Having a hard time reading the labels on your products?

Having a hard time reading the labels on your products?
Reading product labels is almost like reading French it's foreign, confusing, and overwhelming.  Let's break it down! 

Understanding Skincare Ingredient label
1. Ingredients MUST be listed in order of concentration “except for ones that are less than 1 percent of the formula and colorants, fragrances, and preservatives."  
Above are two different cleansers.  
Diana Raly's Skin Health Gentle Papaya and Quinoa Cleanser.  The very first ingredient aloe vera juice has the highest concentration in the formula.  Aloe vera not only is the delivery system in the formula but also has skin benefits such as: combatting acne, healing sensitive skin, and promotes a youthful glow by regenerating skin cells.
Cetaphil's first ingredient listed is water, while water is super beneficial internally for our skin it has very little skin benefits topically.  You will also see the remainder of the ingredients are fillers and preservatives.  
What are fillers? By definition, a "filler" component of a cosmetic formula is any inert ingredient used to create bulk, texture, or lubrication.  Typically, fillers are not essential to the active part of a formulation, nor do they make a product perform better.  Fillers are empty calories in skincare, the processed sugar, the processed carbohydrates.  Common fillers: PEGs, Synthetic Fragrance, Dyes, Parabens.

2. Active vs Inactive:  An active ingredient is one approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to perform a specific function for a specific condition. IE: zinc oxide for sun protection Active ingredients are listed, along with their percentages, a short description of how they work in a product, and how the product that contains them should be applied. “Inactive” ingredients are not actually inactive; they are the supporting ingredients in the formula.  

3. Ingredients must be identified by their "common names" in English on product labels in the United States.  Many companies will also include the Latin name.  IE: Lavender is the English common name, Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis is the Latin name.

Understanding Certifications

  1. Peta Certified: Companies listed either signed PETA's statement of assurance or provided a statement verifying that they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and that they pledge not to do so in the future. "Cruelty-Free and Vegan" also designates that the company sells an entirely vegan product line. 
  2. 1% for the planet: 1% for the Planet was founded to prevent greenwashing, certify reputable giving and provide accountability. The 1% for the Planet certification is given to businesses and individuals that meet our high-bar commitment—donate 1% of annual sales or salary to environmental causes. 
  3. USDA  Certified Organic: In order for a product to be considered ‘certified organic,’ the item must be 95% or higher free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes.

Difference between Vegan and Cruelty Free

  1. Vegan: For a product to be considered vegan, it must not contain animal products or by-products [and] must not be tested on animals.
  2. Cruelty-Free: For a product to be considered cruelty-free any and all parts of the formula cannot be tested on animals.  

Other symbols to look for:
POA:  Period-after-opening symbol.  It looks like a small skincare jar with a number and the letter “M” written inside or underneath it. The number represents a product’s expiration date once opened for the first time. For example: If you open a product labeled “12M,” you have 12 months to use it before it’s considered expired.  This symbol MUST be on all your personal care products.  If your personal care product comes in a box, you might find it there instead of the bottle.

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