How to Read Cosmetic Labels (and What Symbols to Look Out For)

The best way to get to know your favorite vegan skincare products is by carefully reading the label. This may seem like a no-brainer for some, but it’s so important. The label includes information that lets you know everything from the ingredients found inside to the practices the brand employs. With this information, you’ll be able to feel confident about the products you’re using. Have questions? Not sure what certain symbols stand for? Keep reading below. 

Ingredient list

The order in which the ingredients appear on your skincare label is significant. They’re listed from highest to lowest concentration. However, if the ingredient’s concentration is less than 1% it can be listed in any order. That’s why if there are specific ingredients that you look for and need in your skincare — like vegan probiotics, niacinamide or rosemary leaf water and oil — make sure they’re listed at the beginning of the ingredient list. 

As you’re sorting through the ingredient label, you’ll also notice that many of your favorite ingredients are listed under a different name. That’s not a mistake. It’s the ingredient’s INCI name, which stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. Based on their scientific, Latin and English names, INCI is a system used for naming cosmetics. The INCI naming system is used internationally, making it easier to identify ingredients no matter where in the world you live. The common ingredient name and the INCI name can be the same or different.

At glowoasis, we know the importance of establishing trust with our customers. We strive to always be upfront and honest, which is why we offer full ingredient transparency. We break down any complex ingredients by listing all the individual ingredients within. And, we list all allergens on our label, too. 

Period after opening symbol (PAO)

This symbol, which looks like an open jar, represents how long the product is good for once it’s opened. You’ll see numbers like 6M, 12M and 24M — with the M standing for months. This number should be used as a guide for when to replace your skincare product. In the U.S., there are no laws or regulations set forth by the FDA that require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or expiration dates printed on their label. But, if the product is expired, any oil ingredients will rise to the top. This can clog your pores, which is why it’s crucial to follow this symbol. 

E-mark symbol

A lowercase “e”, often referred to as an e-mark, indicates that the average volume or weight of the product is the same as the number on the label. This symbol shows that the product complies with EU rules.

Vegan Society & PETA logos

We are proud to be registered with The Vegan Society and certified by PETA. For those that don’t know, the Vegan Society is a reputable, UK-based organization that certifies a product is vegan. PETA, on the other hand, is a well-known U.S.-based organization that verifies a product and its ingredients haven’t been tested on animals. You can find these logos on our packaging, as well as our website.

Recycling symbol

When you see this symbol on your skincare packaging, it indicates that the container is recyclable. There are a bunch of different variations to this symbol that communicate information about the container itself. For instance, our cloudcleanse cloud-whipped foam cleanser and probiotics + murumuru ultra calming toner each display a 1 inside the recycling symbol to indicate that the plastic is polyethylene terephthalate. Containers like our glowshot supercharged hydrating serum and probiotics + murumuru hydra surge moisturizer have GLASS written underneath the recycling symbol to show that the container is indeed made from glass.

FSC certification

According to the Forest Stewardship Council, a FSC certification symbol tells you that the products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. The FSC Principles and Criteria provide a foundation for all forest management standards worldwide.

Have you been reading your cosmetic labels correctly? Now that you know what these important icons symbolize, be on the lookout for them when you shop with us at!
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