Beauty Product De-Coding

by - Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Being a beauty hoarder, I often indulge in lots of beautiful and exciting new products to test and review for you lovely bunch. But, products are printed with so many fancy codes how are we supposed to know what they mean? From my years of experience in the industry I thought I’d share with you some information on what those funny little symbols mean. Did you know that beauty products have a used by date? How do you know whether a product is cruelty free or not? If you don’t know and want to find out then keep reading.


Cruelty Free Products mean exactly what is says. Cruelty Free. Meaning not one single cute fluffy bunny (or any other animal for that matter) was harmed or used to test on to create that product. Pretty neat! When a product is cruelty free, a bunny symbol will appear which is a certification from PETA that means no animal testing was completed on the creation of said product, it can also mean that the product is vegan. There is also a leaping bunny symbol which means that not only is the product cruelty free, but the company, their lab and its suppliers do not test on animals. I mean, we are in the 21st century, surely there are other ways to create our beloved beauty products that hurting innocent animals. It’s just uncalled for. I do use products that sadly test on animals but where possible I do much prefer buying a product that is cruelty free, and I will where possible chose the cruelty free brand over an animal testing brand. I just wish all companies didn’t test on animals.


I am not going to lie when I say that I am terrible at knowing when to keep or throw away a product. I didn’t know until a few years ago that beauty products have a used by date. Even though it is inevitable cos nothing lasts for ever. Do you ever wonder why your mascara or lipsticks start to smell funny? Or maybe your favourite primer or foundation just doesn’t go on like it’s supposed to? Well, it’s probably out of date and needs binning or replacing. The best before date is illustrated on beauty items with a little jar with its lid off and a number followed by the letter ‘m’. So for example, 12M means that the product can be used up to 12 months after opening said product. Although this is an approximate date as there is no way of determine how long to use a product, and if your product starts to smell funny then I’d just throw it away.

The beauty industry is getting hotter at making products more eco-friendly. Not only are many brands using more natural based products but they are also making sure that the containers are all recyclable which means you need to make sure you put them in the recycling bin rather than with your usual household waste. The “green dot system” also known as recycling, is probably one that you already know as it’s recognised across all industries and across Europe (unsure about the US of A)  but just for those who don’t I thought I’d include it.

The products we buy often have a range of sizes and volumes, i.e. the amount that’s in the product we buy. But how do we know that we are getting what we pay for? Often on products you will see a symbol with the letter ‘e’ on a product - this is usually next to the volume e.g. 200ml e. This logo is a guarantee according to EU standards that the quantity of the product printed on the packaging is correct, or close to it as it can be. Of course there is a slight threshold to be under or over but that amount is minimal. So, this is a symbol that you definitely need to remember to make sure that you are getting what you’re paying for!

An ECO CERT certification is an international symbol that means that a product has been approved as an organic organisation. This is awarded to organic industries including food, cosmetics, detergents, perfumes and textiles. It also is awarded to all natural products and usually has a percentage on the label to show how much of a product is organic or natural. It’s all about being green.

Okay, so this one should be obvious that seeing a flame on your beauty products means that they are probably pretty flammable. Duh. Of course, aerosols are flammable but it can actually be helpful to help identify a product that you might not think to be flammable, but actually is. So just in case you ever get in a situation where your beauty product could be at a risk of going up in flames, you know to keep these products away from fire.

Love, Charlotte Elizabeth xo

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*Beauty product symbols are sourced from Google Images for the purpose of this post. 

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