When it comes to making informed choices about the products we use on our bodies, understanding how to read the ingredient list is crucial, however deciphering these labels can be quite daunting, with technical terms, long lists of ingredients, and confusing symbols. yikes!

It’s the reason, we have our infamous Banned Ingredient List, but if that’s not enough, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through skincare ingredient labels like a pro. We will cover the basics of ingredient lists, the significance of the INCI system, and the meaning behind the labels.

Let’s dive into the basics!


In the cosmetics industry, ingredient lists are required by law to include comprehensive information about the ingredients used in a product. These lists can be referred to as INCI lists, which stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. The INCI system provides a standardized way of listing ingredients using scientific names, ensuring consistency across brands and countries.

Concentration Level

Similar to food labels, ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration. The first few ingredients make up the bulk of the product, giving you insight into its primary components.


Be wary of the ingredient “fragrances” listed on the product. fragrance or parfum on the ingredient list might sound harmless, but it’s often a blanket term for a mix of undisclosed chemicals. if you have sensitive skin or allergies, opt for products labeled as “fragrance free”

Chemical vs. Natural Ingredients

While both chemical based and natural cosmetics can be effective, some individuals just prefer products with fewer synthetic chemicals. Look for plant extracts and essential oils if you do lean towards natural formulations.

Active Ingredients

Active ingredients are the ones responsible for a products intended purpose, such as moisturizing, anti-aging, or sun protection. Ensure the presence of these ingredients aligns with your skincare goals.

Silicones and Emollients

Products that promise a smooth, silky feel often contain silicones and emollients. While they can enhance texture, they may not be suitable for everyone, especially those prone to acne.

Cruelty-Free and Vegan

If ethical considerations are important to you look for products labeled as cruelty-free or vegan. These products often avoid animal testing and animal-derived ingredients.

By understanding how to read and interpret skincare ingredient lists, you can become a more informed consumer, confidently navigate the world of skincare and make informed decisions about the products you use.

Be sure to check out our banned ingredient list for a deeper dive into what not to use.

Goodluck shopping!

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