Sunday, January 25, 2009Learning to read labels


© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

According to the regulations governing cosmetics, the nominal quantity at the time of packaging must be indicated on the packaging, by weight or volume. The quantity indicates how much product is being purchased, in grams or millilitres.

Reading time
~ 2 minutes

Often located at the lower portion of the packaging, sometimes on the back or sides, or on the bottom, the quantity does not have a specific location but it must be listed somewhere as it is mandatory. It is often indicated in both metric and imperial measurements by weight, and always followed by an ‘â„®’ in France. Contrary to popular belief, this symbol does not stand for ‘environ’ (‘approximately’); rather, it means that the packaging is subject to quantity inspections in compliance with the rules set for in European law.

There is one exception to the rule: if the weight or volume is under 5 g or 5 ml, the product is not required to list its precise quantity. This can be the case for make-up or for skin cream samples, for example.

Use in evaluation and comparison

This indication is actually very useful. The appearance of packaging is not a good indicator of how much product it contains. When looking at the outer box, it is often difficult to picture how much room is taken up by other layers of packaging or to see how big the tube or jar hidden inside really is.
And even jars sold without secondary packaging can be hard to size up, due to varying thicknesses of glass.

The indication given by weight or volume is precise and cannot be misleading. It can also be used to calculate the price per 100 g or per 100 ml, which is useful for purposes of comparison between competing items or different product sizes.

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
© 2009- 2020  CosmeticOBS