Welcome, Log In or Register

How to read the ingredients of the cosmetic

How to read the ingredients of the cosmetic

Sometimes, we buy cosmetics which etiquette tempts us with wonderworking effects and variety of ingredients. After testing, you find out that the wonderful effects are missing and that the product actually has a negative effect. How can you defend yourself from that? Quite easily: instead of following the marketing slogans, read the ingredients of the cosmetic.

INCI, meaning the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients

Each cosmetic product is obligated to have a precise description of the ingredients on the case or the leaflet accompanying the product. According to the INCI rules, the English names for chemicals and Latin names for plants are to be used. The manufacturer of the product is not only supposed to put the name of all the ingredients, he also has to put them in order: from the biggest to the smallest percentile. So if first on the list is water, then we know that most of the cosmetic is made out of water. We can assume that the first item on the list is the base upon which the product is built on. If a substance is las than 1% of the product, then it is listed at the end in alphabetical order.

Less is better

Remember: the smaller the list, the better. The exceptions are substances that have a lot of active ingredients, but that is quite rare. Usually the list is lengthened by certain alcohols, parabens or glicoles, which fill the skins pores and dry it out.

Ideal order of ingredients

At the beginning there usually is water, oil or a type of alcohol. The best is water, oil also works, but alcohol based cosmetics should be avoided. The second ingredient should be an active substance, but most of the time those places are taken up by “fillers” (emulators, paraffin), which are not beneficial to us. The third place should be taken up by a plant extract –for example Grape Seed Extract, moisturizers (Shea Butter), antioxidants (vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid) or soothing ingredients (provitamin B5, D-Panthenol). At the end conservators and fragrances should be placed. That kind of order is optimal for cosmetics and allows them to function properly.

Dangerous components

By analyzing the ingredients in a cosmetic, we can deduce if it has any dangerous components. An example can be SLS, or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, is very often used in shampoos. This substance foams well, but also dries out the skin. Also many alcohols will dry the skin (Alcohol Denat. or Isopropyl Alcohol), so it is better to avoid them. This does not mean that one should throw out every cosmetic that contains alcohol. Glycerin is also an alcohol, and it is a quite good moisturizer. In hair conditioners Cetyl Alcohol works well, because it allows the ingredients to penetrate into the hair. Under tha category of oils one has to watch out for Paraffin Oil, Paraffinum Liquidum, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil. Parafin forms a impenetrable barrier which does not allow the skin to breathe. Because of that bacteria can develop which may damage the skin. Safe oils are made from almonds, nuts, plants or herbs.

You also have to watch out for fragrances, or more for their position in the list. It is good if they are at the end. If they are in front of the active ingredients, the active ingredients will no have an effect anymore. If the fragrances are aggressive, the producer is obliged to list the name. People with fragile skin or allergenic tendencies should avoid ingredients as: Limonene, Linalool, Citronella, Geraniol, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate, Eugenol.

Dyes are easily seen for their names are made up of the letters Cl and a number, which signifies the color of the dye. If the dye is at the end of the list, and one does not have allergenic tendencies, then it is acceptable.  It is good to remember the domain of natural dyes: CI 75100–CI 77947.

Also if the conserving ingredient is at the end of the list, the product is good for usage.

Analyzing the make up of cosmetics, we must remember that each skin is different. A amazing substance helping some, might not work, or even harm others. One must try to fins a product which satisfies the needs of the skin.

List of healthy oils

Olea Europaea Fruit Oil,
Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil,
Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil,
Cocos Nucifera Oil,
Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil,
Triticum Vulgare Germ Extract,
Avena Sativa Kernel Extract,
Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil.

Source: TRENDY 1 (32)/2013

Newsletter