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From Perfume to Eye Liner: Labeling Tips for Cosmetics Manufacturers

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Your cosmetics labeling has to push past a sea of competitors and give consumers a reason to buy.

The beauty and cosmetics industry is a $500 billion business. For perspective, the first time the movie industry reached $100 billion was in 2019. To capture a piece of the beauty and cosmetics market, your products have to push their way through a sea of competitors, give consumers a reason to trust you, and motive to buy what you’re offering. It all starts with grabbing their attention on the store shelf. Before your perfume can delight someone's senses or discover your mascara is resistant to smudging, they have to develop an instant visual bond with your label.

It's important to note that before you worry about your labels' aesthetics, there are other factors to consider. It would be disheartening to create a beautiful label only to find out that it can't be used. But here's the good news: there's no technique being used by the top cosmetics companies that you can’t access.

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FDA Requirements for Cosmetics Manufacturers

To start, make sure you’re familiar with the FDA’s guidelines. The rules are in place to protect the consumer, and the FDA takes them seriously. Below are some things to keep in mind when you’re preparing to design your label.

  • Information - The Principal Display Panel (PDP) is the front of your label or package. This is where you will place your Product Identity and Net Weight. The Net Weight must be written in bold. The sides or back are where you will place your Ingredients, Allergen Statements, and Manufacturer Information. Make sure your ingredients list is in order of predominance by weight, list your company’s contact information, and include any warnings.
  • Size - The FDA requires a font size to be at least 1/16 inch for contents for a PDP that’s less than 5 inches square. You can measure your upper case L’s and lowercase o’s to be sure you’re in compliance. In other words, your label will have to be large enough to contain all the text you need at a size that is legible.
  • Certifications - While these may not be required by the FDA, they are a good idea to include from a marketing standpoint. Vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, made in a specific country or region, hypoallergenic, any provable certification that can give your product credibility is worth including on your label.

Types of Cosmetics Labels & Labeling

Whether you’re labeling a pump, sprayer, jar, compact, dropper, or another container type, it’s essential that the label fits properly and is applied professionally. Because there are so many different cosmetics container shapes, labeling methods vary. Not all shapes are simple boxes or cylinders, and the label shapes and application techniques can get complicated.

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  • Wrap Around Labels - If you want to label a lot of cylindrical cosmetic containers quickly, including pens and pencils or lip gloss, wrap around labels are an excellent choice. You can make your labels clear to show off the product inside, or use double-sided labels with print on the inside that’s meant to be seen through a clear container. When applying a label to a cylinder, or at least a cylindrical area of a container, the application is a bit simpler. Labelers like Pack Leader USA’s PL-501 or 521 can make quick work of applying labels to cylinders.

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  • Front and Back Labels - If you want to limit the amount of material applied to your containers, you can go with front and back labels. You can still fit all the information and design elements you want and it opens up the possibility for container shapes beyond just cylinders, such as tubes.

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  • Full Body Sleeves - Perfect for cylinders or tubes, full body sleeves give you the freedom to use designs that make use of the entire container’s surface area. Transparent sleeves will also allow you to show off the product inside the container while offering protection against open testing. A labeler such as Pack Leader USA’s SL-301 can apply up to 550 sleeves per minute!
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  • Top and Bottom Labels - Since compacts tend to be flat and clamshell shaped, top and bottoms labels are a great option. And you don’t have to waste time applying them separately, either; a Pack Leader USA PL-221 can apply top and bottom labels simultaneously.

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  • End Dot Labels - Some products, such as lipstick, are too small for a large sleeve or wrap around label. While the box the lipstick gets packaged into may have all the FDA required information, the tube can still wear end dot labels to help the consumer know which shade or color they can expect from the lipstick itself. End dots are also excellent for smaller jars that aren’t big enough for top and bottom labels.

Designing Your Cosmetics Label

Now we get to the fun part. The actual design of your label, the first impression most people will have with your product, needs to stand out and grab attention on the shelf. A great first step is researching what the top cosmetics manufacturers have discovered in their research about what does and does not work. One thing they found was that it takes 7 seconds for someone to decide whether they’re going to buy or not. Here are the most influential factors.

  • Color - Even if your makeup itself is a different color, color on the packaging can stimulate certain emotions you want to foster in the consumer. Red can inspire feelings of passion and excitement, blue gives trust and security, black feels formal and serious, white promotes simplicity, yellow feels happy, and green implies natural or organic origins. It’s worth spending time figuring out what your brand or product is trying to say with its colors.
  • Font - Are you trying to give the impression of elegance? Rebellion? Serenity? Font choices are essential. Tall and thin, short and thick, flowing and handwritten, sternly typed, whatever your words are saying, the font can support or even contradict their message.
  • Texture - From smooth, transparent plastic to heavy woven materials, the texture says as much about the makeup as the marketing materials. A spare elegance from a smooth paper, a rustic charm from burlap, a natural or earthy feeling from a pebbled or orange peel-like quality, the feeling that the consumer gets from physical contact with your label will communicate what they can expect from the product inside.

Seek Advice from Cosmetics Labeling Experts

As cosmetics manufacturers, you know your product demands attention on the shelf. Get advice from experts who know how to make your labels stick and look great. Pack Leader USA has created a Guide to Labeling Cosmetic Containers you can download right now for free. Creating labels can seem like a monumental hurdle thanks to FDA regulations, established brands vying for customer dollars, and figuring out how to take advantage of myriad design options. But you don’t have to go at it alone — Pack Leader USA is here to help!

Get Free Labeling Cosmetic Containers Guide