California Passes Label Law on Professional Cosmetics


More than half a million salons, manicurists and cosmetologists operate in the state of California, and each interacts with cosmetic products on a frequent basis. This fact set into motion a bill mandating that professional cosmetics be labeled just like commercial ones—and the state's legislature just passed it.

According to the state, existing federal law does not regulate professional cosmetics in the same way as cosmetics sold commercially. Yet information on the ingredients in professional products is essential to ensure individuals make safe choices and take steps to protect themselves against exposure.

The Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law regulates the labeling of cosmetics. It also authorizes the State Department of Public Health to require a label listing ingredients under specified circumstances. The law makes violating these provisions a crime, and will now extend to professional cosmetics manufactured on or after July 1, 2020.

Related: Laying Down the Law: EU Labeling Requirements

Specifically, Section 110371 has been added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

(a) A professional cosmetic manufactured on or after July 1, 2020, for sale in this state shall have a label affixed on the container that satisfies all of the labeling requirements for any other cosmetic pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 301, et seq.), and the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1451, et seq.).

(b) The following definitions shall apply to this section: (1) “Ingredient” has the same meaning as in Section 111791.5. (2) “Professional” means a person that has been granted a license by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to practice in the field of cosmetology, nail care, barbering, or esthetics. (3) “Professional cosmetic” means a cosmetic product as it is defined in Section 109900 that is intended or marketed to be used only by a professional on account of a specific ingredient, increased concentration of an ingredient, or other quality that requires safe handling, or is otherwise used by a professional.

According to the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, there are more than 129,000 licensed manicurists and nearly 53,000 licensed salon businesses, many of which provide manicure services. There also are more than 312,000 licensed cosmetologists who provide nail and hair services. The state notes that most cosmetologists and manicurists are of reproductive age and, therefore, particularly vulnerable to chemical exposures. This move is in the interest of their general health.

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