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3 Easy Ways To Decode The Labels of Cosmetic Produ...

3 Easy Ways To Decode The Labels of Cosmetic Products

cosmetic products

It is an open secret that some ingredients found in many cosmetic products can cause skin irritations and other adverse effects. But is it really possible to know exactly what’s inside your lipstick or moisturizer?

Short answer, yes. You can and you don’t have to be a dermatologist or chemist to tell if a beauty product is safe to use.

A complete product label is a must

The Philippines, under the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), has been implementing the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD) since 2008. The directive aims to provide consumers with safe cosmetic products.

Product label - cosmetic products
Photo credit: Pexels

Under the ASEAN Labelling Requirements, the following details should appear on each product label to inform the consumers:

  • Brand Name
  • Product Name
  • Product Type
  • Intended Use
  • Product Presentation
  • Manufacturer’s Name, Address, Contact Number
  • Company Representative and/or Distributor’s Name, Address, Contact Number (if applicable)
  • Complete Ingredient List
  • Consumer Product Instruction
  • Country of Manufacture
  • Content Weight or Volume
  • Manufacturer’s Batch Number
  • Product Expiry Date
  • Special Precautions

Most importantly, product labels should be written in English or in the language understood by the consumer.

Understand the ingredients list

Paying attention to each of these ingredients will help you identify the healthy and toxic substances in each beauty product. Botanical extracts or essential oils listed in their scientific names might be easy to recognize. But what about those ingredients that are hard to read?

Ingredients list - cosmetic products
Photo credit: Unsplash

You should know that brands follow the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) standards to identify cosmetic ingredients like plant extracts, oils, and chemicals. Also, they are listed in descending order of weight at the time they are added.

Know the symbols on product labels

Have you noticed those symbols or icons on the labels of some imported cosmetic products? These cosmetic symbols are commonly found on labels of beauty products from or sold in the USA and the European Union. They tell the consumers about the product’s weight or volume, expiration date, container recyclability, etc.

Symbols on product labels -  cosmetic products
Photo credit: Unsplash

Following are  some of the most common cosmetic labels:

Period After Opening (PAO)

The floating lid and jar with a number and an “M” is the period after opening symbol. It tells you how long the product will stay good after opening the product. If your moisturizer has 12M on it, it means the product will expire 12 months after opening it.

Best Before End (BBE)

The hourglass or egg timer is the best before end symbol. The date indicated tells you the expiration date of the product.

Open Flame

The flammable symbol is mostly found in hair sprays, deodorant and nail polish that contain alcohol and propellant gas. It tells you to keep the product from high heat or open flame because it is flammable.

Mobius Loop

The Mobius loop or the recycling arrows triangle symbol indicates that the product container is recyclable. Also, the numbers added to it means the container is partly developed from recycled materials.

Estimated Sign

The lowercase “e” or e-mark symbol is the estimated sign that indicates the net quantity of the product during the packaging.

Cruelty-Free Leaping Bunny

The “cruelty-free” bunny symbol indicates that no animals were harmed in all stages of product development and production.

Your skin is your best accessory. Take good care of it.

Understanding the product labels will help you choose the right and safe cosmetic products for your skin. And save you from any undesirable effects later on. Testimonials might be good proof. But always remember, what works for someone might not work for you.

skin care - cosmetic products
Photo credit: Pexels

Also, never forget to do a patch test before applying any product on your face. And as product labels would always tell you, discontinue use if irritation occurs or see your dermatologist.

The way you enhance your beauty is a matter of personal choice. But, it’s always best to enjoy our beauty without worries. Beauty products should take good care of your skin and not damage it.  So, make sure you only use healthy and safe beauty products.

Source: The Lifestyle Files

This was originally published on Pinas Balita. Editors may have changed or added to this article for JUANderful Life‘s audience.


I am the lifestyle page of digital Filipino platform Pinas Balita.

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