If you’re reading this, then you’ve likely:
And the reality is, you’re not alone. In such a lightly regulated industry, cosmetic brands have been armed with marketing dollars to produce fancy packaging, use cosmetic marketing jargon and celebrity endorsements to lull us into purchasing their products.
The truth is despite all these efforts, if a cosmetic formulation is not great in the first place - it's just not going to do us any good.
And when it comes to cosmetics, there are ingredients that have been proven to have demonstrable benefits for your skin and those that don't. It's never fun to fork out $50 on an “acne-fighting” cream only for it to break you out...exactly the opposite of what you wanted.
With all this in mind, here’s our practical guide on understanding ingredient lists to help you become smarter in achieving your skincare goals. Let's get to it!
Ingredient lists can be found on the packaging or on the actual cosmetic product. If you can’t find the ingredient list of a product, it might be best to stay away from it considering the number of alternatives there out there.
If you don’t have the physical product with you, there are faster alternatives:
Search Skincarisma – We have a database of over 25,000 products and it’s growing daily from community submissions. If you’ve found a product on Skincarisma, then you can happily skip to Step 3!
If it’s not on Skincarisma, you can find the ingredient list of most products from one of the following:
You’ve found the ingredient list, and it’s a list of scientific words and you can’t really make much sense of it. It’s fine because that is where Skincarisma can help you! Just copy that ingredient list and paste it into Skincarisma’s cosmetic analyser. Make sure it’s in English and each ingredient is separated by a comma (“,”).
Congratulations! you have either found a product you’re interested in or just finished analysing an ingredient list.
For the next section we will be using an asian beauty staple, "CosRX Low PH Good Morning Cleanser" to demostrate how to use Skincarisma!
It might seem daunting at first but it’s actually very easy to understand and can be broken down into these sections:
Let’s take a quick look at each of them:
There are 5 main Notable Effects that could show up here:
You will also find the ingredient related to notable effect in the section next to it. Most of the times, if a product claims to do one of the above notable effects – they should have an ingredient that actually does it and it should show up here. If it doesn’t, then the product likely doesn’t live up to its’ claims.
Key takeaway is this: If you’re after a specific effect, make sure to pay attention here – it helps separate the facts from the marketing hype!
If you want to know more about the 5 notable effects, we will be releasing our guides to each one soon. To be notified of the launch, simply sign up to Skincarisma. :)
Here’s a quick visual to see if the product contains ingredients that are either good or bad for your skin type. If you hover your mouse over the section or click it (mobile view) – a short note will appear.
You may choose to avoid products that contain ingredients that are particularly bad for your skin type and choose products that contain more good ingredients for your skin type.
This is where we let you know 4 things about a product
Some people prefer products without parabens, sulfates and alcohol and if you’re one of them, then this section is for you 😊
We also show a snapshot of the percentage % of ingredients that are low, medium or high risk as categorized by EWG and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR). Both are organizations that are focused on cosmetic ingredient safety, here is some more information about them:
EWG is one of the few organizations that have curated and compiled data from multiples sources to create a rating for cosmetic ingredients which is why we’ve decided to use their score.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) studies individual chemical compounds as they are used in cosmetic products.
If you want to read up more about them you can check out our FAQ here or their websites.
Lastly it's the full ingredient list and a full breakdown. This includes its cosmetic function as well as their individual ratings from EWG and CIR. We also have the notable effects in the notes section so you can see which ingredient is responsible for an effect.
Yes, it’s that simple. If you have any questions about this, feel free to write a comment or send us a message by clicking the little button on the bottom right.
To start finding your products simply search for the product name or brand in the search bar at the top of this page.
Happy researching and hope this helps you on your skincare journey :)