July 21, 2017


Beauty and Cosmetic Product Packaging Symbols

by Beauty Editor

It has been about 20 years that small little symbols have been appearing on our beauty and cosmetic products and their packaging.  We may think these symbols are hieroglyphics but upon closer examination we see that these symbols define what is in our products..

Beauty and Cosmetic Product Symbol Definitions

Some of these labels you may have seen before and some are being introduced to cosmetic labeling as we speak becoming common place in a year or two.  Below are the internationally known symbols.  You will most likely encounter many more symbols and words some of these may be marketing spin and some may speak the truth.  If you are curious about the authenticity of a symbol call the company and ask.

Period after opening or best before date. This illustration of a jar with the cap off is meant to convey the date the product is set to expire once the jar is open. You will find a number and an M [for month] indicating the month this product will expire. For example 12M means the product will expire after the jar has been opened for 12 months. To find this date companies put a product through an accelerated testing so the date is an approximation. The product is not actually tested for actual number of months. More on expiration dates and how to remember them.

The bunny represents a certification from PETA that indicates no animal testing was completed on the manufacturing of a product ~ start to finish. The bunny was chosen as manufacturers in past used to test cosmetic products on animals, mainly rabbits. Companies must go through PETA for certification. The bunny logo can be attributed to cruelty free and vegan products. peta.org

The only internationally recognized logo. The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), which runs the Leaping Bunny Program, administers a cruelty-free standard and the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo for companies producing cosmetic, personal care, and household products. The Leaping Bunny Program provides the best assurance that no animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers. leapingbunny.org
The symbol for recycling in North America and internationally. When shown with a percentage in the middle it denotes the amount of post consumer waste that the product was made from (the packaging not the formulation).

The 'e' symbol refers to the net contents - the amount of product in the package. The logo is a guarantee that the quantity of the product printed on the packaging is correct, according to EU standards. Seen as "200ml e"

The basic idea of the Green Dot is that consumers who see the logo know that the manufacturer of the product contributes to the cost of recovery and recycling. This can be used with household waste collected by the authorities (eg, in special bags - in Germany these are yellow), or in containers in public places such as car parks and outside supermarkets. Since the successful introduction of the German industry-funded dual system, similar Green Dot systems have been introduced in most other European countries.

USDA Organics is one of the most stringent accreditation. It is used in the US and recognized in Asia. Once certified, a product is eligible for one of three organic labeling categories, based on organic content and other factors. '100 percent organic' means that the product must contain only organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt) and may display the USDA Organic Seal. For outright 'organic' claims, the product must consist of 95% minimum organically produced content, and the remainder must be substances approved on the National List. For a 'made with organic ingredients' statement on the label, the product must be at least 70% organic and may not display the USDA Organic Seal.

Cosmetic Organic Standard = COSMOS is an international recognized standard for organic and natural cosmetics. The COSMOS ORGANIC and COSMOS NATURAL signatures are registered trade marks (®) of the COSMOS-standard AISBL and must only be used in accordance with the COSMOS standard and this labeling guide including: ECOCERT & Cosmetique BIO France , ICEA Ethicaland Environmental Certification Institute (Italy) and Certified Natural Cosmetics BDIH (Germany). The new European standard developed by 4 certification bodies and 2 non-profit organizations, with the aim of setting down common minimum requirements and harmonizing organic and natural cosmetic certification rules. COSMOS defines two different certification levels: 'COSMOS Organic' and 'COSMOS Natural'. To be certified 'COSMOS Organic', a product must fulfill the following conditions:
At least 95% of the physically processed agro-ingredients must be organically produced.
At least 30% of the chemically processed agro-ingredients must be of organic origin at the end of a transition period of 60 months.
At least 20% of the total product must be organic. (10% for rinse-off products, lotions and products with a strong mineral component).
These percentages take into account non certifiable ingredients such as water and minerals. (Water represents on average 50 to 60 % of the composition of a cosmetic product!)
To be certified 'COSMOS Natural', there is no requirement to use a minimum level of organic ingredients. cosmos-standard.org
Founded in France in 1991 and now an international symbol, this symbol defines a product that is approved by ECOCERT an organic certification organization. An ECOCERT certification is used on food, cosmetics, detergents, perfumes and textiles. A product can be labelled ECOCERT Organic or ECOCERT Natural. ECOCERT usually goes hand in hand with a percentage and this percentage can vary. Is now regulated under COSMOS.

Cosmetic labeling is governed by the Food and Drugs Act, the Cosmetic Regulations, Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Regulations. To comply with these requirements, cosmetic labels, in Canada, must supply:
an ingredient list;
the identity of the product, in English and French;
a statement of net quantity in metric units of measurement;
the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor; and
directions, warnings or cautions, in English and French where necessary for safe use of the product.

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