Let's talk a little bit about how to de-code and read cosmetic and beauty product packaging today. Our skin is our largest organ, accounting of 15% of our body weight! Therefore, it is important to take proper care of it, just as you would with any other part of your body. We know that you babes are careful about what you put in your mouth and it's just as important to be aware of what you are putting on your skin.
Similar to labels on food, all skincare products must have standardized symbols and ways of communicating what's in the product, how to use it and what the shelf life is. In addition to these mandatory markings, companies can also add logos for organizations to show how their product was made or the type of ingredients in the product (think cruelty free/organic)
Let's start with the basics, here are the things that you will find on EVERY cosmetic/beauty product as well as how to understand what it all means:
1. Product Weight/Volume:
On the front of every product, the weight (in oz/g) or volume (in mL or fl. oz) must be displayed. It's important to note especially if you are price conscious and want to compare products as sometimes packaging can be deceiving!
2. Ingredient List:
Just like on food labels, cosmetics must list all ingredients contained in the product. These ingredients are displayed in order from highest concentration to least. Therefore, it's important to keep in mind that the ingredients at the end of the list are probably in very low concentrations. In some cases, this would be for safety (as is the case of our cleansing oils with essential oils as), however cosmetic companies also use it as a marketing strategy. For instance, if a shampoo claims to be made with argan oil to make your air stronger but argan oil is towards the end of the ingredient list, it likely means that there isn't much actually in the formula. Think Dirty is an excellent resource for searching how "clean" a product's ingredients are to help demystify what is on the label.
This part of the label tells you how to use the product and will often include warnings of use and how to properly store the product to maximize shelf life. Pay close attention to this section to make sure that you are getting the most out of your products!
4. Location of Manufacturing:
This will show you the address of the location that the product was manufactured. Governments require that this be present so that consumers are able to contact the company if need be.
5. Shelf Life:
Shelf life for cosmetics and skincare products is displayed as a date period inside of a jar (see below). Although the product will generally not become harmful if it is beyond it's designated shelf life, it will usually lose it's desired/advertised level of effectiveness for your skin.
We hope that you learned something and this helps to make more sense of some of your confusing product labels. Take a look at the products you have on hand and always ensure that you read labels carefully prior to purchasing. This is especially important for all of you out there with allergies! :)