Confused by beauty product symbols?
As confusing as they may seem, these beauty product symbols can tell you so much with so little. Today, we’ll decode them for you, so you can stay clear of beauty boo-boos.
Some tell you about the shelf life, while others share more about its origins. With the rise of eco-awareness, there are symbols to show how environmentally friendly your beauty products are.
PAO – Period After Opening
Of all beauty product symbols, this is the one you’ll see most often. The label resembles an opened round cosmetic jar. While the accompanying digit with 'M' tells you how many months this item can be used after opening. A PAO symbol with '12M' simply means your foundation or lippie is good for 12 months once opened. For reference, most eye products like our CanGro Long Lashes Eyelash Enhancer have a PAO of 6 months! Of course, expiry dates will no longer apply once you've opened your product.
Likely the most recognizable one, the Mobius Loop is the universal recycling symbol. These three-twisting arrows typically indicate a packaging as recyclable. Other common variants you’ll see include the triangle with a solid circle which means a container is made of recycled material. In contrast, a digit in the triangle shows the percentage of recycled material used.
The unified signage for “end-of-life” products created from the French Decree. This symbol was introduced to make consumers aware that the product and / or packaging can be recycled and that recyclable packaging must be separated into the relevant categories (plastic, paper, etc.) at the end of product life. The symbol holds a very similar meaning to the universal recycling symbol.
Found on products made in over 30 European countries, manufacturers have paid a licensing fee for the Green Dot. This means producers contributed to national recycling companies to collect and recover recyclable packaging.
Psst! You’ll find this on our made-in-France range of LilaRoze body and skincare goodies!
Like the Green Dot, the E-mark is also commonly found on European-made items. This means the average quantity of a batch of products should not be lower than the stated nominal quantity.
Resin Identification Code (RIC)
Image source: John Vlachopoulos
Unique to plastics, this triangle of three arrows comes with numbers 1 – 7, each representing a specific type. For example, you’ll often see number 1 on our favourite bottled drinks, which are made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Number 5 is the code for Polypropylene (PP) and it’s one of the most versatile plastics due to its high resistance to heat and fatigue. You’ll find PP used as containers for LilaRoze’s range of body scrub and cream, and plastic hinges on a Tic Tac box. The one to avoid number 7 as it’s a bucket category for everything else.
In Singapore, the list of recyclable plastics is limited and usually not based on the numbers. For instance, disposable utensils and Styrofoam boxes we use for takeaways can’t be recycled, even bio-degradable bags. What you can recycle are your containers for shampoos and facial wash and more.
With the rise of K-beauty, you’ll have Korea’s version of the RIC with no numbers. Made-in-Korea brands such as Dr. Althea have the 3-pointed label with categories printed in Korean, extending beyond plastics. While the categorisation may be different, some overlaps with Singapore's standard for recyclable material with Styrofoam are the one common unacceptable packaging.
Resembling a tree ending with a tick, you will have a peace of mind with this symbol. FSC-labelled products are sustainably sourced and made, ensuring our forests last for generations to come. Look out for this on your paper boxes!
Armed with this new-found knowledge, go forth and shop away with confidence at beautycloset.sg.