Your Guide To Decode The Most Common Beauty Product Labels

3 min read

Whenever you are in the market to shop for your favourite beauty products, checking the beauty product labels and the product information is a crucial step to select the right product for you.

We are often tempted to spend money on beauty products just because they are new in the market or they are being endorsed by our favourite celebrities. It’s important to go beyond that and know what goes into your skin and ultimately, your whole body. 

Beauty labels come to your rescue to give you an insight of  what the product’s composition is; and whether the product  is suitable for your skin. 

To help you decode the labels on your beauty products, we’ve listed down some of the top phrases, words and ingredients which would help you navigate the world of cosmetics; so that you can choose the best beauty products for yourself. 

Beauty Product Labels that would help you choose the best beauty products:


This is probably the most exploited word in the world of cosmetics For cosmetics, there is no legal concept of organic or natural claims.

If a product is labeled as ‘natural’ it will generally mean that at least some natural ingredients have been used in the formula. But there’s a con to this. A product may be labeled organic even though it only contains 1 percent of organic ingredients and a huge percentage of synthetic ingredients. 

If you are looking for a product that is completely natural, make sure it’s labeled 100% natural. This means there are absolutely no synthetic ingredients.”

In addition, the products which are 100% natural might also include a certified logo. 


Clean is a term commonly used to define a form of beauty product which is produced without potentially harmful or skin irritating ingredients. The terms “clean” and “natural” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re two different concepts.

Clean ensures that the drug does not cause damage or discomfort to the body and can contain both natural and synthetic ingredients. Natural also implies that the products are not artificially manufactured and do not include harmful chemicals.


Look for skin care and beauty items that are labelled hypoallergenic if you have sensitive skin, because they are likely to produce less allergic reactions. Having said that, if your skin is prone to allergic reactions;

Then it’s advised to perform a patch test of the product on the inside of your wrist or consult a dermatologist before applying it on your skin. The term “hypoallergenic” is not regulated by the FDA and does not guarantee that you will not experience an adverse effect.

Non Comedogenic

It is generally advised by dermatologists to invest in non-comedogenic products if you  have oily skin, or are prone to breakouts. Anyone who is vulnerable to acne, blackheads or whiteheads  can use non-comedogenic products.

“It ensures the drug does not include chemicals that may clog up your pores and worsen your skin condition. Non comedogenic is an umbrella term that includes a variety of products like sunscreens, face washes, moisturisers and even some makeup products. 


If you look at your set of perfumes, you can find the term “parfum” inscribed on the bottles. So, basically; parfum is the latin word for perfume.

Since the FDA does not allow cosmetic producers to reveal each fragrance separately, the term parfum or fragrance could stand for a variety of fragrant ingredients, both synthetic and natural. 

Fragrance Free

Fragrance means a smell that has been added to a product. Fragrance-free means that no additional fragrance has been added to a formula, but the product may still be scented with the smell of other ingredient.It is advised to opt for products that do not contain fragrance as an active ingredient as they won’t cause any allergies to your skin.

common beauty product labels

Sulfate Free

Another important beauty label to look out for in your beauty products is sulfate free. Sulfates are aggressive detergents Surfactants breaking down friction of the surface and splitting the molecules which produces lather.

They are found in a variety of  products such as shampoos, shower gels and toothpaste. Sulfates are also known as – sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS)

Sulphates are believed to cause skin irritation specifically in the scalp. Additionally,  SLS mimics oestrogen levels  that  may disrupt hormones if used and consumed in large amounts. Dermatologists advise to use sulphur free products that have a much lower foaming level. 


While shopping for beauty products, you may have come across a very frequently used beauty label – “paraben-free.” Paraben-free means that a product has been formulated without a paraben preservative.

But, what are parabens and why should we be cautious of them.Paraben is short for parahydroxybenzoate and is usually listed as a cosmetic ingredient like butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben or isobutylparaben.

Parabens are widely used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. There’s a big downside to them just like sulfates, they are also believed to mimic oestrogen levels and interrupt the hormone function thereby, leading to breast cancer. 


Going sunscreen shopping? Make sure you pick a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen. A broad -spectrum sunscreen protects you against both UVA and UVB rays,” UVA rays can age your skin prematurely, triggering wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, whereas UVB rays can burn your skin.

“You need a good quality broad-spectrum SPF to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays. too much exposure to both the types of UV  rays can lead to skin cancer.


Another significant logo to search for is the PAO symbol — or period-after-opening sign. It would have the letter “M” in bold with a number next to it. The number reflects the expiry date of the product after it was first opened. For example: If you open a package called “6 M,” you have to use it for 6 months until it is deemed to have expired.


If a product has a certified cruelty-free logo printed on its label, it doesn’t mean it’s vegan. There’s a huge difference between cruelty free products and vegan products. Both of these logos certify that a product is formulated with vegan ingredients.

Additionally, cruelty free products do not contain animal products or by – products but can be tested on animals. And for a product to be considered vegan, it also should not contain animal products or by-products but it can be tested on animals. 

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