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Industry InsightLatest NewsMarketingRegulations24/05/2021New Standards for Advertising Cosmetics in China

Cosmetic Ingredients

Following is the new publish from Shanghai Advertising Supervision and Administration.

Due to the revision of the “Regulations on Cosmetics Hygiene Supervision”, the original cosmetics advertising publication standards are adjusted according to the Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulations.

1. The content of cosmetics advertisements must be true, healthy, scientific, and accurate, and must not deceive or mislead consumers in any form.

2. According to the “Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulations (CSAR)”: cosmetics are divided into special cosmetics and general cosmetics. The state implements registration management for special cosmetics and filing (Notification) management for general cosmetics. Cosmetics used for hair coloring, perming, freckle whitening, sun protection, anti-hair loss, and cosmetics that claim new effects are special cosmetics. Cosmetics other than special cosmetics are general cosmetics. Special cosmetics can only be produced and imported after they have been registered by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA).

According to the first paragraph of Article 11 of the “Advertising Law”, the advertisement of registered products should be consistent with the contents of the registration permission. Which means when advertising special cosmetics or the efficacy of special cosmetics, a special cosmetics registration certificate issued by the NMPA shall be provided. For special cosmetics advertisements that cannot provide registration certificates, according to the second paragraph of Article 34 of the “Advertising Law”, advertising operators are not allowed to provide design, production, and agency services, and advertisement publishers are not allowed to publish.

A 5-year transition period (to the end of 2025) for cosmetics registered before the implementation of the “Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulations (CSAR)” for hair growth, hair removal, beauty milk, bodybuilding, and deodorant. During the transition period, the production, import, and sales can continue, and the cosmetics cannot be produced, imported, or sold after the transition period expires. During the transition period, it is also possible to hold the original special-purpose cosmetics approval documents to publish advertisements.

3. According to Article 43 of the CSAR, the content of cosmetics advertisements should be true and legal. Cosmetics advertisements must not express or imply that the products have medical effects, must not contain false or misleading content, and must not deceive or mislead consumers. The use of guarantees in the names of others or suggestive methods to mislead consumers with the effectiveness is all illegal.

4. The use of performance, function, and sales data in cosmetics advertisements shall comply with Article 8 and Article 11 of the Advertising Law:

  • If it involves quoting third-party survey and statistical data, the source shall be indicated in the advertisement;
  • If the data that are only applicable to some scope or have the validity period should be clearly stated.
  • For the data related to performance and functions are derived from the results of experiments or surveys,  if the conditions, methods, and scope of the experiments or surveys have a significant impact on consumers’ correct understanding of the relevant advertising data claims,  it should be marked and clearly to be indicated.
  • Some results of experiments or surveys that are carried out on specific groups of people in a specific way may contain uncertain and non-reproducible results. Therefore, advertising such products with promises or guarantees based on the results could lead to potential legal risks.

5. Advertisements for cosmetics must not promote medical effects.

6. The name of cosmetics in advertisements should not contain terms such as “Chinese medicine”, “Chinese herbal medicine”, “Chinese medicine essence”, such as “Chinese medicine hair dye”, “Chinese medicine essence shampoo”, etc.

7. In cosmetic advertisements, words such as “Chinese medicine”, “Chinese herbal medicine” and “Chinese medicine essence” shall not be used in conjunction with cosmetics trademarks and categories, etc., to produce meaning equivalent to “Chinese medicine”, “Chinese herbal medicine”, “Chinese medicine essence”, such as “Chinese Medicine Essence XX Products” and so on.

8. In cosmetic advertisements, words such as “Chinese medicine”, “Chinese herbal medicine” and “Chinese medicine essence” must not be used in combination with the effects of cosmetics, so that consumers may misunderstand the mechanism and scope of use of cosmetics, such as “Chinese medicine for anti-dandruff”.

9. For cosmetics with statutory permitted TCM ingredients, specific TCM product names (such as “ginseng”, “shouwu”, etc.) may appear in cosmetic advertisements.

10. Whether the use of words such as “Chinese medicine”, “Chinese herbal medicine” and “Chinese medicine essence” in cosmetics advertisements in addition to the above circumstances constitutes a medical promotion should be determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the relevant advertising context.