How to Read the Labels on your Skincare Bottles like a Pro !


We’ve got a cheat sheet for you. A checklist, if you will. Your guide to clean beauty shopping. The next time you walk into a store and you pick up a shampoo bottle or a face cream, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Yes, you’re welcome!

 Your Labels Decoded:

1. Front of Pack

The packaging of your bottles is so much fun! Sometimes it’s even downright delicious. Well, the face of your product will give you a name and a product descriptor, but we urge you to turn the bottle around. The info you actually need is all at the back.

2. Back of Pack

Here’s where you’ll see the directions of usage and product details. All that literature about lathering up, smoothing down or scrubbing makes you want to drop everything and run yourself and bubble bath. Most of the time, we are rushing to the checkout counter by the time we get there. But we’ve got to stay strong and Tackle that Ingredient List.

3.The Ingredient List

Here, the ingredients are arranged in the descending order of concentration. So for example, if Aqua(Water) is the first ingredient listed on the label, then that product has the greatest amounts of water (highest percentage). It is then followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts.

 Let’s take a look at this label

 Restricted Ingredients List


So here, the product is predominantly made up of Richis Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil and so on. It contains the smallest amounts of Water, Citric Acid and Sodium Benzoate. 

Takeaway: Watch out for the first ingredient on the list. It goes without saying…if it’s a harmful chemical, then that’s not a good sign. If it’s one of the last ones on the list, then it's not too bad, but ideally, try and avoid sulfates, parabens and artificial fragrances altogether. Here's why. 

4. What to look out for

The claims a product makes in its product descriptions, like Natural/Organic, need to be verified by its ingredient list. Many times, the natural ingredient in question may be far down on the list, with the product containing only small amounts of it. For example, a shampoo’s front label may claim that it contains Argan Oil. Now, this could be true, and the argan oil itself is probably organically procured, but if it is coupled with other harmful ingredients, then the shampoo is still unsafe for you.

Takeaway: Organic, natural, cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and other such product descriptors don’t necessarily mean ‘clean’ or ‘toxin-free’. Check if toxins are on your ingredient list. 

5. What’s good for you

We’re going to debunk a popular beauty myth: “If the ingredient name is unpronounceable, it’s bad for you”. You’ve probably heard this before, and we are here to tell you that that’s not true. More often than not, even clean, natural ingredients will be listed on the labels with ‘scientific’ sounding names. Here are a few:

Triglyceride – liquid fraction of coconut oil
Tocopherol – vitamin E
Xanthan Gum – naturally derived thickener
Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract – chickweed plant extract


Takeaway: Don’t let those scientific names scare you. Even your cleanest, plant-based products will have hard to pronounce names, and that’s okay. You’re still safe. As long as your ingredient list doesn’t contain any of these toxins.

Happy shopping!


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