Login Or Subscribe?
Home Codes Advertising Code of Practice Appendix B - Advertising of Cosmetics

Appendix B - Advertising of Cosmetics

  1. Preamble

    This section is supplementary to the general provisions of the Code. Special care should be taken by advertisers to ensure that the spirit, as well as the letter of these provisions, are scrupulously observed.

    For the purpose of this section of the Code, label includes advertising and any other form of product promotion.

    Category specific requirements take precedence over general requirements.

  2. Legality

    All advertising for cosmetics shall conform to the provision as accepted by the MCC Resolution 172.08.06 of October 1997, the Standards Act (Act 8 of 2008), and the requirements as laid out in the CTFA Cosmetic Compendium.

  3. Definition of a "cosmetic product"
    1. "A Cosmetic Product shall mean any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance and/or correcting body odours and/or protecting them or keeping them in good condition"

      Except where such cleaning, perfuming, protecting, changing, keeping or correcting is wholly for the purpose of treating or preventing disease.

    2. The definition specifies six functions pertaining to cosmetic products, namely-
      1. to clean;
      2. to perfume;
      3. to change the appearance;
      4. to correct body odours;
      5. to protect;
      6. to keep in good condition.

      If a product does not have at least one of these as its primary purpose, it is not a cosmetic. However, primary cosmetics can also have secondary functions, e.g. a body wash with an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal secondary function, where the primary purpose complies with 3.2. However claims for these secondary functions can only be made in a cosmetic sense.

    3. It would be noted that the field of application of cosmetics remains as before-
      1. the epidermis;
      2. the hair system;
      3. the nails;
      4. the lips;
      5. the external genital organs;
      6. the teeth;
      7. the mucous membranes of the oral cavity.
    4. Products which are intended to be ingested, inhaled or applied to body parts not covered by the definition are not cosmetics.
  4. The use of words in a cosmetic context and in a medicinal context
    1. The cosmetic context has the typical characteristics of-
      • temporary action
      • improvement of the appearance of the skin
      • to be used regularly to maintain the effect
      • the effect is aimed at grooming and enhancing the appearance of the skin texture.
    2. The medicinal context has the typical characteristics of-
      • permanent or drastic effects after completion of a treatment
      • healing or curative aspects
      • to be used restrictively because of the potency of the treatment
      • the effect is aimed at treatment of or relieving a disease condition.
    3. The use of a medical symbol is not allowed on a cosmetic product.
  5. Unacceptable claims
    1. Unacceptable claims are claims that are used and not substantiated, or claim statements not worded in a cosmetic sense.
    2. In general, no cosmetic claims for products used on mucous membranes (except the mouth) will be allowed.
    3. Claims suggesting permanent effects of cosmetics may not be used, e.g. permanent improvement, reversal of deterioration, etc.
    4. The term "cosmeceutical" is not permitted with reference to cosmetic products as it is misleading (reference: MCC Minutes of March 2000, Item 2.9). Any similar term would also not be permitted.
  6. Substantiation
    1. Claims relating to points of difference must have appropriate scientific substantiation defined as: Substantiation based on statistically valid data, employing a validated, proven, scientific method and applicable to the claim being made.
    2. Scientific substantiation will be judged according to international standards.
  7. Use of the words natural and organic
    1. Claims relating to the use of the words "Natural" and "Organic" shall not be misleading.
    2. "Natural" or "Organic" claims made for ingredients and/or finished products shall require appropriate scientific substantiation.
  8. Use of the word "pure"

    The use of the word "pure" would require scientific substantiation and the ingredients referred to would have to be a cosmetic grade or higher.

