How to offer White Label Cosmetics to your customers legally

There are a lot of differing views on this and so we thought we'd address the questions that we so often see asked in the small cosmetics business community.

Sit back, grab a cup of tea, this is a head twister...

What is White Label?

Not to be confused with private labelling (whereby a formula is packaged, branded and often customised for you), white labelling means selling your product unbranded to another person or company who will brand it with their own details and sell it under their own brand.

Can I sell my cosmetic products white label? 

Yes you can. So long as the product has a CPSR, PIF, Responsible person and is labelled correctly, you are free to sell it white label.

Who is the responsible person?

The answer to this will depend on a couple of factors.  Law states that there must be a responsible person for the product.  If you remain the responsible person then you would sell the white label products with your usual reverse label with your details on as the manufacturer.  You would then leave the front blank for the customer to add their branding.

If the customer is fully branding it and becoming the RP then the product would be left blank.  

However... the following issues will decide the above for you.

Who holds the CPSR?

It is not actually a legal requirement that the responsible person is named on the CPSR or holds it, so long as there is one and the product is named on it. 

You have 48 hours to produce it.  So if your white label customer is the Responsible person and does not hold the CPSR in their PIF, they will contact you for it if they require it and you will need to send them a copy.

The issue with this is that most CPSRs come with an NDA - Non Disclosure agreement and as such cannot be shared with these parties.  They will also contain the formulation which the manufacturer will often not share with anyone other than the CPSR holder.  

If you remain the responsible person, then this isn't an issue as you will be the one holding the documents.

If your customer really wants to be the Responsible person and omit your details from the label, then you will need to make sure that the CPSR that you have in place allows for this.

Who reports the product on the UK Cosmetics Portal?

The manufacturer/seller of the white label products will already be the responsible person and hold the CPSR, PIF, and have reported the products onto the portal orginally.  However, each time a product is rebranded, even if it's the same product, it must be reported again.  This is so that it is always easily identifiable and traceable.

The purchaser of the white label products will have two options based on what we've discussed above. 

If the RP is remaining with the manufacturer then the purchaser will need to send branding details and an image of the product to the manufacturer/seller/RP so that this new branded version can be uploaded to the portal.  This becomes tedious if you have many white label customers and need to do this for each one.  They do not need to complete a PIF, as the RP will hold this, but it is recommended that they complete a small one regardless as good practice.

If the RP is the purchaser, then it is up to them to complete a full PIF and report to the portal.  Like we talked about above, if the CPSR is requested then the RP has to provide this, so it is important to ensure that this is allowed first.

What instances would sharing the CPSR not be allowed?

Most. To be honest, unless a company has created pre-assessed products allowing for their CPSR to be openly viewed and shared in order to purchase their white label products, then you will find in most cases it's not allowed.

Companies selling Flexi reports (flexible CPSRs), have gone to great trouble and expense to create a report that saves the purchaser time and a great deal of money.  They create the recipe, test the variations and check stability.  All the hard work is done for you.  If they are then selling this, there is usually a copyright and NDA attached.

If you want the flexibility to fully white label your products allowing your purchaser to be the responsible person, then you are better off getting your own assessment written to allow for this, rather than buying a pre-written one.  Then it is your formulation that you can share as you wish.

It basically comes down to the product being traceable which is why we have a responsible person.  If the purchaser becomes that RP, but didn't manufacture the product, they still take full responsibility for it if an issue arises with one of their customers.  As a manufacturer this will then mean they come back to you and you then have two layers of customer to deal with.

White label sounds good, but consider the road ahead if you go that route.

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