How to Read Skin Care Labels
labels is a fundamental aspect of being an educated consumer. It ensures you won't get ripped off for an overpriced
product. It means being able to decipher how much of what ingredient something
have created this
guide to help you break down each part so that you can easily
of the terms, requirements and symbols that may appear on your product
packages. Please note that label layouts differ from company to company
so the information indicated may not be in the same spot on every label.
1. Company Name
Identifies whose product you are buying.
2. Product Name
you what you are buying.
3. Product Description
you a summary of what the product is designed for. May highlight beneficial ingredients and/or other pertinent information.
A weight or volume measurement of the amount of product you are getting
inside the packaging. Most labels will list
this in both metric and standard terms.
companies in North America and Europe are required to disclose every ingredient
included in their product. Ingredients
are listed in descending order so the most concentrated ones will be higher on
As a rule of thumb, most labels can be broken down into 3 parts. The first third
usually constitutes 90-95% of the product; the second third accounts for 5-8%,
and the last part makes up 1-3% of the formulation.
It is important to note that certain actives may need to be added only in small amounts due to safety and/or efficacy issues. Just because an ingredient is listed lower on the label does not always mean that the product is not delivering it in proper concentrations. To illustrate, many OTC (over-the counter/non-prescription) acne products contain 2-4% salicylic acid. This means that even though salicylic acid may be listed in the last third of the label, the levels are adequate to achieve a therapeutic effect.
Sometimes, percentage values of active ingredients may not be disclosed on the label. In such cases, it is important to use your judgement. For example, if you find preservatives, fragrance and color listed higher on the label than the active ingredient, chances are that this product is not delivering on it's promise.
The Natural Chemist lists
both chemical names (INCI), as well as "common" names for every
ingredient in our product so that you know exactly what you are getting. In addition, we have
a comprehensive online glossary so that you can look up any ingredients that
you are unfamiliar with. We have also included a list of questionable ingredients that may help you separate the good from the bad in your creams, cosmetics and lotions. Our lists are by no means definitive and we urge you do
your own research so that you can make responsible choices about your skin care.
6. Directions for use
Instructions on how to use the product. Any warning or
cautionary advice is highlighted here and should be carefully followed.
Manufacturers may include additional information to spotlight how their product
is different from others.
8. Manufacturer Info
The name of the manufacturer, location and area/zip code.
All of our products also list our website address so that you can easily
contact us with any questions.
Although not a legal requirement, manufacturers may provide
instructions on recycling, as well as other statements or notices. All of our
packaging components are completely recyclable and we include a reminder on our
labels. The Natural Chemist products are cruelty-free; we never engage
with suppliers that test their materials on animals for any purpose.