The 1% Labeling Rule: A License To Deceive?

MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
The 1% labeling rule allows you to place ingredients incorporated below 1% in any order as opposed to decending order of inclusion.  This is often used to make it appear that an ingredient is included in the formula at a more substantial percentage than it actually is.

I can't fathom a logical reason for the 1% rule.
Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

Comments

  • I assume it was allowed, for a minute semblance of protecting intellectual property.  Granted, that would not slow most of us down from duping, but at least it allows the 'higher ups' (without formulating skills) the ability to sleep at night, thinking their secret formula is safe and sound. :) 
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited July 17
    @Graillotion

    Even if you dupe, you're not going to get the percentages of the ingredients correct.  You might come close, but it will not be exact.

    You can include an ingredient at 0.01% and list it at the top of the 1% line.  But, if you did include all of the ingredients in descending order, on a dupe, you will still not get it exactly right.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • So, it sounds like you concur, that it is a good tool for protecting IP?

    Personally...I love it.

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Graillotion

    No, duping is inaccurate, both above and below the 1% line.  All you really know is the relative order of ingredients.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • edited July 17
    @Graillotion Interesting point about protecting IP. What kind of valuable IP might be under 1% ?
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Used by whom to deceive?  MarkBroussard said:
    The 1% labeling rule allows you to place ingredients incorporated below 1% in any order as opposed to decending order of inclusion.  This is often used to make it appear that an ingredient is included in the formula at a more substantial percentage than it actually is.

    I can't fathom a logical reason for the 1% rule.

    Certainly was not in P&G labeling protocols.

    And how does to deceive if all 1% or less?  Folks are  more apt to see the last than the firth from last.

  • @Graillotion Interesting point about protecting IP. What kind of valuable IP might be under 1% ?
    Ummmh....most of it.  Generally, a lot of cosmetic products, you only have 4-6 ingredients above the line....your water, glycerin, emulsifier, rheology modifier, etc...none of which are going to be much of your IP.

    It is kinda like making breakfast cereal....no one wants sugar as the number 1 ingredient, so they will use 3 different sweeteners, so they can have whole grain whole oats as the first ingredient.

    In formulation... lets say you need 2% of a fatty alcohol to make the viscosity you want....if you don't want to lead with 'fatty alcohols'....you simply use two different ones at 1% or .99% then you can sprinkle them throughout the inci.... very basic smoke and mirrors.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited July 18
    @PhilGeis

    Deceive consumers.  Let's say Hyaluronic Acid is added at 0.001% in a formula, but HA is placed as the lead-off ingredient of the 1% line.  The company's advertising talks about HA being able to hold 1,000X its weight in water.  Consumers think they're purchasing a product with a sufficient quantity of HA to provide good moisturization.

    What other reason could possibly be the logic behind the 1% labeling rule?  Manufacturers certainly know the exact percentage of each ingredient in a formula.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • When I formulate, I am ever thinking of the final inci... If it is something I want to brag about...probably gonna be at 1.01%.  Something I am wanting to hide...then gonna be at .99%.
  • jemolianjemolian Member
    edited July 18
    Not sure what the intention for the 1% is but to marketing it would be a good tool to "deceive" or confuse the customer. 

    People often look at the ingredients list and perceive better value for products with marketed / hero ingredients higher on the list. 

    One of the reddit post i saw, asked about if the Ceramides in the Cerave Moisturizing Cream had changed in percentages. In the photos shown on the post of 2 packaging, one of them had the marketed ingredients up front, and another had the ingredients in proper descending order. We won't be able to tell if the percentages had changed but to the customer it would definitely devalue the product to a certain extent.   
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Ingredient lists are meant for one purpose, to inform people of the existence of an ingredient in the formula. That way if they are allergic to something they know to avoid it. The 1% line just helps guide people as to how much exposure they need to worry about in case they are allergic to an ingredient. The rationale of the 1% line is that 1% & below is a low enough level that the order doesn’t matter.

    Its arbitrary but it makes some sense to me. 

    But the bottom line is that ingredient lists are not meant for marketing.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @jemolian

    Or the other way around.  Assume Ceramides were included at 0.2%.  And that Ceramides had been listed in proper descending order of inclusion. 

    But, in re-labeling the product, Ceramides were moved to the top of the 1% line.  Consumers could come to the conclusion that the quantity of Ceramides had been increased in the new, revised LOI, if they compared the two, when nothing had changed at all except reordering the listing below the 1% line.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    I suspect the great majority of consumers don't know about the 1% rule and would not know how to determine where the 1% line is.  It seems to be an arbitrary, unnecessary rule.  Listing all ingredients in descending order would be much more beneficial to consumers.    
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    So what Mark?  How many consumers would read all the way down to the last few to find their fav ingredient?
  • edited July 18
    What about 'blends?  How do they get listed correctly?

