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Packaging for cosmetics: how to read the symbols


According to new European regulations, packaging for cosmetics must report a series of symbols to make it easier for consumers to choose products by clearly specifying the recommended directions for use.

One of the symbols introduced with the new regulation for products with an expiry date of less than 36 months is the PAO, meaning the Period After Opening and stands for the product’s expiry date.

Moreover, symbols relating to the products’ recycling have been introduced: the ‘chasing’ black and white arrows forming a circle mean that the product complies with recycling regulations. When the packaging must be disposed of as general waste, it will instead feature the tidyman symbol or the three white arrows forming a triangle. Products that can be recycled will feature triangles or hexagons formed by black arrows with the code of the material.

All the ingredients used in the product must be reported on the packaging or on a separate piece of paper. In this case, if there is an information leaflet, the packaging will feature the symbol of an open book and a hand.

Finally, all the information relating to the manufacturer or distributor, with the full name and address, is essential.