EEA are never approved in advance. Thus, claims that say a product is approved by an authority are not permitted.

Claim: Skin cream X does not contain hydrochinone.

According to Annex III of the EU Regulation on Cosmetic Products, the use of hydrochinone is only permitted in artificial nails. Skin creams must not contain hydrochinone. Marketing claims that are based on compliance with legal minimum requirements must not be used in the marketing of cosmetic products. In this case, legislation stipulates that the skin cream must not contain hydrochinone, which is why this marketing claim is not permitted.


Claim: Product X contains honey.

If a product is claimed to contain honey it must contain actual honey and not honey aroma. A claim must not provide incorrect or irrelevant information on the product.

Claim: Product X is suitable for people suffering from allergies.

Marketing claims must be truthful, and they must not provide misleading information on the safety of the product. If the product contains commonly known allergens the product must not be marketed as suitable for people suffering from allergies.

Evidential support

Claim: Skin cream X reduces small wrinkles in the skin after just 14 days of use, making the skin look brighter and younger.

It must be possible to prove marketing claims made about a cosmetic product. If research data is used as proof, the results must be significant and well-designed methods must be used for the research. The methodology must be valid, reliable and reproducible. Ethical considerations must also be taken into account.


Claim: One million people recommend purchasing product X.

This type of claim is not permitted if the claim is based on one million products sold.


Claim: Unlike product X, this product does not contain ingredient Y which is known to be an irritant.

Claims related to cosmetic products must be unbiased and they must not downplay competing products or the use of legal ingredients.

Claim: Anti-perspirant X is more effective than deodorant Y.

This type of comparison is not permitted because the products are based on two different mechanisms of action. This type of a claim may mislead consumers and cause confusion related to competing products.

Informed decision-making

Claim: Product X is unscented.

This claim can be used if its intent is to communicate that the product is suitable to consumers who are allergic to perfumes, for example. This also requires that the product does not contain perfumes.