Have you ever checked out the packaging of your cosmetics, only to be thoroughly confused by the different symbols littering the back? You aren’t alone — and actually these are some important messages these cosmetics companies are attempting to send you. To ensure you know exactly what you’re purchasing, we’ve put together a short guide through some of the most popular packaging symbols.
This symbol means that the manufacturer pays to recover and recycle the material. It’s trademarked and used worldwide, though the recovery program is mainly in Europe.
This means the company is part of a program that promises that it does not currently and will never test its cosmetics on animals. The product must meet a certain cruelty-free standard.
Period After Opening
This is essentially the same as an expiration on food. Although it’s not always advertised in the US, cosmetics do have a shelf life. This symbol will usually have a number in the center, indicating how long the product is good after opening.
Most plastics are identified by their resin, which informs you of certain characteristics of each type. You can find more information about different resins on our plastics and resins page.
This symbol shows the amount of product estimated to be inside the container using an “average fill system.” Ideally, this should coordinate with the amount advertised.
For more information on the different aspects of cosmetic packaging, be sure to check out our resources page.