Before enlightening you with my wisdom let me just tell you how much I'm enjoying being on vacation after just recently finishing my exams. It's been a while since I've been able to blog or even do my daily beauty rounds. And while writing this post I decided to see if Beth had any reviews for the movie (Tashan) I will be seeing soon with a friend. Not only did she have a review, but her post has me laughing hysterically.
Back to beauty it is. I used to get suckered into advertising where companies used to promise extracts of exotic items. Companies pretty promise some magic extract that was taken from an almost extinct species of tree that produces a pearl-like (but it's not a pearl, that's why it's so special) substances only one a year and that too only according to an ancient Maya calendar. With their magical promises companies might as well be advertising this. So here's the first post in a series on how to interpret the marketing and understanding the ingredients.
Order of Ingredients:
When you read the ingredients of a product, look at the ingredients at the beginning of the list. The ingredients are listed in the order of their percentage. Take for example the ingredients in Cosmedicine Health Cleanse:
- Water/Eau, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Cyclomethicone, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben.
I usually look for where ingredients are placed after the basic formulation of whatever it is I'm trying to buy. In the Cosmedicine cleanser, the witch hazel extract is placed right after the foaming agents. This means that I have a decent chance of the witch hazel having an effect on the way the cleanser works. If the cleanser had a lot of different ingredients and witch hazel was placed towards the end of the list, chances are the witch hazel extract wouldn't have made a skin altering difference.
So when companies promise special extracts, look at where they are placed in the list of ingredients. Since companies often advertise these ingredients, the common term for them is usually listed in parentheses next to its Latin name. If not, I like checking up on ingredients here.
Knowing the complex terminologies is very hard but there are a few basic patterns I look for. For example, ingredients that end in '-cone' usually indicate some type of silicone product. A good idea is to check a cosmetic ingredients database if you have any doubts (I will compile a list of common and recurring patterns of ingredients used in skin care soon and post it).
The best thing about reading ingredients is the potential power (yes it is power to not have cystic acne because of a new cream) in identifying and avoiding ingredients that might irritate your skin. When I am trying out new products and can feel those suckers rising from under my skin (I'm talking about zits in case I wasn't clear), I first eliminate products that I know I do not break out from. After this, I compare the ingredients of the potential products and look for a recurring ingredient. I then check with my skin-friendly products to see if I could tolerate the ingredients or not. If the ingredients are not listed in any of my skin-friendly products, I check them out here. I now have a basic idea of what is causing the irritation.