  9. Non-content claims
    1. Non-content claims should be allowed as long as the following criteria are respected-
      1. It is not the main argument of the product but provides additional information to consumers.
      2. It is not disparaging for competitors, in particular, it does not put forward a risk or danger to health or the environment.
      3. It is fair and not misleading, especially when the ingredient or combination of ingredients can be made indirectly, including through other material.
    2. Non-content claims should therefore be allowed with the following restriction-
      1. It is relevant for the product category (any XXX-free claim is not acceptable when XXX is either forbidden or would not form part of a relevant cosmetic composition).
      2. It is an "information claim" (with this in mind, one can accept that people being intolerant to an ingredient may want to find such ingredient-free products).
      3. It is not linked to any benefit (including safety benefit) of the product.
  10. Claims made for ingredients

    Mention of ingredients may be made but if specific claims for such ingedients are made, adequate and verifiable evidence, such as by demonstrating the presence of the ingredient at an effective concentration, must be provided to prove that the product itself has those properties.

  11. Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids
    1. As products containing AHAs and BHAs may lead to skin sensitivity to the sun it is recommended that the product contain UVB and UVA coverage and that the product contain a relevant Sun Alert Warning.
  12. Cosmetic cellulite products
    1. There must be a responsible approach to advertising.
    2. A healthy lifestyle must be encouraged. To advocate no dieting and no exercise should not be allowed.
    3. Claims should clearly focus on improving the appearance of the condition of the skin.
    4. Scientific Substantiation shall be required for all finite claims such as those listed in 12.5.
    5. Claims that make reference to the removal of cellulite, weight loss or slimming and those that claim a physiological action are not allowed.
  13. Skin lightener products
    1. A product may not claim to bleach, whiten or lighten the skin to lighter than the person's natural skin tone.
    2. Any term that directly or by implication claims to brighten or even the skin tone or similar would require acceptable scientific substantiations.
    3. No advertisement / label for a cosmetic product may claim that it does not contain an ingredient which is not normally permitted in cosmetics, for example "hydroquinone-free" or "steroid-free"
  14. Hair and scalp products
    1. All hair care products shall comply with the requirements in the CTFA Cosmetic Compendium and the ASA code of advertising practice; paying special attention to the "Caution" and "Warning" statements in the Annexes.
    2. All hair care products that make medicinal claims such as the following shall be registered with the MCC-
      • Restores hair growth.
      • Prevents hair loss, baldness, or thinning of hair, which occurs as a result of a medical condition.
      • Cures dandruff.
      • Prevents a specific condition of the hair or scalp that is a symptom of disease.
    3. An advertisement shall not claim or imply that a hair care product can cure or permanently prevent a specific condition of the hair or scalp that is a symptom of disease. The advertisement shall state that the condition can be alleviated by regular use of the product.
    4. Medical terms shall not be used to describe a specific hair condition or condition of the scalp. An advertisement for a hair care product shall use words that are familiar to the consumer, such as-
      • "excess oil" instead of "seborrhoea";
      • "dandruff" instead of "pityriasis"; and
      • "hair loss" instead of "alopaecia".
    5. Claims relating to-
    6. Baldness/hair loss/thinning hair/hair growth, etc.

      A product claiming to delay avoidable hair loss, with regular use, and not because of treatment of disease, may fall under the definition of a cosmetic, and would require suitable scientific substantiation.

    7. Hair and Scalp Claims

      An advertisement shall not claim or imply the following, unless it can be scientifically substantiated that-

      • the hair roots can be fed or nourished;
      • the hair can be strengthened or repaired;
      • a specific ingredient can be absorbed into the hair;
      • a product that contains a specific ingredient has an effect on the hair or scalp;
      • a product has multiple functions, e.g. a 2-in-1 shampoo; or
      • an anti-dandruff product alleviates dandruff with regular use.
    8. Dandruff Claims

      A product that alleviates dandruff shall not claim or imply that the condition can be prevented permanently, but shall state that effective control is dependent on regular use. Such advertisement shall not imply or exaggerate its claim of the effectiveness of the product.

    9. Fine Hair

      A product that thickens or adds volume to fine hair may be advertised. However, the advertisement shall state that the increase in volume, or the thickening of the hair, is superficial and not permanent.

    10. Split Ends

      A product that is used to mend split ends shall state that the process is not permanent.

