Cosmetic Labeling Symbols

There are so many symbols on products which look familiar to you when buying the product. Sometimes we call it "cosmetic labeling symbols".  But do you have any idea what they mean? There are so many it can be confusing, but many of them convey very important information.  Some are on inner packaging (the product itself) and others are on outer packaging box. Cosmetic labeling symbols are used to indicate that your product is safe to use and shows the reliability of the product. 

Period after opening symbol 

A symbol representing the number of monthsthe product can be used after opening. For example, cream - Foundation - Concealer will be around 1 year, eye cream 6 months. Normally, the skincare or cosmetic product shelf life is around 2 years or 3 years.  Every product type will have different PAO on the packaging therefore if it has a 12M on a jar or box, it means that product has a shelf life of 12 months from the date you open it. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the storage instructions – if it says ‘store in a cool, dry place’ or ‘store below 30 degrees’ then keep it out of your bathroom where it gets humid and steamy as this will decrease the shelf life.


Period after opening symbol
the flame symbol

The flame symbol

This logo indicates a warning to keep flames or high heat away from the product at all times because it’s flammable. You’ll find this mostly on hair products (hairsprays, dry shampoos) and nail polishes due to certain ingredients like alcohol and propellant gas.

Recycling Arrows Triangle

This symbol indicates that the container is recyclable. There are variations of the symbol to communicate information about the container, like if the container is made from recycled material, it will have the symbol inside a solid circle. If the triangle symbol is inside a circle and has a percentage inside the symbol or next to it, this indicates the container is made from a percentage of recycled material. If there’s a number inside the triangle and letter below, this tells the particular resin used in making the container’s plastic to help the recycling process.

Recycling Arrows Triangle
USDA Organic

USDA Organic Seal

The seal indicates that at least 95% of the product’s ingredients are organic. Manufacturers have to be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be legally able to use the seal on product labels and packaging. 

Ecocert Organic Symbol

The Ecocert Organic symbol indicates that the product has at least 95% plant-based ingredients, and at least 10% of all its ingredients by weight are organic. If the product has an Ecocert Natural symbol, that means at least 50% of the ingredients are plant-based, and at least 5% of all its ingredients by weight are organic. There are Ecocert offices in 24 countries and service is provided to more than 120 countries. In order for manufacturers outside of EU to get certification, their product is subject to supervision by one of the Ecocert’s subsidiaries or it must meet national regulations.

refer to insert symbol

Refer to Insert

A hand pointing at a book means there is information or instructions contained on a leaflet, booklet, or other insert which can’t be listed on the primary label. The information can be things like an ingredients list, usage instructions, or warnings. This symbol is particularly useful for smaller cosmetic products since they don’t have enough space on their container to list all the product’s information.

Not tested on animals symbol

Not tested on animals symbol indicates that the product has not been tested on animals. It also indicates that the manufacturer and supplier does not test on animal at any point in the product's lifecycles. 

not tested on animal
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