Frequently Asked Questions on Whether Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Copy Violates the Advertising Law

China,Cosmetic,Personal Care Products,FAQ,Advertising Law

As we know, cosmetics and personal care products are fashion industry. The technical factors, like function of ingredient, formulation, safety of raw material and finished goods, manufacturing technique, are the basis to develop a safe and qualified product. Besides, the merchants do lots of work on package design and claiming words which are visual for consumers so as to make their products be hot items. That’s why consumers would be dazzled and confused by various claiming words and packages. Despite there are related labelling requirements, it is difficult to identify which claiming words are legal as result of the diversity of language expression and subjectivity of understanding.

Here are the summary of FAQs replied by Shanghai Municipal Market Supervision Administration regarding whether cosmetics and personal care products copy violates the Advertising Law.

Q. The product itself is a natural product. Can we use "pure natural" in the commodity details page? Is it a superlative word?

A: It's not a superlative word, but the company should be responsible for authenticity.

Q .Are" long lasting” and “anti-aging” the superlative words?

A: They are not a superlative word, but it is necessary to provide relevant evidentiary materials.

Q. For terms used in non-commodity descriptions, some terms are provided by foreign brands. When translating slogans, they may sound like superlative words. Can we still use those terms? Since the slogan should be adhered to the brand itself.

A: Items sold in China must abide by domestic laws.

Q. I am making skin care products and I have two questions. First, is it illegal to use “to let you to the peak of the life and marry goddess” in advertisement? Second, are prohibited words and superlative words the same?  

A: It is not recommended to use this term in advertisements. It may violate good social conventions.

Superlative words refer specifically to the provisions of Item (3) of article 9 of the People's Republic of China Advertising Law. The prohibited words have a broader meaning. You can refer to the article 9, 13, 16, 17 and 20 in the People's Republic of China Advertising Law.

Q. Whether the words ” sun protection but non-fading” are regarded as superlative words or false promotion?

A: Literally, it is not superlative word. But advertising should be real, legal, and in line with actual condition. Otherwise it may form a false advertising.

Q. Are “high quality” and “strong” the superlative words?

A: No.

Q. Is "high end" the superlative word?

A: "High end" is not a superlative word.

Q. If “high-end” is not a superlative word, should we prove it if we are complained?

A: Generally, it is not considered illegal.

Q. Is "luxury" the superlative word?

A: On the basis of authenticity, it can be used.

Q. Is “Extreme” the superlative word?

A: Combined with semantic context, “extreme” is suspected as absolute terms

Q. Are “flash sale, essential and clear plaque” the superlative words?

A: They are not superlative words, but the company should be responsible for authenticity.

Q. Is “excellence" a superlative word?

A: It's not a superlative word.

Q. Is "professional" a superlative word?

A: It's not a superlative word.

Q. Can I use Pinyin (Chinese phonetic alphabet) or English, such as "Zui perfect" in the advertisement? Is it against advertising law?

A: First, according to the Interim Provisions on the Administration of Advertising Language, it is not allowed to use either Chinese phonetic alphabet or foreign languages alone. Therefore, it is illegal to use any phonetic alphabet or English alone for any expression of meaning. When an advertisement for goods or services indicates the “national level”, “top level”, “best” and so on, it may be considered as a violation of Article 9 (3) of the Advertising Law.

Q. Can we claim efficacy for non-special use cosmetics? For example, “Hydrating and diminishing dark circles and pouches”.

A: The descriptive words such as hydrating and diminishing dark circles are commonly used on the pouches in the market. However, they are not in accordance with the location of use through the legal definition of cosmetics, and should not be declared. Please make a judgment according to the specific products and relevant regulations, or consult the competent authority with the product samples. It is recommended to read the Cosmetics Naming Regulations, Cosmetics Naming Guidelines and the CFDA Notice regarding the Adjustment of the Registration and Record-keeping of Cosmetics (Notice no. 10).

Cosmetics Naming Guidelines:

CFDA Notice regarding the Adjustment of the Registration and Record-keeping of Cosmetics (Notice no. 10)

Q. What kind of documents required for claim support like “durable, waterproof, non-staining, non-fading for lipstick and eyeliner? Can we use the factory's own experimental report if there is no such testing methods in national product standards?

A: Your own experimental report is a kind of proof material.

Q. If it is an imported product but filled and packed in mainland China, can we advertise that it is an imported product?

A: Domestic filled and packed products can’t be advertised as imported products. The name and address of the contract manufacturer has to be indicated on the label.

Q. Is it legal to use "relieving sensitivity, hormone face and suitable for sensitive skin" to describe product?

A: Advertising terms should be authentic, legal, clear, and accurate. The propaganda content of special-use cosmetics should be consistent with the approval license, meantime therapeutic effect is not allowed to advertise for cosmetics.

Q. I make toothpaste. Is it considered false advertising to use "whitening" on the detail page and master map?

A: “Whitening" is not a limit word. However, authenticity proof is required. Otherwise, it will be considered as false propaganda.

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