    11. Colour Preparations

      Claims for the durability of the product shall be substantiated-

      1. temporary colour changes the colour of the hair, but only lasts until the hair is washed;
      2. semi-permanent colour temporarily changes the colour of the hair and is gradually removed by the repeated washing of the hair;
      3. permanent colour permanently changes the colour of the hair shaft.
    12. Artificial Colour Preservers

      Claims that an artificial colour preserver enhances and preserves the colour for temporary, semi-permanent and permanently coloured hair shall be substantiated.

    13. UV Protection
      1. Products claiming UV filters must indicate clearly that only the hair/hair colour would be protected and not the scalp.
      2. Hair care products cannot claim/display an SPF number.
  15. Sunscreen products

    Products containing sunscreens, suitable for topical use, for the protection of human skin against the adverse effects of solar UVA and UVB rays, whether primary or secondary in nature must comply with the following provisions-

    1. UV Protection Claims

      No claim for protection against radiation other than UVA or UVB is permitted. Claims for UV protection must be qualified with the reference to UVA or UVB protection or both.

    2. SPF Claims
      1. Primary and secondary sunscreen products may not claim or imply sun protection or a sun protection factor (SPF) number unless approved by an authority acceptable to the ASA, when tested in accordance with SANS 1557 or equivalent.
      2. Such claims must be validated by an in vivo SPF test certificate.

        Products claiming UVB shall meet the requirements of:

        • SANS 1557 (South African Bureau of Standards);
        • And be tested according to:
          • ISO 24444 in vivo SPF test method (International Standards Organisation), or any other equivalent SPF Test method.
      3. Such claims for sunscreen wipes must be labelled with the statement "Contains SPF (Number) sunscreen".
      4. Any SPF claim below 6 or greater than 50+ is not allowed.
      5. Such claims for primary sunscreens must be accompanied by the following directions:
        • Apply before exposure
        • Apply generously
        • Reapply frequently
    3. UVA Claims
      1. For a product for which UVA protection is claimed, documented test results from an acceptable authority shall be available to substantiate the claim.
      2. Such claims must be validated by either an in vivo or in vitro test certificate.

        Products claiming UVA shall meet the requirements of:

        • SANS 1557 (South African Bureau of Standards),
        And be tested according:
        • ISO 24442 in vivo test method (International Standards Organisation)
        • ISO 24443 in vitro test method (International Standards Organisation)
        • or any other equivalent UVA Test method.

      3. Sunscreen products containing only UVA filters shall carry a warning that they do not protect against the burning rays of the sun.
    4. Classification Claims
      1. Such claims must be in keeping with the product’s protection classification (low, moderate, high, very high) and shall only be labelled according to the table below-
        CategoryLabelled SPF
        Low6, 10
        Medium15, 20, 25
        High30, 40, 50
        Very High50+
      2. When specific protection claims are made, or the inclusion of UV filters is stated or implied, the SPF number shall be stated on the container or label of the product and shall be clearly indicated.
    5. Water Resistance/Sweat Resistance/Waterproof
      1. Any sunscreen claiming "water resistant" must be compliant with the requirements of SANS 1557
      2. Any sunscreen claming "very water resistant" must be compliant with the requirements of SANS 1557
      3. Water resistant or very water resistant are the only claims/ terms that are allowed and they must be accompanied by the following statement: "reapply after perspiring, swimming or towel drying".
      4. The claim "waterproof" is not permitted.
      5. The claim "sweat resistant" is not permitted.
    6. Non-irritation claims

      If an irritation related claim is made, adequate scientific substantiation shall be provided in the form of documented test results from an acceptable authority.

    7. Block out or similar claims

      Claims shall not be made or imply 100% protection from UV radiation, e.g. block, sunblock, sunblocker or total protection.

    8. All day protection and extended protection claims

      A sunscreen product shall not claim or imply that a single application can provide all day protection, or similar.

© 2018 ASA. All rights reservedDeveloped and Maintained by JHNet Web Development