Challenges of Global Regulatory Mandates
If your brand’s goals include entering more than one global market and are interested in doing it correctly, you are in for a series of challenges to overcome.
Here are several things to consider:
- Variations in ingredient nomenclature - INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients): It sounds like a great idea to standardize the way cosmetic ingredients are listed all over the globe, but it isn’t as simple when it comes to the way it really works. EU wants allergens listed, Canada doesn’t like “Water (Aqua)”, prefers “Water”. Some botanicals include their common names, others don’t. This still goes back and forth every so often.
- Globally-accepted ingredients with various level of use restrictions and applications (rinse-off products vs leave-on for example). Depending on the how a formula is categorized and its function, allowable ingredient levels vary amongst different markets. Ingredient categories that seem to trigger include AHAs, surfactants and preservatives. Additionally, the Hot List (prohibited ingredients) between US, Canada and the EU shows a huge disparity, further complicating and limiting the creation of globally-accepted formulas.
- Disparity of cosmetic marketing phrases are extremely varied, such as: you cannot say “free of” anything in EU, Canada doesn’t like the word “blemish”. These are just a couple of examples of what you can or cannot say.
- Marketing (Social Media) – how do you create a uniform message that complies globally? A brand’s story can get diluted very quickly when it must create different stories for fit each market’s specific set of rules. But you really must investigate each market guideline carefully.
- Intellectual property – global protection is not possible so enter with caution. In order to secure intellectual property for “BRAND X”, one must do it for each country or region separately. This comes at a potentially very high expense, not to mention that if the mark is taken by only one country, the owner must either abandon that market, use a different name in that market, or move forward without a mark and risk having the mark owner take action against him/her.
- All this leads to the need for market-specific packaging.
Having country-specific packaging and/or formulas would be ideal, but how practical is this really? Ideally, there would be a uniform set of regulations and laws globally and covering all aspects of our industry - made clear, simple, and reasonable to execute. It’s a stretch and it may be viewed as a naive wish, but the current way is not the most desired path. The easiest way to go about it is to choose a single market or a region with similar rules and grow the brand there before considering a wider expansion.
By Toni Abbruzzese