Last 1st July 2019, an update of the ARPP recommendations relating to cosmetics came into force in France. These new measures will partly end the “free from” claims on cosmetic products’ labels.

France : Entrée en vigueur de l’interdiction des allégations « sans » pour les produits cosmétiques

No more “free from…” claims on labels

The reasons of this change

Since 1st July 2019, new recommendations published by the ARPP (the French professional advertising regulatory authority) apply in France. The recommendations are based on a document published by a sub working group of the European Commission, the Technical document on cosmetic claims, of 3rd July 2017, which provides guidance on the interpretation of the cosmetic regulation.

New rules for cosmetic products' labels

The labels will now need to focus on positive claims. “Free from” claims concerning ingredients already banned in cosmetics will be restricted, as well as those implying a denigration of the ingredient it refers to (i.e. “paraben-free”). “Allergen-free” claims will also be prohibited, as the label should not give the impression that a complete absence of allergic reaction is guaranteed by the product.

These rules apply only to products marketed from 1st July onwards. Companies will therefore not need to withdraw those of their products advertising such claims already on the market.

Some “free from” claims are still allowed

However, some claims will still be authorised by the controlling body. Specifically, those allowing targeted consumer groups to make informed choices. For instance, a mouthwash destined to the whole family may mention “alcohol-free” on its label; and a product destined to vegans may advertise “free from ingredients of animal origin”.

Mixed reactions

An organic cosmetic label, Cosmébio, considers these new guidelines a way to harm the organic cosmetic industry. For them, this decision is nothing more than an over-interpretation of the law and could even deprive consumers from the transparency they are due.

For others, such as FEBEA (the federation of beauty companies), it is good news for the beauty sector. The strong>restriction of “free from” claims on the labels of cosmetic products can help preventing misleading consumers or create false controversies on specific ingredients which, when used in accordance with the regulations, should not present any risks.

Wish to know more more on the cosmetic regulation?

For more information, do not hesitate to contact our expert Sylvain de Backer by phone: +33 1 83 64 20 54 for Europe or +1 (778) 234 1607 for North America or even by mail at [email protected].


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