Decoding Skincare Labels
Decoding skincare labels
Skincare labels and claims can be confusing and misleading. There is so much to take in, so let's do this in chunks.
Let's start by breaking down an ingredient list.
- Order of ingredients
Ingredients are listed in descending order from most to least.
Ingredients of 1% or less and colorants can be listed in any order.
- Quick reads
Water can be 60-95% of the formulation.
Total amount of essential oils in a face product is max 1.5%.
Fragrance and proprietary ingredients don't have to be broken down.
- Oil-based ingredient lists are the easiest to read as they may only contain oils, butters, waxes, fragrance, essential oils, essences and antioxidants.
Oil-based products only require a preservative system if the product will be used in or around water.
- Water-based formulas require a preservative system or at least one preservative.
Additionally, there might be an emulsifier, a solubilizer, ingredients for balancing ph levels, surfactants, penetration enhancers and other functional ingredients.
These are the types of ingredients that are harder to read. It can be difficult to know which ingredients are natural and non-toxic.
- Pay close attention to the top 5 ingredients especially if the product makes a hero ingredient claim. More on this in part 2.
Note that some ingredients are effective in small amounts such as essential oils and antioxidants. These should not be listed towards the top.
Hope this help shed a little light on confusing skincare labels. Don't worry, there is more to come.