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As a savvy consumer, do you read the labels carefully before you buy beauty products? Can you interpret all label meanings? How to define “natural” and “organic” products? We are going to provide the following 6 tips that help you to decode!

1. Ingredient and Ingredient Order

Beware of the ingredient order listed on product label is very important. Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight in the product. Ingredient labels of beauty products are almost based on the INCI list. INCI stands for “International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients”, which is a naming system for ingredients.

Beauty Product Label

2. Origin

Some beauty products are not labelled the origin. In fact, the numbers of product barcode can indicate the origin. The first two or the first three digits of the first group of barcodes are refer to the origin country or the origin region. For examples, 00-13: USA and Canada; 30-37: France; 45-49: Japan; 471: Taiwan; 489: Hong Kong; 885: Thailand.

Beauty Product Label

3. Period-after-opening (PAO) Symbol

If the makeup products are not labelled “Best before” or “Used by”, unopened makeup products have at least 36-month shelf life in general. The opened jar symbol represents the lifetime of beauty product after opening. For example, “6M” denotes 6 months.

Beauty Product Label

4. Estimated Sign/ E-mark

A lowercase “e” means the quantity/volume of the product is as same as the quantity/ volume listed on the label, which meets the standard of European Union.

Beauty Product Label


ECOCERT is a France-based organic food and makeup certification organization. This symbol means that 95% of the product ingredients are plant-based and 10% are organic.

Beauty Product Label

6. Cruelty-Free

These symbols are certified labels “Cruelty-free”, which means the products and the ingredients have not been tested on animals.

Beauty Product Label

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