Many substances used in hair dyes can cause reactions including contact allergy. Warnings of the use of strong sensitisers (including p-phenylenediamine, toluene-2,5-diamine, resorcinol) in hair dyes must be provided in product packaging. Stricter labelling requirements have been in force since the beginning of November 2011. The labelling must be supplemented withto draw consumers’ attention to the warning.
Since 1 November 2011 it has not been permitted to manufacture hair dyes that do not feature the new labelling in the EEA or import such hair dyes to the EEA. Consumers will notice the change in full on 1 November 2012 at the latest. From that date the sale or other supply of products not compliant with the new requirements to consumers will be prohibited.
Package labellling shall include the following information:
- Hair colourants can cause severe allergic reactions.
- Read and follow instructions.
- This product is not intended for use on persons under the age of 16.
- Temporary “black henna” tattoos may increase your risk of allergy.
- Do not colour your hair if:
- you have a rash on your face or sensitive, irritated or damaged scalp;
- you have ever experienced any reaction after colouring your hair;
- you have experienced a reaction to a temporary ”black henna” tattoo in the past.
- Hair dyes including certain hair dye ingridients must also be labeled "Do not use to dye eyelashes or eyebrows"
The new labelling contains the recommendation that these products should not be used by persons under the age of 16. People begin to dye their hair at an increasingly early age, exposing them to strongly sensitising substances and therefore potentially increasing the risk of allergic reactions.
- The new labelling requirement will enter into force gradually. Therefore products containing two different types of labelling may be found at retail outlets during the period of transition. It is important to remember that the risks related to the products still remain the same. Some hair dyes will also come with instructions concerning the mixing ratio in the future.
- In the future the labelling of some hair dyes intended for professional use will also be required to instruct hairdressers to wear protective gloves when applying hair dye.
- Tukes recommends that retail staff pay attention to the sale of those hair dye products that require age restriction labelling.
The legislative amendment is based on amendments to the EU Directive on Cosmetic Products (76/768/EEC) that have been implemented in Finland under Decrees 346/2010 and 728/2010 of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and to amend the Decree (75/2005) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency’s (Tukes) position is that hair dyes are not meant for persons under 16 years of age, and persons under that age should not have their hair dyed.
Allergies caused by hair dyes have increased in the past few years. Therefore, the cosmetics legislation has been developed recently so that these days certain hair dye products, which contain colourants that are classified as sensitising, require a mandatory warning label to protect consumers, e.g. "Not intended for use on persons under the age of 16". The purpose of the warning label is to protect consumers and especially young people. Colourants may cause, e.g. delayed contact allergy in some consumers.
The age limit and other package labelling of hair dyes must be followed especially when using salon hair dyes that include ingredients classified as sensitising (products that require the warning "Not intended for use on persons under the age of 16"). In order to meet their duty to take care by virtue of the Finnish Consumer Safety Act (920/2011), service providers must not use these hair dyes to colour the hair of persons under 16 years of age.