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Home Codes Advertising Code of Practice Appendix B - Advertising of Cosmetics

Appendix B - Advertising of Cosmetics

B Cosmetics, fragrances and toiletries
  1. Definition of a "Cosmetic Product”
    1. "A Cosmetic Product” shall mean any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance and/or correcting body odours and / or protecting them or keeping them in good condition” (Foodstuff, Disinfectants and Cosmetic Act 54 of 1975).
    2. The definition specifies six functions pertaining to cosmetic products, namely:
      1. to clean;
      2. to perfume;
      3. to change the appearance;
      4. to correct body odours;
      5. to protect; or
      6. to keep in good condition.

        If a product does not have at least one of the functions listed in 1.2 above as its primary purpose, it is not a cosmetic. However, primary cosmetics can also have secondary functions e.g. a body wash with an antibacterial/antifungal secondary function, where the primary purpose complies with 1.2 Claims for these secondary functions can only be made in a cosmetic sense.

    3. It would be noted that the field of application of cosmetics remains as before –
      1. the epidermis;
      2. the hair system;
      3. the nails;
      4. the lips;
      5. the external genital organs; and
      6. the teeth.
      7. the mucous membranes of the oral cavity.
    4. Products which are intended to be ingested, inhaled or applied to body parts not covered by the definition are not cosmetics.
  2. The use of words/symbols in a cosmetic context and in a medicinal context
    1. The cosmetic context has the typical characteristics of:
      1. Temporary action;
      2. Improvement of the appearance of the skin;
      3. To be used regularly to maintain the effect; or
      4. The effect is aimed at grooming and enhancing the appearance of the skin texture.
    2. The medicinal context has the typical characteristics of:
      1. Permanent or drastic effects after completion of a treatment;
      2. Healing or curative aspects;
      3. To be used restrictively because of the potency of the treatment;
      4. The effect is aimed at treatment of or relieving a disease condition.
    3. The use of a medical symbol is not allowed on a cosmetic product.
  3. Unacceptable claims
    1. Unacceptable claims are claims that are used and not substantiated, or claim statements not worded in a cosmetic sense.
    2. In general, no cosmetic claims for products used on mucous membranes (except the mouth) will be allowed.
    3. Claims suggesting permanent effects are not allowed for cosmetics.
    4. The term "cosmeceutical” is not permitted with reference to cosmetic products as it is misleading. Any similar term would also not be permitted.
    5. Medicinal claims are not permitted for all cosmetic products types.
    6. An advertisement shall not claim or imply that a cosmetic product can cure or permanently prevent a specific condition that is a symptom of disease. The advertisement shall state that the condition can be alleviated by regular use of the product.
    7. Claims implying physiological action are not allowed.
    8. Claims that make reference to the removal of cellulite, weight loss or slimming are not allowed.
    9. A product may not claim to bleach, whiten or lighten the skin.
    10. No claim for protection against radiation other than UVA or UVB is permitted.
    11. Claims for UV protection must be qualified with the reference to UVA or UVB protection or both
    12. The claims "waterproof” and/or "sweat resistant” are not permitted.
    13. Claims shall not be made or imply 100% protection from UV radiation, e.g. block, sunblock, sun blocker or total protection.
  4. Substantiation
    1. ‘Scientific substantiation’ means substantiation based on statistically valid data, employing a validated, proven scientific method, that is compliant with recognized standards and/or best practice where relevant and applicable to the claim being made. Such substantiation is inclusive of but not limited to, sensory data generated by expert panels.
    2. Claims for cosmetic products that require substantiation must have appropriate scientific substantiation.
  5. Use of the words "Natural” and "Organic”
    1. Claims relating to the use of the words "Natural” and "Organic” shall not be misleading.
    2. "Natural” or "Organic” claims made for ingredients and/or finished products shall require appropriate scientific substantiation.
  6. Use of the word "Pure”
    1. The use of the word "Pure” would require scientific substantiation and the ingredients referred to would have to be a cosmetic grade or higher.
  7. Non-content claims
    1. Non-content claims should be allowed as long as the following criteria are respected:
      1. It is not the main argument of the product but provides additional information to Consumers.
      2. It is not disparaging for competitors, in particular, it does not put forward a risk or danger to health or the environment.
      3. It is fair and not misleading, especially with respect to the ingredient or ingredients that are the subject of the claim being made.
    2. Non-Content claims should therefore be allowed with the following restriction:
      1. It is relevant for the product category (any XXX-free claim is not acceptable when XXX is either forbidden or would not form part of a relevant cosmetic composition).
      2. It is an "information claim” (with this in mind, one can accept that people being intolerant to an ingredient may want to find such ingredient-free products).
      3. It is not linked to any benefit (including safety benefit) of the product.
  8. Claims made for ingredients
    1. Mention of ingredients may be made but if specific claims for such ingredients are made, adequate and verifiable evidence, such as by demonstrating the presence of the ingredient at an effective concentration, must be provided to prove that the product itself has those properties.
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