Key Components of a Cosmetic Label

What is a Cosmetic?

Cosmetics are a part of just about everyone’s life. Every day, most of us use products like soap, moisturizing creams, or shampoo. In Canada, cosmetic products are defined as “any substance or mixture of substances, manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes.” All cosmetic products sold in Canada must comply with the Canadian Food and Drugs Act and its Cosmetic Regulations. Prior to selling any cosmetic products according to section 30 of the Cosmetic Regulations, all manufacturers and importers are required to submit a fully completed Cosmetic Notification Form (CNF) to Health Canada within the first 10 days of first sale within Canada. 

Are your Cosmetic Ingredients safe by Health Canada Standards?

Most cosmetics are safe, but they can sometimes cause health problems, like allergic reactions and skin irritation. To determine if an ingredient is safe for use in cosmetics, You must ensure that none of the ingredients are restricted as shown on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. You can also refer to Health Canada Cosmetic Safety for more information related to cosmetic safety and other adverse effects.

What are the Key Components I Need on My Cosmetic Label?


Manufacturer Name

Sometimes it is necessary for the consumer or other interest groups to know the identity of the party that is responsible for a product. This party is often known as the manufacturer or dealer. Therefore, cosmetic labels need to include the name of the manufacturer or dealer in the event that they need to be contacted.


The INCI name refers to the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredient name. INCI is the acceptable terminology for listing ingredients on the label. The INCI names are based on Latin and considered multi-lingual therefore the French or English ingredient names do not need to be provided on the label, only the INCI names. 

Outer Label 

The outer label is often described as the outer carton label (i.e., label on a box containing a bottle of a cosmetic product). On the outer label, the declaration of product identity must appear in both English and French on the principal display panel. The declaration must clearly contrast both with the background of the label and all other information. All cosmetic products require the ingredient names to be listed on the outer label. Ingredients must be listed in decreasing order of predominance in their concentration by weight

Inner Label 

On the inner label, the declaration of product identity must appear in both English and French on the principal display panel. The declaration must contrast clearly with the background and all other information that appears on the label.

Obvious Identity: In certain cases, if the identity of a product such as an eyebrow pencil, an automatic mascara applicator, or a compact including powder and puff may be considered obvious, and a written declaration of product identity would not be necessary. However, if the product is in an opaque container, the identity of the product must be expressed. 

Single Expressions: Certain expressions are considered officially bilingual in themselves, such as “parfum,” “eau de toilette,” or “cologne.” The requirements are the same as those for the outer labels of products that have both an outer and inner label. 

Additional Panels: The labels of some pre-packaged products are composed of one or more additional panels of the same size and prominence as the principal display panel. The product identity may be given on the principal display panel in only one of the two official languages if it is also given in the other language on one of the other panels.

Typeface: There is no restriction concerning the typeface that may be used. The information, however, must be legible.

Net Quantity of the Product

The packaging and label should be constructed or presented in such a way that the consumer will not be misled about the quality or quantity of the product contained inside.

As required by sections 22, 23, and 36 of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations, the declaration of the net quantity of a pre-packaged product must be expressed

  • by volume when the product is a liquid, gas, or viscous substance (mL, L) 
  • by weight when the product is a solid (g, kg) 

Cosmetic Notification

Failure to notify Health Canada may result in a product being refused entry into Canada or removed from sale. A Cosmetic Notification is not a product application, evaluation, or an approval procedure.  You are required to make sure that the product is classified as a cosmetic and is in compliance with all regulatory requirements. Our Experts at Quality Smart Solutions  can help review your ingredients, file your Cosmetic Notification  and ensure you have a compliant label. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your smooth entrance to market as well as your compliant needs during and after market. 


Canada, Health. “Government of Canada.”, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 22 July 2020,

Canada, Health. “Government of Canada.”, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 16 Feb. 2021,

Branch, Legislative Services. “Consolidated Federal Laws of Canada, Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations.” Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 16 Nov. 2021,,_c._417/.


The Components of an NHP Label

The product label is something we all look at in our daily lives, but not everyone is well equipped with the tools to read them efficiently. It can be challenging to try and navigate this space, especially for Natural Health Products (NHP), which can have multiple ingredients. First, you may be wondering what exactly is a Natural Health Product. Well, a natural health product is defined as:

A substance set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a combination of substances in which all the medicinal ingredients are substances set out in Schedule 1, a homeopathic medicine or a traditional medicine that is manufactured, sold or represented for use in: 

(a) the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state or its symptoms in humans; 

(b) restoring or correcting organic functions in humans; or 

(c) modifying organic functions in humans, such as modifying those functions in a manner that maintains or promotes health.

Health Canada regulates Natural Health Products, and there is a subset of applicable requirements at each lifecycle stage of a product. For example, during the licensing stage, the Management of Applications Policy (MAP) guidance is used, while during the labelling phase, the Label Guidance Document is used. 

Each NHP, which has been reviewed and approved for sale by Health Canada, is issued an 8-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) (800XXXXX). This NPN is required to be listed on the front panel of a product label. Therefore, any product which does not have this listed has not been approved for sale. 

Additionally, Health Canada has created a Licensed Natural Health Products Database (LNHPD) for further convenience, which allows you to search and view product information based on the 8-digit NPN number.

The LNHPD provides the following information at your fingertips and is updated nightly to ensure you get the most up to date information:

  • product name
  • product licence holder
  • Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM)
  • product’s medicinal ingredients
  • product’s non-medicinal ingredients
  • product’s dosage form
  • product’s recommended use or purpose (i.e. its health claim or indication)
  • risk information associated with the product’s use (i.e. cautions, warnings, contra-indications and known adverse reactions)

You may be wondering, is there a reliable source of information to do further research on some of the information provided by the LNHPD, such as medicinal ingredients, non-medicinal ingredients, and dosage form? Thankfully, there is a source known as the Natural Health Product Ingredients Database (NHPID).

The NHPID is an electronic tool that provides information on the following:

  • acceptable medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients used in Natural Health Products (NHP)
  • standard terminology used by the Natural Health Products Online System (NHP Online System), known as “Controlled Vocabulary”, referring to acceptable quality test methods, dosage forms, non-medicinal ingredient purposes, and so on.
  • pre-cleared information such as single ingredient monographs, product monographs and abbreviated labelling standards (AbLS)

The NHPID is a living database and is constantly updated with new ingredients or monograph iterations, all of which have been reviewed by Health Canada.

As one can see, many nuances exist in what some may consider a simple product label.  Our experts at Quality Smart Solutions are here to help you navigate through this process.

Our Experts at Quality Smart Solutions also offer to support your needs for foods, cosmetics, OTC drugs and medical devices for North America. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your compliance needs during and after licensing!

How We Can Help

Our Experts at Quality Smart Solutions also offer to support your needs for foods, cosmetics, OTC drugs and medical devices for North America.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your compliance needs during and after licensing!

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