• Beauty

Everything you need to know about reading beauty labels

These simple hacks will save you the hours and the worry

Decoding the ingredients in your favourite beauty products shouldn’t require a chemistry degree to work out the good, the bad and the downright ugly. So how do you navigate those impossible to pronounce ingredients without feeling overwhelmed?

According to holistic skincare expert, Samantha Sargent, the first two to four ingredients generally make up the majority of a product. “It’s not always the case but it’s a good starting point,” she says. “Take a look at those first few ingredients and then expand from there. If there is an ingredient that doesn’t look or sound like a botanical name, then I’d recommend putting it back on the shelf.”

Holistic beauty author and founder of skincare company, Mukti agrees. She says: “labels for truly natural and organic products will contain pronounceable words, as opposed to words that sound chemical- ridden.”

Mukti’s advice for deciphering label claims of organic and all-natural ingredients is to check where it appears on the label. She divides a label into three parts and the further down the list an ingredient appears, the lower its percentage.

“The top third lists the ingredients that constitute 80-95 per cent of the product. If the first ingredient listed is water or aqua, that’s what you’re paying for,’’ she says.

“The middle third constitutes about 4-12 per cent and is made up of oils, actives, emulsifiers and surfactants; and the final third makes up around 1-4 per cent of the product and includes preservatives, fragrances, stabilisers and label claims.’’

Want to know more about ingredients? Read our top 5 chemicals to avoid here.

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