It’s written on the label
When you go shopping for skin care products – how often do you actually read what’s written on the label? And when you do, how much of it do you truly understand?
If you find it tough to work out what’s in your moisturizer, this short article may help begin to demystify the technical language.
In the world of cosmetics, the list of ingredients is known as the ‘INCI’ – which stands for “International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients” – it’s a standard system of naming ingredients which is meant to make life easier for us to understand what’s in the products we buy.
Products like ours, which contain only plant-based ingredients, will usually have ingredients that have two Latin names. The commonly used name will often follow these in brackets. Sometimes, another word such as ‘oil’ or ‘butter’ will also be added as in “Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the type of language that’s written on the label of skincare products, some of the names can sound rather high falutin, but if you take a little time to get used to them, soon you will be talking like a proper cosmetician.
The next thing to note is that the order in which ingredients are listed on packaging is also significant. In general, the ingredient whose percentage in the contents is the highest is listed first, and then the rest of the ingredients follow in descending order according to their percentage. Some companies show only the key ingredients on the label and they state that you need to check their website to see the complete list of ingredients.
Once you’ve understood what’s in your product, there are the BBE or PAO dates to take note of. BBE stands for “Best Before End” Date, and PAO stands for “Period After Opening” date. Beware that some skin care products may stand for a long time on the shelves of warehouses before they are shipped, and you may need to use them soon after opening. In the case of our soaps, they are good for two whole years from the point of purchase.
What also matters, especially in hot countries, is how products need to be stored. Must they be kept out of direct sunlight? Is refrigeration advised? Not surprisingly, if products are not stored appropriately and used within time, they are likely to lose their effectiveness and, in rare cases, may even become toxic.
Finally, watch out for cases where just one ingredient is advertised with words such as ‘organic’ and ‘natural,’ when the rest of the ingredients are far from it. This practice is more common than you may think.
If you’d like to know more about product labelling and which ingredients may be best to avoid, there is lots of information on the net. One good resource by The Environmental Working Group is : https://www.ewg.org/the-toxic-twelve-chemicals-and-contaminants-in-cosmetics.
For more info about what goes into our products, please visit our key ingredients page.