Greater transparency into product ingredients empowers people to make more informed purchasing decisions, better aligning their purchases with their needs. Greater transparency also better positions businesses to make informed decisions about the ingredients and products they buy, sell, and innovate.

EDF is here to help. Based on our expertise and experience, we are sharing EDF’s rules for how personal care brand manufacturers and retailers can enhance customer understanding and make ingredient information more useful and accessible.

Level 1 Leadership — things you can do today

In the following illustration, we depict an online product page showcasing well-defined disclosure rules that are easily achievable today. Hover over the underlined areas to see each rule.

Example 1: “Softer Hands” Lotion product page

GlycerinOxidizing agent
Aloe barbadensis leaf extractEmollient
Fragrance from Fragrance Palette
Fragrance (EU fragrance allergen)
Tetrasodium glutamate diacetateChelating agent
Anionic surfactant blend (plant-derived)
FD&C Yellow No 6/ CI 15985
Download SDS (English) 
Download SDS (Español)
Updated on 2/8/2019

Download Level 1 PDF

10 Rules You Can Apply Today

To increase consumer understanding
1. Ingredient Names — Standardize ingredient names across products using the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) OR the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) dictionary.
2. Reason — Provide a layperson’s explanation of the ingredient’s stated function in a product.
3. Language — Provide website and ingredient information in English and Spanish.
4. Color — For colorants, provide both the full FDA colorant ID followed by the Colour Index (CI) name (which is standard in global sales regions).
To boost consumer trust
5. Function — Define an ingredient’s function (i.e. scientific name for its purpose in the product).
6. Trade secrets — For a trade secret ingredient, use chemical descriptive name.
7. Data Sheets — Link to product-level Safety Data Sheets (SDS), whose availability to consumers should be standard practice.
8. Product Updates — Note the date for the last time product ingredient information was updated online.
To allay allergy concerns
9. Fragrance — Indicate presence of a fragrance and link to a fragrance palette that lists all fragrance ingredients used across product portfolio. Use INCI names and associated CAS numbers on palette.
10. Allergens — Disclose EU fragrance allergens and specific chemical identities. (In the EU, fragrance allergens are required to be disclosed according to EU Cosmetics Regulation (Regulation No. 1223/2009) Annex III).

Level 2 Leadership — building your way to best in class

Following the rules depicted in the next illustration might take a little more work but will help you be best-in-class down the road.

Five Rules to achieve Level 2 Leadership
Rule No. 1: Fragrance — Disclose the identity of all fragrance ingredients used in product — on product page.
Rule No. 2: Color — Include colorants in the disclosure sequence of ingredients in order of concentration in the product, not listed in any order at the end of the ingredient list.
Rule No. 3: Ingredients — Disclose all ingredients, including trade secrets, using INCI names. (Our example shows a trade secret ingredient whose identity has now been divulged).
Rule No. 4: Trace Ingredients — Disclose trace ingredients (e.g. known contaminants or by-products) that may be present unintentionally in the product.
Rule No. 5: Unique Identifier Link to a separate PDF or page that lists the INCI names and associated CAS numbers of all ingredients. CAS numbers are unique identifiers for chemical ingredients.

Example 2: “Softer Hands” Lotion product page

GlycerinOxidizing agent
Aloe barbadensis leaf extractEmollient
Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil
LimanoolFragrance (EU fragrance allergen)
FD&C Yellow No 6/ CI 15985
Tetrasodium glutamate diacetateChelating agent
Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate
This product may contain trace amounts of the following: Propyl paraben

English / Español

Download Ingredient CAS # page
Updated on 2/8/19

Note: Grayed-out rules remain unchanged from Example No. 1.

Download Level 2 PDF