Breaking Down Beauty Labels: Your Guide To Reading Ingredients Lists
December 11 2020
Reading the long ingredient list and trying to decipher the symbols of your beauty labels can be confusing. The list of Latin and scientific names and marketing jargons found on the back label of a product can send you down a spiral of contemplation and perplexion. At asa, we believe in transparency. We believe as a consumer you should know what goes in and what stays out of your products. That is why we have prepared a definitive guide to help you read through your ingredients list without worry.
1. Order of Ingredients
The ingredients found on the back of any product is listed in a specific way. Rule.1 is that the components are listed in the order of highest to lowest concentration in the product. The ingredients that are found first come in the highest concentration and are likely to have the most effect. The components listed towards the end of the order are found in the lowest concentration and have little to no effect. Next time you shop for your products, check the contents list to make sure the key natural ingredients of the product come first on the list in order to avoid a higher concentration of harmful chemicals.
2. The Nomenclature
Oftentimes, one is left puzzled by all the hard to pronounce Latin or scientific names of ingredients. Why do companies spell the names so complicated, you ask? The INCI, or the “International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients” is why as it dictates a naming system based on scientific names. This makes simple products like Shea Butter into Butyrospermum Parkii, Rosemary oil into rosmarinus officinalis, and so on. It’s alright if you can’t understand what these arduous names are because most often, the common tags of these ingredients are given in parentheses. So don’t be afraid of these big scary names the next time you look through an ingredient list, just search it up on the internet if you feel unsure.
3. Preservation and Expiry
The shelf life or the expiry of a product is determined by the preservative used. The most common preservative is Parabens; an ingredient you must try your best to avoid as it is harmful to the environment and you. Instead of Parabens, you can use ingredients like Phenoxyethanol, natural preservatives and more.
Another important factor is to look out for a symbol of an open jar with a number and an ‘M’ beside it, e.g, 12M. This symbol simply shows the number of months your product will last after breaking the seal. However, do not mistake this with the expiry date, which is the maximum duration the product can be kept on the shelf with or without it being opened. The preservation ingredient, the expiry and the open jar symbol are all interconnected points to note while looking for a new product.
4. The Symbols
There are a variety of symbols to look out for starting from the rabbit that stands for cruelty-free, the open jar as mentioned before, the recycle symbol, the Eco-Cert symbol and more. Since symbols are universally known to catch our attention faster and are signs of approval, look out for certain symbols on the back of your product to make sure they are verified.
Being aware of what goes into your beauty products can help the planet, you and our future. Knowing how to read product labels might be a small step but it can go a long way in empowering you, as you make the better choice. With this guide, we hope to give you the wholesome, clean beauty experience, with trust and responsibility.