Inside my creams


 Organic ingredients

Before you reach for a product in beautiful packaging which is promising to refine, beautify and so how, melt away the years, you need to become ‘ingredient-wise’. Being able to do this will help you to determine not only what benefits a product offers you, but also the harm it can cause to your skin or body. Learning to understand the ingredient list is very helpful, especially when a persistent sales person keeps trying to sell you a ‘fully natural’ product, when in fact ONLY ONE ingredient IS a natural ingredient but the rest of the items in the ingredient list are bursting with such things as; parabens, PEGs and formaldehyde preservatives. Explaining the harsh chemical ingredients, we will leave for some other time. Now, let’s cover the main ingredient categories of the most common natural skin care products and where you find them on a products ingredient list:

  1. Foundation: form the backbone of most products. You will always see them on top of the ingredient list. Most common are:  waters, butters, carrier oils and etc
  2. Active botanicals: these are herb and herbal extracts that offer a certain therapeutic property to a skincare product, such as macerated oils or tinctures. These appear closer to the top and middle in the ingredient list
  3. Functional: perform a specific function or ingredient type, such as exfoliation (i.e jojoba beads), keeping moisture (i.e humectants), emulsification (i.e. emulgents), surfactants (i.e. detergents) and more. These ingredients typically are in the middle and sometimes closer to the bottom.
  4. Additives: these are optional in a lot of instances. Some ingredients that qualify here are colours or preservatives. They should be at the bottom of the ingredient list.
  5. Aromaceuticals: essential oils and essential oil blends, which offer not only scent but therapeutic applications as well. As they can only be in small quantities they should appear at the bottom.
  6. Aesthetics: final flourish of a product. They don’t exert any particular function but are merely for marketing (i.e rosebuds in a bottle of oil).

These categories aren’t the ultimate definitions, as some ingredients fall into 2 or more categories.

So … next time you decide to buy a natural skin care product consider its composition, as in, what’s used as the foundation (most of), what benefits it offers (active botanicals), what is the function of this product (to firm or moisture), what additives are used (i.e. Vit. E to postpone oxidisation) and finally how does it look or smell. There is plenty of us who would pay more attention to the aesthetics of the product, such as smell and texture than to the benefits it offers. How bizarre….!! 

Hopefully now you are a little bit more ‘ingredient-wise’…