Can You Read Your Beauty Packaging?

From expiration to the environment, there's lots of important info on the label!

When we buy a new foundation or a new eyeshadow palette our minds is always on the makeup. However, it is great to understand all the labels that are on the outside of our makeup products too.

Every beauty product, from hair care, to nail products and makeup will have certain information on the packaging that will help you get the most out of your products. Here is a breakdown of some of the labels that will be on the products in your makeup bag.

The expiration time:

Most people are hyper-aware of expiration dates on food products, but they are also important when it comes to your beauty routine.

At the bottom of your product, you will see a small container symbol normally with a number on it, for example, “24m.” This means that you should use the product within 24 months of opening it.

The expiration date will depend on the type of product it is and the ingredients that are in it. It is often recommended that foundations are used within 12 months of opening. Powder-based products such as setting powder, bronzer or eyeshadows often have a longer expiration period of about 24 months.

Recycling symbol:

There is a universal recycling trademark symbol in Europe that is easily recognisable. The symbol known as “the green dot” is two arrows in the shape of a circle. It is used on the majority of makeup products sold here in Ireland but will not always be green.

The colour of the recycling symbol will depend on the colour of the makeup packaging.

According to Repak, this symbol does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable but that it has been recycled in the past and will be recycled in the future.

The symbol also means that suppliers and producers have contributed financially to the recycling of packaging in Europe. Therefore, you know when you buy a product with this symbol on it that that the company is actively trying to recycle and do their bit for the environment.

Vegan and Cruelty-Free Symbols:

There are many symbols that represent if a product is vegan or cruelty-free. Some make-up products will simply say on the packaging, “Not Tested On Animals” however this could still mean that they use products associated with animals such as beeswax or honey which can often be used in creams and lotions.

The beauty industry is becoming increasingly more aware of the use of animals in the production of makeup products. As a result of this, many companies are cruelty-free while others are completely vegan.

PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals have a range of vegan and cruelty-free labels that are among the most trusted in the world. PETA’s European cruelty-free and vegan symbol is easily recognisable in the form of two bunny ears.

In order for a makeup product to obtain this label, the company must not only ban animal tests but must also refuse to use any animal by-products, such as honey or beeswax in their products.

There are many popular Irish cosmetic companies that have gained PETA’s approval. Irish companies that do not test on animals include BPerfect Cosmetics, Carter Beauty, SOSU by SJ, Bellamianta and Iconic Bronze.

The Leaping Bunny logo by Cruelty-Free International is also a popular label used by many beauty companies; this represents products that are cruelty-free. This means that products are not tested on animals during any process of production.

Understanding the labels on cosmetic products will help you when buying beauty products in the future. Recognising the expiration dates on makeup products will ensure that your much-loved cosmetics will not go to waste.

Recognising symbols such as the recycling, cruelty-free and vegan symbols will also enable you to become more aware of the makeup products you are buying and what the company behind those products stand for.


By Lauren Allen