What do you notice first when you pick up a new skincare product?
We’re guessing it’s probably the design that’s caught your eye, right? If a company has put the effort into making the packaging as nice as possible, then they’ve probably considered what YOU specifically want, but are you also reading the ingredients label?
The Ingredients list is where all the really important information is, but let’s face it, do any of us really know what we’re looking for?
We know that searching for skincare products can be daunting these days, especially ones that tick every box! Buzzwords like paraben-free, fragrance-free, and clean sound amazing, but what do they really mean?
So, we’re here to help with a little guidance on what certain words and phrases mean.
Ingredients are listed by those in the greatest amounts first, with the rest following in descending order. If an ingredient has a concentration of less than 1%, then they do not need to add it to the label.
Natural vs. Clean
Natural usually means what it says on the tin. Generally it means that the ingredients for that product are sourced from marine life, plants, and fruits.
Essential oils like lavender, rose, or peppermint are used to create natural fragrances, and we are the first ones to admit we are drawn in by a nice aroma! Or, sources such as fruit extracts can provide those beautifully sweet or citrusy scents.
But this is where it gets complicated, natural doesn’t necessarily mean “all-natural.” Simply high enough levels of an ingredient are enough for it to be given the label.
This being said, any products that are trying to use natural ingredients are a step in the right direction!
Clean refers to products that are free of harmful ingredients, such as; paraben-free, fragrance-free, petrolatum-free and so on.
Synthetic fragrance and preservatives
Nowadays, a lot of companies are trying to stay clear of synthetic fragrances and preservatives as they know most of us will want to stay away, however, cheaper brands (and even some very established big names) will still secretly have them!
The use of synthetics (meaning created in a lab) have been linked to complications such as allergies and reproductive issues, amongst others! Another scary fact is that brands are actually allowed to hide the dangerous toxins that they are using under the term “fragrance”.
So, always opt for natural fragrance, fragrance-free, or naturally-derived ingredients.
Parabens & sulfates
We’re sure you’ve heard the word parabens, but exactly what are they?
Parabens are used to prolong shelf life in beauty products by preventing mould and bacteria. It has been said that parabens disrupt our hormones by mimicking oestrogen which can link to breast cancer and reproductive issues which is why we are warned to steer clear of products that contain them.
Sulfate is probably a word you’ve heard less often. Most commonly they are used in products like shampoo and toothpaste. Although sulfates do not affect everyone, they can cause those with sensitive skin types to experience varying levels of skin irritation.
Parabens are usually easier to spot on an ingredients list, so try to avoid if possible.
We hope this has helped you on your skincare journey!