Learning to read labels

These series of numbers and initials may seem quite obscure, and therefore pretty useless. And yet, if they are mandatory on cosmetics labels, it means they do have role to play, that of giving information. And all consumers can understand and learn how to use them, whenever needed. [Read more ]

March 16, 2015
The list of ingredients

August 18, 2014
Evaluation criteria

April 2, 2012
Made in
21 Results
© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
March 29, 2012 Learning to read labels
The "No animal testing" Mention

Here is a mention that, at first sign, seems to be explicit enough, stating that the manufacturer did not use animal testing to assess the tolerance or the sanitary safety of its product. However, after a closer look, and in most of the cases, this mention is particularly unclear, it even gives... [Read more ]

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December 27, 2011 Learning to read labels
The "Non comedogenic" mention

Interesting, this mention, on the label of a cosmetic product, isn’t? Indeed, who would want a product able to produce or to help producing blackheads? Nevertheless, what does mean exactly this allegation? How could one understand it and what can come from it? [Read more ]

©L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
February 16, 2011 Learning to read labels
Moisturization of the upper layers of the epidermis

This mention is often seen on the labels of our cosmetics… so that we do not pay attention and do not wonder about what it means. Indeed, what does it mean? Why is it written on some moisturizing products, and not on others? This mention is a story by itself… and has a... [Read more ]

December 3, 2010 Learning to read labels
A QR Code on a cosmetic: why?

The QR code (Flash Code in France), also known under the Data Matrix name (in the USA, for instance, in aerospace industry worldwide) is a development of the well-known bar code, in two dimensions. It is sometimes referred to as an "intelligent bar code". Newspapers, film posters, flyers, bus... [Read more ]

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October 11, 2010 Learning to read labels
What value should be accorded to patents in cosmetics?

‘Registered patent, international patent, exclusive patent, patented active...’ The mention of a patent can appear, at the manufacturer’s discretion, very clearly on the front label of a cosmetic product, sometimes in the form of a logo, or it can appear almost discreetly, in... [Read more ]

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September 24, 2010 Learning to read labels
Spray cans: no ordinary cosmetic products

Deodorant or shaving foam are often used as any other cosmetics: they are taken with us while on trips (even in cars’ trunks, sometimes overheated in plain Summer), we put them anywhere, we throw them away when empty without any more care than for any other product. Nevertheless, be aware:... [Read more ]

©L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 29, 2010 Learning to read labels
Which purpose is a cosmetic for?

The function of a product is a kind of its purpose: what and whom it is designed for. As per the applicable regulation, it is mandatory that this information be obviously easy to see on the outside label of the cosmetic product. This requirement is always met, this information being of the... [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 9, 2010 Learning to read labels
Do you (really) know the Organic Cosmetics?

You may think you know what shall be known on this topic, and yet… If you are given questions about what exactly is a cosmetic product certified as organic, you may have some trouble to give the right answers, even when you are confident in the product, even if you use it regularly.... [Read more ]

April 10, 2010 Learning to read labels
Mandatory mentions ... on purpose!

Some regulatory mentions are mandatory and manufacturers shall have them printed on the packaging of their cosmetics. These are pieces of information that the lawyers think must be made available for the average consumer. Very often, our eyes are unmindful of these small print…but,... [Read more ]

March 30, 2010 Learning to read labels
Durability? or how long can a cosmetic product be used?

Just like many everyday consumer goods, cosmetic products have a shelf life, which corresponds to the period of time during which they can be used without any fear they might be less efficient, and without any danger or risk they might be contaminated by external elements (fungi and mould,... [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
March 20, 2010 Learning to read labels
E ... It's in the bag!

In France, many people think that the "e" printed close to the volume/weight figure means "environ" (circa, in English). Indeed, it means exactly the opposite. Nevertheless, this "e" shall not be understood to the gram… Some explanations by Bénédicte Lefranc, a... [Read more ]

February 9, 2010 Learning to read labels
The "Without" mention in cosmetics

The "without" cosmetic is doing well. This specific selling point is more and more often seen on the labels of our products. Beware, it must not be read "without" understanding its meaning and "without" understanding what it deals with, in fact. Some clues. [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
January 11, 2010 Learning to read labels
The "Without preservative" mention

A cosmetic product without any preservative: why not? However, what does it mean? How is the product guarded against bacteria or microbes proliferation? What are the substitutes for parabens or the other preservatives listed in the official nomenclature of ingredients? How safe are they? [Read more ]

November 19, 2009 Learning to read labels
When "natural" is not... that simple!

What is a "natural" cosmetic product? What can be understood from a "natural ingredient" label? What is the difference with an ingredient of "natural origin"? What about this "origin"? In brief, what does the "natural" word deal with in cosmetics? When the "natural cosmetics" mention is... [Read more ]

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August 26, 2009 Learning to read labels
Cosmetics: how is efficacy proven?

Tests provide evidence and figures sometimes appear on labels to back up efficacy promises. Is that a “plus” compared to those that only make promises without evidence? It all depends on what the figures say, and what they represent… [Read more ]

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May 3, 2009 Learning to read labels
What is in a cosmetic product?

In newspapers or in ads, a cosmetic product is generally seen only as a mix of active ingredients. These ingredients are the source of its efficiency. They are pushed forward to point out the interest of a formula or what is new in it; their description is the major point in leaflets; their... [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
January 26, 2009 Learning to read labels
"Dermatologically Approved" Mention

It can be seen as different versions on the labels. Nevertheless, be it "specially designed" or "tested", it always comes with the "dermatologists’ monitoring", or depending on the application, gynecologists', dentists', stomatologists', ophthalmologists', or any other kind of medical... [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
January 26, 2009 Learning to read labels

According to the regulations governing cosmetics, the nominal quantity at the time of packaging must be indicated on the packaging, by weight or volume. The quantity indicates how much product is being purchased, in grams or millilitres. [Read more ]

Le Pot ouvert
December 2, 2008 Learning to read labels
Logos on labels

They give pieces of information, clarify requirements, give clues to know more about the products, and to use them the best way. All they have a specific meaning. [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
November 7, 2008 Learning to read labels
The "Without Paraben" mention

As for the "Without preservative" wording, this mention is more and more often seen or the labels of our cosmetics. For a similar reason, we need some clues to be sure to understand its meaning. In fact, "without parabens" does not mean "without preservative", not even "without synthetic... [Read more ]