With every new beauty product comes a new tub, tube, pot or box. And on every bit of cosmetics packaging is a seemingly indecipherable set of packaging symbols to work out. We’ve cracked the code, and this is your list of beauty packaging symbols meanings.
Packaging Symbols: Explained
Mobius Loop: Recycling
A triangle of arrows pointing in a clockwise direction is called the “Mobius Loop”, although it’s sometimes called Folded Arrows. This means that your packaging can be recycled.
If this triangle of arrows is within a circle, that means the packaging is from a recycled source. If it’s next to a percentage, then this is the percent of recycled materials it’s made from.
Green Dot: Recycling
The Green Dot is a circle – or dot – made up of two intertwined arrows. This means the company will cover the cost of recycling the packaging.
Even if it is called the Green Dot, this still applies if it’s in another colour.
Ecocert: Organic and Natural
If your cosmetics packaging contains this sign accompanied by the phrase “organic cosmetic”, this means that over 95% of the product’s plant-based ingredients are organic.
If it’s accompanied by the phrase “natural cosmetic”, this means that over 50% of the product’s plant-based ingredients are organic.
Additionally, all Ecocert certified beauty products are free from GMOs, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEGs, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced by them: milk, honey, etc.).
Plastic Resin Identification Code
Now, this packaging symbol is a throwback to GCSE Science lessons. These Resin Identification Codes vary to represent the sort of plastic your cosmetics packaging is made from, and is made up of various parts.
The Number: The number represents the type of plastic the packaging is made from.
The Mobius Loop: As above, the folded arrows indicate that the plastic may be recycled.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
This cosmetics packaging symbol identifies the packaging as being made from a wood-based source. These have also been made from well-managed forests, certified by the FSC.
Any cosmetics packaging with this sign indicates that the product inside is highly flammable.
Conformité Européene (CE)
If your makeup packaging has the CE symbol on it, this means that it conforms to European standards.
The lower case e stands for “estimated” and is generally found next to the weight of the product, meaning that the weight is estimated as opposed to exact.
To help identify products that help to protect against UVA rays – not UVB, which is protected by SPF – all products will be marked with a UVA symbol. If it has this, the product has fulfilled the minimum requirements to be considered a sunscreen.
To qualify to use the Fairtrade mark, all ingredients in the product must be Fairtrade.
For an ingredient to be Fairtrade, it must meet the minimum social, economic and environmental standards for both companies and farmers set out by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Leaping Bunny (Cruelty-Free)
Authorised by the Leaping Bunny Programme, this packaging symbol means that your product is cruelty-free, and all companies will have a three year spot-check by the company to make sure it continues to confirm to these standards.
This does not mean the product is vegan.
This cosmetic symbol means the product is cruelty-free, as approved by PETA.
It may also be accompanied by the word “vegan”, meaning that the product and its ingredients are vegan, and not continaing any animal products or by-products.
To be PETA-approved, both the product and everything from its suppliers must be cruelty-free.
To hold the Vegetarian Society Approved logo on your cosmetics packaging, the product must include only vegetarian ingredients. A product may include animal by-products, e.g. honey, beeswax, etc., and be vegetarian.
For a vegan beauty product to have the Vegan Society approved packaging symbol, the ingredients cannot include any animal product or by-product.
Now you know every single cosmetics packaging symbols meaning, it’s time to add-to-bag with a lil more knowledge
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