Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Guide to Reading Beauty Product Labels

     Do any of you read the labels on the beauty products you buy? Trying to decipher the long strange ingredients and different symbols on packaging can be frustrating and time consuming.  I can be the first to admit, that until recently,  I have been guilty of only reading the directions portion of the label and skipping over everything else. 

     Thankfully,  I have learned the importance of not only paying attention to the ingredients in our products, but recognizing the different symbols on the labels and what they mean about the products you choose.  It's so important for all of us to pay more attention not only what we put in our bodies, but what we use on our bodies in the name of beauty or personal care.  If you only knew what some of those fancy sounding ingredient names actually were, you'd think twice about putting them in your hair, on your face, etc.  
     To share some awareness that I've learned, I'll show you how to quickly read a basic product label, recognize what certain symbols stand for, and learn some ingredients that you you may want to avoid.  

First, let's take a look at a typical product label and it's main components.  Keep in mind that labels vary between brand, country, and product category.  Grab a couple products you have around the house and follow along....

Front Label

   The product logo is a visual representation of a company's product or services through a design or symbol

  A product's identity basically states what the product is, whether it's a Facial Peel-Off Mask like above, or a dry skin moisturizer, or a leave in conditioner, etc.

Net Contents
  The net contents is the amount of product that is inside the container.  In the net contents section, or sometimes on the back, you may find-
  • e Symbol-  this symbol in the net contents guarantees that the product has been filled to the standards of the European Union average system of measure ( basically meaning that you actually get the correct amount of product that is stated on the package )  So think about the products that don't have this symbol,  you may not be getting all of the product you think you are!

Back Label

    Pretty simply, the directions state the proper use of the product to get the desired results.  It's recommended to follow product directions to unsure you get the maximum benefit

     All the ingredients in the product's formula are stated here in descending order of concentration.  If an ingredient list for a walnut shampoo has walnuts  at the end of the list, you can bet there is only a tiny fraction of walnut in the actual product.
      People with sensitive skin, allergies, or react to certain products should pay special attention to a products ingredients. They may want to avoid certain products all together due to certain components of the formula.
     There are many ingredients you may want to avoid all together with cosmetic and beauty products you purchase.  They're mostly synthetic products that are doing mire harm then good.  I can't say that I use all organic products or non synthetics but I am paying much closer attention to certain product ingredients when making purchases.  For instance, I have color treated hair and usually use drugstore shampoo.  Guess what?  The ingredients listed ending in Sulfate are actually stripping my color, making it duller and fading faster. Avoid SLS, and sulfates, sulfonates in your shampoos! Go check you shampoo label and see if yours has it.
     Check out  the organic consumers site for more synthetics to avoid.  At best, read through and just become more aware!  There are tons of resources on the web!

Country of Origin
     Easily enough, this is where the product is manufactured or produced.  Right below or above is generally the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor is located.  Sometimes the main office is listed and underlined.  Any product questions can be sent to that address. 


This  symbol  indicates the amount of time you have before you should dispose of an open product.  In this example, the 24 on the symbol states that once you open a product, you should throw it out after 24 months to ensure best use.

There are a few different versions of this symbol but it basically states a product is cruelty free and doesn't do animal testing.

These symbols are resin identification symbols.  They are for the sorting process that identify the type of plastic a product is made from.  It doesn't mean a product's packaging is recycled, but if YOU recycle it, the recycling sorters will best determine it's recyclability. More Info

This symbols indicates that the product packaging is made from recycled materials and can be recycled again when empty.

Tells that contributions are made for the correct recycling and disposal of product packaging to specialized European programs.

This symbol shows you that more information on the product or ingredients is found elsewhere such as a leaflet, tag, box, or website.

Other Items to Look for on a Label
    All labels will vary with different symbols, layouts, and also warnings and cautions.  Please make sure you read this before use to make sure you are properly using and storing your products.  

Hopefully, now you will be more aware of the anatomy of your product labels, things to avoid, things to look out for and how to decipher all of those different symbols.  we all need to be more aware of what we are using on our bodies.  Would you knowingly pour a garage floor degreaser on your hair?  Well, you might be.  Hiding in the form of a shampoo!  Read and research your products and pass this information on.  Knowledge is a beautiful thing!!

Any symbols I didn't mention?
Did I miss anything?

I'd love to hear from you...Don't forget to enter my Beauty Loot Giveaway!


  1. love this post, very informative and helpful

  2. Thank you CottonCandyInk! Glad you liked it :)

  3. I think this is one of the most helpful posts i have come across. I am also one to not really look at labels or ingredients.. well i do but heck i don't understand them haha.. and this helped thanks a lot ! I thank beauty-stat for bringing us together lol.

  4. This is so helpful! Thank you very much xxx

  5. OMG! I can't believe I've never thought to read the labels first! very informative. Followed with GFC found you on the monday beauties blog hop:)

  6. Love your blog. :D
    Check out mine?

  7. Thank you so much! This is such a helpful post; I'm going to put a link to this post on my blog so that everyone I know can read it! Really informative, thanks again xx

  8. We should all make a habit of reading the labels of products that we use because it will help us avoid mistakes and accidents while using the product. It’s also important to know more about label symbols through research to be able to make informed decisions before using any product, most especially if it’s for medical purposes.