Looking at Labels: What Cosmetic Packaging Terms Really Mean

If you buy cosmetics, you are probably familiar with terms often used on the label, such as “all natural” and “cruelty free”. What you may not know is that cosmetic terms have only general definitions, which can vary between companies.

Although the Food and Drug Administration sought to regulate terms used on cosmetics, they have been unsuccessful enforcing any terminology standards. Instead, the companies that manufacture cosmetics often use these scientific sounding terms as part of their marketing. Avoid being seduced by buzzwords: the best protection for avoiding ingredients is checking the label and contacting the manufacturer with specific questions. ขนส่งไปพิษณุโลก

Fragrance Free

Even seemingly straightforward terms can be misleading. If you are sensitive to any type of fragrance, you might think that you’re safe by buying fragrance free products. Fragrance free products can contain fragrance if the purpose of adding a scent is to mask the smell of an ingredient. When companies use the term fragrance free they are indicating that their product is odorless.

Unscented or scent free might have an odor, but that odor should be only from the ingredients used for another purpose within the product. Yet some companies use this term to differentiate between their different fragrances. Therefore, if you want to avoid fragrance for any reason, check the list of ingredients on the label. If there is anything listed as fragrance or perfume, choose another product.

Expiration Date

An expiration date is simply an estimation of the shelf life of a cosmetic. The actual expiration date will vary with the method of storage. Usually products will list on the label if humidity or temperature affects them. When using a product, try to avoid contamination by using disposable applicators, washing your hands, and keeping lids on tight. Always throw away products that have an odd smell, color, or change in texture over time. A spoiled product could cause infection or an allergic reaction.


A natural cosmetic only contains ingredients derived from plants or animals. This does not mean that the product is not harmful. Nor does this imply that a natural cosmetic might be better for your skin than something that contains synthetics. The Food and Drug Administration contends that there is no scientific data that indicates natural products are more effective or better for your skin. Regardless of your preferences, be sure to investigate natural ingredients as carefully as you would their synthetic counterparts.


Most people report at some point in their lives having an allergic reaction to a cosmetic. A cosmetic labeled hypoallergenic only claims that it does not include common allergens. Other similar terms include “allergy tested”, “dermatologist tested”, or “nonirritating”.

Even if a product does not have any commonly know allergens, it does not mean that an item cannot cause an allergic reaction. If you suspect a cosmetic has given you an allergic reaction, stop using the product and write to the company. Provide as much information as you can about the product and how you used it. A company will use this information to determine the overall effectiveness of their product.

Cruelty Free

Socially conscious people often look for the “cruelty free” phrase on the labels that they buy. Cruelty free implies that the product has not been tested on animals. While this might be the case, often the ingredients for a product are tested on animals individually. For a better indication of testing practices, experts recommend checking for the phrase “no further animal testing” instead. Also check company websites for information on their specific policies regarding information. An ethically responsible company should be happy to provide this information for a consumer.