Customer Support Ruling

Fragrance & Cosmetic Advertisements in Periodicals Publications

UPDATED July 2014

PS-273 (207.3)

This Customer Support Ruling discusses the proper preparation of fragrance and cosmetic advertisements designed to be included in copies of bound publications mailed at the Periodicals prices.

Publishers wishing to include fragrance advertisements must comply with standards found in Publication 52.  These standards are derived from Public Law 101-493 of the Drug and Household Substance Mailing Act of 1990.  This law is intended to prevent individuals from being unknowingly or involuntarily exposed to fragrance scents.

Advertisers have developed several processes that allow readers to purposefully release a rendition of the fragrance, thereby avoiding inadvertent contact with the scent.  One such process, called “Microdot,” uses a proprietary process to hold a deposit of micro-encapsulated fragrance between a two layers of specially treated paper.  The deposit dries into a powder-like material that remains in that form until the reader removes the top ply of paper and rubs the capsules on the skin, which releases the fragrance.

Another process, called “Scent Seal,” consists of multi-laminated sheets, heat sealed to prevent odor leakage.  Between the laminates is a minute amount (no more than .05 grams allowed) of an inert polymer containing the fragrance rendition that is not released until the reader peels off the top layer and rubs a finger across it.

Another variation of fragrance advertising is a small area of a sheet with a “scratch and sniff” portion printed thereon with an ink containing a micro-encapsulated scent that can be smelled once the ink is scratched.

Other cosmetics and makeup renditions—such as lipstick, mascara, facial cream, skin cream, moisturizer, and deodorant—must be no more than .35 grams, and should cover a surface area that does not allow for a full application of the item.  When these or similar cosmetic items simulate products, they are not considered to be actual products or usable samples.  Mailers must print a disclaimer in legible type within the immediate vicinity of the cosmetic rendition’s placement on the page stating that the cosmetic item is not an actual product.

When the conditions above are met, printed sheets with these types of fragrance or cosmetic advertisements may be included as pages eligible for Periodicals prices (in compliance with DMM sections 207.3.3 and 207.3.4) when bound into copies of Periodicals publications.

Sherry Suggs


Mailing Standards

Headquarters, US Postal Service

Washington DC  20260-3436