Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Learning to read cosmetic labels makes you a savvy consumer. Right? It places the power of educated decision making in your hands enabling you to choose what is best for you, your skin, and your health. True, but unless you are a chemist, or scientist, understanding an ingredient list is quite another matter. The names of ingredients are, for the most part, incomprehensible. Reality Check! Consumers are not expected to interpret the information correctly, in fact, it is highly doubtful that much time is really spent reading the fine print. What does sell cosmetic products is good old fashioned advertising as opposed to a labored dissection of the contents. A skin care cream is sold on a promise, . . . a promise for a specific result. It is the triple 'P' principle in marketing cosmetics. People Purchase Promises. Anti-aging products are manufactured around the needs of their mid-life consumers and the most reputable skin care companies will deliver the best product they have in their arsenal against aging.

For the record, here is an abridged version on how to read an ingredient list. Each product will have an army of ingredients incorporated into the product to fulfill its divine purpose. The cosmetic label will host the ingredients listed in a descending order of concentration. The first five ingredients are the most important and will offer a fairly good preview of the overall product. Vitamin extracts, essential oils, and AHAs may appear in the middle of the list because they are efficient in smaller concentrations. Fragrances and preservatives should be on the tail end of things - below 1%. Once you see a fragrance listed, which is usually at the 1% concentration level, anything after is generally in the preservative family. What is interesting is that a "trade secret" does not have to be listed, and that secret will be the coup-de-gras of the cream. Hmmm . . .

So, do yourself a favor and put away your cosmetic dictionaries and leave that to the professionals. Our best advice is to ask your esthetician to explain the product and its ingredients to you and make sure the product you choose is the correct choice for your skin type and your specific needs. Keep checking back with us and we will do our best to help you become an informed consumer, . . . without all the fuss.