Labeling Professional Cosmetics

Assembly Bill (AB) 2775, signed by Governor Brown on September 14, 2018 requires manufacturers to disclose ingredients on the labels of professional cosmetics.  In the past, only retail cosmetics were required to list product ingredients.  The disclosure on ingredients in professional products is vital to ensure professionals understand the products they are handling and take steps to protect themselves against chemical exposure.  Some of the chemicals used in hair and nail salons include formaldehyde, toluene, sodium hydroxide, and Triphenyl phosphate (TPhP).  These chemicals are known or suspected to cause cancer, respiratory, neurological, and reproductive harm.

The California Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law regulates the labeling of cosmetics and also authorizes the California Department of Public Health to require a label listing ingredients under specified circumstances.  Under AB2775, Section 110371 has been added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

  1. 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.).
  2. 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.

The new law now provides salon workers with the clarity needed in order to make their own decisions when using or avoiding cosmetics that may pose a workplace risk.  It also helps protect workers and consumers by providing awareness of the possible chemicals in the products used.  In my experience, consumers typically use professional cosmetics that appear to work best but may be uninformed of the potential harm from the ingredients of the cosmetics.  Time will tell if the required professional cosmetic labeling will help salon workers make informed choices about the products they use and measures they can take to protect their health.