by / Tuesday, 27 March 2018 / Published in Beauty, Lifestyle

If you have ever stopped to observe and try to read the label of a cosmetic product and you didn’t know what the icons that appear there mean, or what ingredients it has, or when it expires, etc. in this post we solve some of your doubts.


What ingredients does my cream have? Can I know the formula?

Although the formulations of the treatments are the best kept secret of the beauty firms we can learn to read the cosmetics and know what ingredients they have and even the most abundant ones.

The formulas figure in the labelling of each product according to the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI). The law obliges to specify all the ingredients, but not their percentage. It also obliges to order from more to less the ingredients of the formula according to their concentration. This is why we advise you to look at the order of the ingredients in the formula.

It is also interesting to pay attention to the names in Latin, as they correspond to plant ingredients. The rest are chemical compounds which are not necessarily synthetic.

TIP:  if your skin is sensitive and reactive it is essential that you read carefully the formula, knowing that the ingredients are ordered from the ones with more presence to the ones with less, to detect any ingredient you may be allergic to.


Do creams expire?

You will probably have got hold of a product that was open for months in your bathroom and have asked yourself if it was in good condition to use or if it would produce a reaction.

With the passing of time the components of the creams degrade. Especially if they are in contact with the exterior. Sometimes this is not a problem for your health, but you must be careful if the product is not in optimal conditions for consumption. The periods established usually offer a wide margin. In the case of solar protectors, for example, the filter can deteriorate from one year to the next.

According to European legislation the cosmetics with an expiry date of more than 30 months are not obliged to indicate the date of expiry, but yes a recommended consumption once opened. This is the PAO (Period After Opening), a symbol on the jar with a number followed by an M (months), which indicates the period in which you can use it without being a risk for your health.

TIP: when you open a cream, apart from looking at the PAO, we recommend keeping the beauty products in a fresh, dry place away from the light. When manipulating them with your fingers it would also be good to take precautions and wash your hands before and after each use, closing the jar well once you have used it.

With solar protection creams you have to be especially careful, as with time the solar filters can lose their effectiveness.

When opening a cosmetic product if you detect its composition has been damaged: it has lost its characteristic smell and colour, or its texture is watery, or it doesn’t smell good, it would be best not to use it. In this way you will avoid secondary effects such as skin irritation or allergies. It would be best to follow the recommendations indicated in the container of each product and discard it after the indicated date of use.

And what does the letter “e” mean?

It is the net content of the container, that is, the amount of product it contains.

It is an EU symbol that certifies that the product has been filled under a statistic control and thus all the units contain the weight it indicates.


Recycle and recover

In Europe all the companies are legally obliged to recycle and recover the packagings of their products. In Spain Ecoembes and Ecovidrio are the non-profit entities constituted to make possible that the containers have a second life.

This symbol of the “green point” is the one normally used and indicates that the manufacturer is complying with the law of containers.


It is important to read the instructions for use of each product, the warnings of use and how you must keep it to ensure its good condition.

The label of a product is one of the most valuable instruments for the consumers to know what is in our creams. Don’t forget to read the label to know what is behind what we consume.