    Take Fision Hydrate from Lotioncrafter for example (INCI:Sodium PCA, Wheat Amino Acids , Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate and Hydroxyproline). They say it's  a 'unique' proportion. Let's say it's used at 5% in a formula. Do you then use the SDS in order to list the components in the correct order? 

    Look at this SDS! If you want to skew consumer perception you can just add a blend like this and there you have lots of humectants to list and get to brag about.

    As an aside, does this do ANYTHING at these %?

    Some mixes you buy have ranges that are even more vague than this. How do you even figure out where to put these ingredients? 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Mark - why don't you ask the FDA.  Think this obscure point, even if intended to deceive (and this is the 1st time I've heard this suggestion in my 40 years), is much less deceptive than calling synthetic preservatives ?natural."

    BUT - whisper it to an associate brand manager and it'll be an accomplishment at their 6 month review.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Anca_Formulator

    You calculate the % of each component of the blend included in the full formula.  For example:  Sodium PCA, assume 10% in Fision Hydrate.  So, 5% Fision Hydrate would contribute 0.25% to 0.5% Sodium PCA in the full formula.  The compositional analysis provided by the ingredient manufacturer would be the source of this information.  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited July 18
    PhilGeis said:
    Mark - why don't you ask the FDA.  Think this obscure point, even if intended to deceive (and this is the 1st time I've heard this suggestion in my 40 years), is much less deceptive than calling synthetic preservatives ?natural."

    BUT - whisper it to an associate brand manager and it'll be an accomplishment at their 6 month review.
    I find this a quite intriguing carve-out in the labeling rules because (1) it is unnecessary and I can't see that it serves any useful purpose; (2) it would have been more logical and provide better consumer information if all ingredients were simply listed in descending order.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Mark is intrigued and thinks it's unnecessary and can't see a useful purpose. 
    Tell CFSAN https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-food-safety-and-applied-nutrition-cfsan/contact-cfsan.
    Or maybe your congressman .

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Anca_Formulator - it’ll be a humectant. That’s about it
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:
    Ingredient lists are meant for one purpose, to inform people of the existence of an ingredient in the formula. That way if they are allergic to something they know to avoid it. The 1% line just helps guide people as to how much exposure they need to worry about in case they are allergic to an ingredient. The rationale of the 1% line is that 1% & below is a low enough level that the order doesn’t matter.

    Its arbitrary but it makes some sense to me. 

    But the bottom line is that ingredient lists are not meant for marketing.
    Yes, but consumers do read labels.  Let's say I have a mild sensitivity to Sodium Benzoate.  I look at the label of a product and I see Sodium Benzoate listed as the very last ingredient.  But, if Sodium Benzoate were listed in proper descending order it would be the fifth to last ingredient.  As a consumer, I would be better served by the proper descending order listing as opposed to the 1% rule order listing putting Sodium Benzoate as the last ingredient.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:
    But the bottom line is that ingredient lists are not meant for marketing.
    Yes, but it is the 1% Rule that provides the opportunity to use ingredient lists for marketing.  If every ingredient had to be listed in descending order of inclusion, there would be no opportunity to manipulate the LOI as you can with the 1% Rule.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @MarkBroussard - True. But I think as someone else pointed out, it does have the effect of (minimally) protecting IP. It's quite possible that at the time the rules were written, a compromise had to be made. I don't really know.

    Similarly, it makes zero sense that soap is not classified as a cosmetic. But to get the FD&C Act passed, they needed to work out a deal with the well-organized soap guilds. 
  • Many ingredients that are sold as a blend only have a component range, if I use a few at 0.5%, I can't sort them out accurately if the component is in the range 1-5%.
    Many of the ingredients can be considered marketing products even when used in large amounts. For me it is enough if companies have to prove the results they claim.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Perry said:
    @MarkBroussard - True. But I think as someone else pointed out, it does have the effect of (minimally) protecting IP. It's quite possible that at the time the rules were written, a compromise had to be made. I don't really know.

    Similarly, it makes zero sense that soap is not classified as a cosmetic. But to get the FD&C Act passed, they needed to work out a deal with the well-organized soap guilds. 
    Yes, regulations are generally negotiated between Regulators and Industry and this 1% Rule was probably pushed by Industry.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
Sign In or Register to comment.