How To Decode Skincare Product Labels Like A Pro: 4 Simple Steps

Step 1: Start with the basics

The order that the ingredients are listed in, can tell you just how much of that specific ingredient is present in the product.

The ingredients are always listed in descending order, starting with the highest amounts at the top of the list and the lowest amounts towards the end.

For example, if the first ingredient is aloe, then that means that the base of the product is aloe with the rest of the ingredients suspended in the base ingredient. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that active ingredients are highly concentrated and only small amounts need to be added to a product to be effective. So if all the ingredients look good and your active ingredients are listed towards the end, don’t panic!

Step 2: Don’t be fooled by sneaky marketing ploys

Of course, big name companies are all about making those dollar bills and will say whatever they need to to sell their product, even if it’s not that good for you.

Don’t think that just because a product is marketed as “natural” that it really is. This may come as a shock, but companies are actually allowed to advertise their products as natural as long as their products contain just one or two natural ingredients.

This is why it’s so important to know how to read labels so you can show ’em who’s really boss! Always look for “100% natural” and “organic” on the label.

Step 3: Steer clear from toxic ingredients

Of course it’s impossible for us to list every single toxic skincare ingredient in this article, but these are ten of the worst:

  1. Parabens
  2. Synthetic colors
  3. Fragrance
  4. Phthalates
  5. Triclosan
  6. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  7. Formaldehyde
  8. Toluene
  9. Propylene glycol
  10. Sunscreen chemicals

As a general rule of thumb, hard to pronounce ingredients are often ones to stay away from, but if you still aren’t sure, ask questions! If a company has nothing to hide they’ll be happy to help you out.

Fragrance, sulfates and parabens are a few obvious baddies to avoid.

Step 4: How to figure out the Expiration date

When it comes to finding the expiration date on a product, many of us turn the bottle around and around and end up scratching our heads in confusion. Sound familiar?

Usually the expiration is labeled by the letter “M” with a number in front of it. This indicates how many months the product is good for. For example “12M” means the product is good for 12 months. It’s very important to take the expiration date seriously, because products are exposed to bacteria and fungi over time, which can put your health at risk if used past the time listed.

By following these simple guidelines, you’ll never make the wrong choices when shopping for skincare products and you’ll be able to give your friends and family good advice too!

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