In Article 2 of European Regulation 1223/2009 – the basis of European regulations in this sector –which is dedicated to definitions of cosmetic terms, there is none for “claim”.
However, there is a whole article on the subject (Article 20), which specifies that common criteria should be determined for justifying the use of a claim.
The basic principle of this provision can be found in Preamble 51 of the Regulation, which states that “the consumer should be protected from misleading claims concerning efficacy and other characteristics of cosmetic products.”
The common criteria were published in July 2013 in Regulation 655/2013. This regulation does not provide any definition either, but it does specify what is meant by “claim”. Here is what it says:
• Product claims of cosmetic products serve mainly to inform end users about the characteristics and qualities of the products.
• Those claims are essential ways of differentiating between products.
• They also contribute to stimulating innovation and fostering competition.
This leaves everyone quite free to interpret it as they wish, especially since Article 20 of Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 implies a claim may be expressed in different ways:
• Pictures and figurative or other signs.
At the French level, “claim” is well-defined by the ARPP (French Professional Advertising Regulation Authority), which allows for fewer possibilities. Here is what can be found in their recommendation:
• a “claim” is any claim, indication or presentation used for advertising a product
• a claim must be truthful, clear, fair, objective and should not be likely to mislead
• any claim must be supported by appropriate proofs
• the claim must be consistent with the nature and the scope of such proofs.