The Ultimate Guide to Reading Product Labels

Have you been extra suspicious of what’s inside your favorite skincare and makeup products lately? You’re not the only one. Consumers are reading ingredient labels now more than they ever have—not only with food products but especially when it comes to skincare and makeup.

We want to know what our favorite products contain and whether the ingredients are good for us or harmful. While more people are checking out the ingredients, some labels can be confusing and hard to understand.

If you take a look at any ingredient label, you will notice chemical names that don’t seem familiar. This is common for a lot of skincare products and makeup. And if you can’t pronounce or recognize the ingredient, should you be putting it on your skin?

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. However, you can empower yourself by learning how to read ingredient labels properly. Ingredient standards for clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products have made consumers more aware of harmful ingredients that may be in their favorite products, but it’s still hard to decipher all of the ingredients and their purpose.

Even shopping for vegan makeup could include having to decipher ingredients that aren’t well known. We want to help consumers get down to the bottom of whether or not their skincare products are safe and made with high-quality ingredients.

Why It’s Important to Read Ingredient Labels

You should never apply a product to your skin or ingest a product before reading the ingredient label. Being more conscious of the ingredients in your favorite products or food can help you avoid coming into contact with allergens or ingredients that can cause adverse reactions. While they may be more confusing than helpful at times, ingredient labels exist to protect consumers.

Ingredient labels can also reveal the quality of the product. For example, ingredients are listed in order of being included from the most to the least. If you’ll notice that the first couple of ingredients listed is common fillers like parabens, dyes, and fragrances, this may tell you that the product isn’t potent or of high quality.

Taking the Guess Work out of Ingredient Labels with Clean Beauty and Skincare

We are going to tell you how to decipher ingredient labels, but, in case you decide you don’t want to go through the hassle, you may want to look into shopping for clean skincare products.

Clean makeup and skincare offer more transparency into ingredients, include fewer ingredients, and pledge to be made without harmful and toxic ingredients.

How to Read Product Labels

a sales lady and a customer talking about cosmetics

Next time you’re purchasing vegan beauty products and skincare, take an extra minute to check out the ingredient label. Here are a few pointers that can help you determine whether the product ingredients are good or bad for you.

Look for a Clean Beauty, Vegan, or Cruelty-Free Logo

Even if you’re shopping for clean beauty, vegan, or cruelty-free products, looking at the ingredient labels alone may not point you in the right direction.

However, clean, vegan, and cruelty-free products usually include a special icon on the front or back of the package. These icons will help you easily determine and identify products that were made with the right ingredients and the right way.

Know Your List of Non-Negotiable Ingredients

Are there certain ingredients that you know you can’t use or know that your skin is sensitive toward? For example, some people cannot apply products with fragrance or alcohol in them.

If you know your ingredient deal breakers as you begin shopping, it makes it easier to be able to analyze ingredient labels and disqualify products that aren’t suited for you.

Memorize the Toxic Five

If you’re shopping for makeup or skincare that isn’t clean or vegan, you may want to memorize the five toxic ingredients that are commonly found in your everyday products.

Not only can these ingredients cause adverse skin reactions like breakouts, rashes, or redness, but they can also disrupt your hormones and cause cancer. These are the chemicals you should look out for:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates (Sls/sles)
  • Added Phthalates
  • EDTA
  • Cyclic silicones
  • Siloxanes
  • Formaldehyde
  • PEGs
  • Triclosan
  • Triclocarban
  • Petroleum
  • Mineral Oil
  • Talc
  • BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
  • BHD (Butylated Hydroxytulune)
  • Hydroquinone
  • Micro-beads

Pay Attention to the First Line of Ingredients

On ingredient labels, the first line or two of ingredients make up most of the product. That means that the lower down the list you get, the potency and amount of each ingredient becomes less.

For example, if you’re looking for a moisturizer that has hyaluronic acid in it, you will want to make sure that hyaluronic acid is at the top or middle of the ingredient list.

If it’s the last ingredient or farther down toward the bottom, you may be getting less of that ingredient than you want or need.

Research Products Online Before Shopping In a Store

a lady tests the lipstick on her arms

It can be nervewracking to stand in the middle of the aisle scanning ingredient labels thoroughly. That’s why we highly suggest looking up products online before shopping for them in a store.

This will give you more time to look through the ingredients and find products that reflect what you need without blocking the aisle.

Don’t Be Afraid to Google It

If you come across an ingredient that you’re unsure of, a quick Google search should be able to tell you what the ingredient is and what purpose it serves. If you can’t find any additional information on the ingredient, it may be best to abstain from the product until you learn more.

Navigating product ingredient labels can be challenging, but, hopefully, you now feel more prepared to shop for your favorite products. If you’re worried about certain ingredients in your skincare or makeup products that seem unsafe, switch to using clean beauty and vegan products.

This is a great way to become more familiar with products that have more transparent ingredient labeling practices. As long as you’re being vigilant of harmful chemicals and taking time to understand your skin’s concerns and how they may be exacerbated by certain ingredients, you should be on the right path.

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The Ultimate Guide to Reading Product Labels

The Ultimate Guide to Reading Product Labels