What is Label Poise?
Label Poise is an individual experience shaped by general understanding. Each ingredient has a general safety rating (Safe!, Beware!, Avoid!) that is based on publicly available information. You as an individual must decide where you fall in the safety spectrum. You may only use Safe! ingredients or you may draw the line with Beware! ingredients based on your preferences. There may be Safe! ingredient that don’t work well for you or Beware! ingredients that are your favorites and that is OKAY!
How to Develop Label Poise
Stick with us, and we’ll be your guide! We can provide the basic safety information but it is up to you to pay attention to ingredient labels and know your boundaries!
Follow this (quick) exercise to get your Label Poise flowing:
- Gather all of your favorite hair products (shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, leave-in, styler, oils, butters, etc.).
- Look at the ingredient labels and see if you notice any common ingredients within each product category.
- Write down the common ingredients.
- Ask yourself if you consciously look for ingredients that have a certain ingredient (for example conditioners with Avocado Oil).
- Write down those ingredients if they aren’t already listed.
- See if you have any products on hand or that you have tried but did not like.
- Look for common ingredients and write those down.
- Write down ingredients you avoid because of health/safety hazards.
- A quick view of what you like and do not like should be forming before your eyes.
Example: I tend to buy products with Olive Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, and Avocado Oil because of how well they perform. I do not purchase products with Mineral Oil or Silicones because they do not work well for me. I also avoid products with parabens and -isothialonine preservatives. Most of the conditioners I have tried but not liked contain the same ingredient, therefore I do not purchase products with those ingredients.
Label Poise in Practice
Once you have become fully immersed in Nature’s Pulchritude, you should be able to look at an ingredient label with confidence instead of terror or plain avoidance. Ideally, it should take you no more than 2 minutes to scan a label to see if that ingredient meets your Label Poise.
Here are 5 basic tips on how to read ingredient labels:
- Ingredients are listed by quantity in the formula, from greatest to least, based on standards by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- 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.
- How ingredients are derived is seldom listed on the label (the same chemical can be derived synthetically or naturally).
- Fragrances are generically listed because they are considered trade secrets; typically naturally derived fragrances do not use “Fragrance (Parfum)” but a specific naming system.
- 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 do not work as well 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!