2. How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels (Shop With Me)

Today we’re in the store looking for a new conditioner.  There are so many options in [insert your favorite store here].  What should you get?  You start looking at labels, and you remember many of the tips I have given you to aid in finding quality products.  You still aren’t confident enough to shop with ‘Label Poise,’ so I’ll help steer you in the right direction.  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.

The Label


I want you to pay attention not only to the ingredient list, but the rest of the bottle as well.  Check back tomorrow for an analysis of the ingredient list.

Here are the tips I gave you in my first two posts (original and follow-up) on how to read ingredient labels:

  1. Ingredients are listed by quantity in the formula, from greatest to least, based on standards by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  2. Ingredients are listed using the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI), therefore they are listed using scientific nomenclature, or    binomial nomenclature (latin; taxonomy) for ingredients derived from plants.
  3. How ingredients are derived is seldom listed on the label (the same chemical can be derived synthetically or naturally).
  4. Fragrances are generically listed because they are considered trade secrets; typically naturally derived fragrances do not use “Fragrance (Parfum)” but a specific naming system.
  5. If it looks like a “chemical” it probably is, if you don’t want chemicals don’t buy it!  **Everything is a chemical, I’m referring to ‘bad’ chemicals here.

Quick Tip:  Aside from avoiding synthetic chemicals as much as possible, have an idea of what ingredients don’t work for you.  Pay attention to the ingredients in the products you use.  If you notice every time you use a product with [insert ingredient here] you get an allergic reaction or your hair/skin responds negatively, make a note and steer clear!  In my last post I told you mineral oil and silicones don’t work for me so I don’t buy them, irrelevant of the fact that they are synthetic or petrochemicals.

Would you buy this product, please explain why or why not?


2 thoughts on “2. How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels (Shop With Me)”

  1. No way would I buy this! I wouldn’t even use it if it was free! To name a few reasons: the first ingredient is water which means there is going to be some form of preservative included. Even if I didn’t see water listed on the label, right away I see a huge chunk of ingredients that don’t appeal to me. The three beneficial oils that they brag about above the ingredients are #1 irrelevant to me given the amount of nasty ingredients & #2 are not even listed toward the top of the ingredient list.

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