Why you should pay attention to the symbol on the back of the cosmetic case

Why you should pay attention to the symbol on the back of the cosmetic case




우리는 먹는 음식이나 음료를 살 때 항상 유효기간과 성분 목록을 습관처럼 확인한다. 그러나 피부관리 제품이나 화장품을 살 때는 그렇게까지 하는 경우는 거의 없다. 따지고 보면 피부는 인체의 가장 큰 기관이기 때문에 내 피부에 무엇을 바르는지에 대해서는 어쩜 음식물 만큼 꼼꼼히 살펴볼 필요가 있다. 화장품 케이스 뒷면에 표시된 심벌은 무엇을 의미하는지, 가장 널리 사용되는 심벌의 의미와 제품 라벨을 읽는 방법에 대해 알아보자.

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.



The hourglass symbol, which often has a number in it, indicates the period after opening. As noted earlier, if you hold onto products for too long, they can “spoil.” That’s true of something like mascara, which could irritate eyes, as well as skin-care products, whose ingredients separate and break down over time, causing them to lose their efficacy. Expired sunscreen, for example, won’t protect you for as long and could lead to a painful burn. If you’re looking at a bottle you bought more than two and a half years ago and this symbol is on it, chuck it.



These makeup symbols are self-explanatory and should serve as a warning. The flame logo means a product is flammable-easily combustible or volatile. This is typical in products with alcohol, like nail polish remover, or in aerosol sprays like hairspray. When using them, avoid flames like candles, heat sources like hairstyling tools, or any other flame/heat source. In other words, blow out the candles you put around your bath before going ham with the hairspray.


Resin Identification Code

Unique to plastics, this triangle of three arrows comes with numbers 1 ~ 9, each representing a specific type. For example, you’ll often see number 1 on our favorite 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.



In the European Union, a lowercase ‘e’ is the estimated sign (sometimes called an e-mark), which indicates that, across all of the cosmetics manufactured, the average volume or weight of the products is the same as the number on the label. In other words, the volume or weight of the product is an average value. Packaging machines in the food and cosmetics industries are not completely accurate; there will always be a margin of inaccuracy.



Book and hand

A beauty bottle is only so big. If you see this makeup symbol on a bottle, you won’t get all the product info from the package alone—the product has a separate leaflet (likely inside the box) with more details, says Khanna. The included insert may have vital information such as a complete ingredients list, directions on how to use the product, and warnings or other necessary information.


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