There are two kinds of people in the world. The ones that read. And the ones that need something to read in the bathroom. If you are a bathroom reader and you have had to make a run for it without grabbing the newspaper, you end up reading labels of products in the bathroom. Which is probably when you will realize that you don’t know what the tiny symbols on the products mean. I decipher them for you here. And for the others, you should know these too.

The ‘e’ symbol

E Symbol

This doesn’t mean that the product is online. This symbol usually appears next to the weight and is the estimation symbol. It means that the weight/volume stated on the bottle or tube is exactly that and that’s the quantity you will be getting for use. An EU directive requires all products to have this symbol.

If you want to be particular, you could go home, pour out the contents and check that it weighs as much as promised by the ‘e’ sign. But wouldn’t you rather get an actual job?

The ‘open jar’ symbol


This is one that you should be looking at closely. The open jar symbol usually has a number on it. This indicates the number of months you can use the product safely before it expires or stops doing what it’s supposed to do. This is like a Best Before but in symbol form.

This is important because it can tell you if buying that quantity of product makes sense when it’s only going to be effective for a few months or so. Smart decisions, people!

The Green Dot Recycling sign (Not to be confused with the recycling logo)

Hugging Arrows

The Europeans are back with their exotic locales for Bollywood movies and their stringent rules for product packaging. This symbol, called the Green Dot, doesn’t have to be green. It also doesn’t mean that the product is recyclable to don’t toss it in your recycling pile and feel pleased for doing your bit. This sign simply means that the manufacturer is doing its bit for the environment by contributing to the causes of recycling and recovery.

And so, while he may be making leather bags and putting this symbol on it, atleast the manufacturer is recycling right?

The sentence about Animal Testing

Animal Lovers

Some sentences are cheeky and not just because they don’t use the right grammar. Products sometimes have unique ways of saying they don’t test their products on animals. But don’t you believe everything you read. Even when the products say what this one says above, it just means that the final product wasn’t tested on animals. They take no responsibility for the ingredients.

In fact, it is at the ingredient level that the testing on animals happens. Fooled you, didn’t they? You could go for brands that have a very happy rabbit prancing around on it, which means they are leaving animals alone.

Here’s a little more info on this:



This is mostly an India thing. You will see products that have a hologram on a gold or silver sticker. While we don’t even notice, these are important when you want to know which ones are counterfeit. The dodgy market of counterfeit products is thriving in our country and this one hologram could make a world of a difference.

The hologram means that this product is from the company and it’s not been tampered with. In fact, that sticker is super efficient in making any tampering pretty evident. You don’t mess around with the hologram.

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