Lithuania: cosmetic product marketing claims.

Cosmetic product claims are an essential tool for cosmetic producers to promote the features and quality of cosmetic products to consumers. Not only cosmetic claims must be based on correct and product-related information so as to avoid any misleading advertising, but they should also be understandable to consumers. The main purpose of cosmetic product claims is to allow  consumers to make informed decisions and choose products that best suit their needs and expectations.

Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 mentions cosmetic product claims: “In the labeling, making available on the market and advertising of cosmetic products, text, names, trademarks, pictures and figurative or other signs shall not be used to imply that these products have characteristics or functions which they do not have”. A claim on a cosmetic product is publicly available information on the composition, nature, effect, properties or efficacy of a cosmetic product.[1] In addition, a regulation specific to cosmetic claims (EC No 655/2013) has been published in order to ensure a high level of protection for consumers, in particular from misleading claims concerning cosmetic products. Cosmetic producers must comply with the six common criteria, namely legal compliance, truthfulness, evidential support, honesty, fairness and informed decision making, in order to justify the cosmetic product claim. Furthermore, article 17 of the Law on Advertising (No VIII-1871) prohibits advertising not conforming to provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products.

Companies must be aware that in the advertising of cosmetic products it is prohibited to use claims which could imply that those products possess properties or functions which they really do not have. If cosmetic product manufacturers indicate that a product contains a specific ingredient, such ingredient must be present in the product. Cosmetic product claims must also be supported by adequate and verifiable evidence.  For example, the cosmetic claim “48-hour hydration” will not be allowed if the set of evidence only supports a shorter period of hydration.

As practice shows, companies are facing a number of problems when making cosmetic product marketing claims. The most common non-compliance issue is that companies lack evidential proof for their cosmetic claims. Another problem is that companies are often making claims which state that a cosmetic product has some healing effect or can treat a disease. In the announcement of 7th June 2018, the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority (hereinafter – the Authority) indicated that several companies, which used prohibited cosmetic claims in promotion of their products, were fined.  The cosmetic product marketing claims used by the companies indicated that the cosmetic products (i.e. toothpaste) had some healing and preventive properties. For example, it was stated that the toothpaste “reduces susceptibility to damaged gums, inhibits bleeding and heals” and”has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects”, etc. The Authority has established that such claims could have given consumers the impression that the toothpaste marketed by the companies had properties or functions, namely the healing and preventive properties, which did not actually exist, thereby misleading consumers.[2] The cosmetic product claims published by the companies described the features of a medical product rather than a cosmetic product.  A product that has other features, such as to cure or treat a disease, cannot be considered a cosmetic product, it should be registered as a medical product.[3]

In order for companies to avoid non-compliance when making cosmetic product claims, it is essential to ensure that each cosmetic product claim meets the common criteria indicated in the regulation, namely that it is true, honest, supported by adequate evidences and is not misleading.

[1] Guidelines of Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), UK.
[2] Source: the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority

[3] Source: the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority


Related Experience

Advising a leading retail chain in the Baltics on the EU competition aspects of a proposed joint purchasing agreement.

Assisted INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund in acquiring controlling stake in Eco Baltia. VILGERTS team assisted in the whole process, including with legal due diligence, merger control, transaction advisory and negotiations.

Assistance to Easytrip B.V. in a legal action in Netherlands against SIA Kreiss. The court in Netherlands has passed a decision favourable to the client in late 2019, which is already being enforced in Latvia.

Providing legal assistance to one of the largest Latvian glass manufacturers in a cross-border dispute with Italian company regarding the delivered goods. On 26 June 2019 the court satisfied client’s request to ensure the claim by seizing the debtor’s financial means in Italy.