What do Beauty Product Symbols Mean?

What do Beauty Product Symbols Mean?


Have you ever perused the back of your skincare or makeup products only to find that you’re met with what looks like pure gibberish? Well, we sure have. And honestly, no one deserves to find herself lost on the back of a product label. Because I mean, who wants to be lost period unless it’s on a remote beach in Tahiti? Plus, we think you already have enough on your plate with deciphering what emojis stand for these days. In this one, we’re breaking down exactly what beauty product symbols mean so you don’t have to. You’re welcome, gorgeous.

The PAO symbol: Period after opened

This little guy is as straight forward as it gets. Your period after opened or PAO symbol will tell you how long your product is good for after you’ve opened or unsealed it. Typically, you’ll find a number and an M for months (ie. 6M).

If this has you thinking about “best before dates” – not so fast, sis. These two aren’t quite the same and are often confused with each other. Don’t sweat it though, we’ve got you covered with a breakdown on the difference between these two beauty product symbols, below.  

The best before date or BBD symbol

In the world of beauty symbols, a best before date refers to a product’s shelf life. What this means is that even if a product goes unopened, this date will determine how long it can last before it is considered expired. 

When it comes to the PAO date we mentioned above, this should be calculated within the period of the best before date but only once you’ve opened it up. Clear as mud, right? Here’s the thing. If you’re opening up a product that has passed it’s BBD, it’s no bueno – even if it was sealed. However, if for example you open a tube of moisturizer that has a PAO date of 6 months, you should be sure that this 6 months does not go beyond the BBD symbol either. See? Not so complicated after all, right? With a little bit of practice, you’ll be deciphering PAO dates from best before’s in no time, honey.

The plastic neutral product symbol

BBE is way proud to be repping this beauty symbol in 2022. An item that has the plastic neutral product stamp of approval means that for all of the company’s plastic packaging, an equal amount of ocean-bound plastic will be collected and removed from the environment. Pretty great, right? We highly suggest keeping an eye out for this beauty symbol whenever you’re considering a purchase. You know, so you can feel good knowing you’re supporting a company that prioritizes this beautiful planet of ours.

The Made in USA symbol

We know, we know, beauty. This one is pretty self-explanatory. But knowing where your products are made gives beauty junkies everywhere peace of mind and a clear grasp on what and who they are supporting.

Ps. You’ll always find a “Made in USA” stamp on all of BBE’s products.

The gluten-free symbol

If you thought gluten was something that could only be found in carbs, think again. Gluten is also often used in beauty products and can be as irritating for the skin as it is for your body. From allergic reactions to skin irritation, we prefer to keep this ingredient out of all of our products. This way, we can be sure that every one will enjoy them.

The SLS/SLES-free symbol

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate are both foaming ingredients that we think you should avoid at all costs, sis. For real, we even wrote a whole blog post on the dangers associated with sulfate use and we definitely encourage you to read it. From skin irritation to hurting aquatic wildlife, these nasties are simply a no-go in our books. Picking up a product that has the SLS/SLES Free symbol on it means you’ll be ditching these nasties and that you won’t be compromising your health or the planet’s.  

The soy-free symbol

If you love yourself a soy chai, we’re not judging, girlfriend. However, many beauties have a sensitivity to this ingredient not only when consumed but also when applied topically. Side effects can range from allergic reactions (i.e. rashes and itching) and even breathing problems in some people. Around here, we choose to always ditch soy so that everone can enjoy our products.

The biodegradable symbol

Want to be sure you’re purchasing a product that has a biodegradable formula and that is eco-friendly? Well, this is the symbol you’ll want to keep an eye out for. This symbol indicates that the bottle or container is safe to toss into your recycling bin and that the formula won’t hurt the planet once discarded. We put this symbol on all of our products too.

The Leaping Bunny stamp of approval

This is one of those beauty product symbols that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And no, not just because it’s a cute bunny instead of a weird interpretation of what a jar should look like (sorry not sorry PAO symbol).

Whenever you find the Leaping Bunny stamp of approval on a product, you can rest assured that you are purchasing an item that isn’t tested on animals. According to the Leaping Bunny organization, their logo is “the only internationally recognized symbol guaranteeing consumers that no new animal tests were used in the development of any product displaying it.” This symbol also means that the company is following standards set by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC).

And you probably already guessed it, but BBE is totally Leaping Bunny approved.

The reef-friendly symbol

If you’re a lover of BBE SPF products, you’ve definitely seen this symbol a ton. The reef-friendly symbol signifies that a sunscreen does not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. These two nasties are common UV-blocking chemicals that have been linked to coral bleaching. This makes it highly susceptible to disease and death. Which is so not what we’re about. 

So the next time you’re in the market for a product that will protect you from the sun’s harmful rays without compromising marine life, look no further than BBE’s stellar lineup. From lightweight lotions to SPF infused tinted moisturizer – we’ve seriously got it all, sis. Go on, click add to cart. This article will still be here when you get back, we promise.

The certified vegan symbol

Another beauty product symbol that every natural, organic loving beauty should know about. The certified vegan symbol means exactly what you think it does. A.k.a., that the item you’re using does not contain animal products or byproducts and that have not been tested on animals. Essentially, not only does this mean you’re protecting our furry friends, but you’re also using products that prioritize using ingredients that are better for the planet, too.

Look at you, you beauty product symbol expert, you.  

There you have it. You can now confidently pick up any skincare or beauty product without feeling like you’re looking at a foreign language when you do so. In our opinion, everyone deserves to know exactly what she’s purchasing and exactly what she’s applying to that cute face of hers. Around here, we keep things transparent AF because you deserve nothing less.

So the next time you consider adding a new product to your beauty regimen, keep your eyes peeled for some of the symbols we mentioned above. It will make your life and your clean beauty journey a whole lot easier, beautiful.

Leaping bunnies & Beaming smiles,

Carey <3

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