A Beginner’s Guide: Tips for Reading Beauty Product Labels

Woman Reading Skincare Product Label | ALASTIN Skincare

How to Read Beauty Product Labels: Everything You Need to Know When Buying Beauty Products

Maintaining your skin’s health is incredibly important and that’s why 1.6 million Americans spent at least $500 on skincare products in just 3 months last year, according to Statista. As more and more people become conscious of their skin's health, the attention to ingredients in those products has also become a priority for many shoppers. 

There are endless shelves (both virtually and physically) of beauty products all calling for your attention, so how do you know what you should be looking for? While you should check with your doctor or skincare expert before introducing any new products into your beauty regimen, it is always good to understand what you are putting on your skin as an informed shopper as well.

Since we know how overwhelming it can be when reading the back of any skincare label, we have put together a helpful guide for you.

The Order of Ingredients

Woman Reading Skincare Ingredient List | ALASTIN Skincare

There are a few things to keep in mind when reading a beauty product label. The ingredients at the top of the list are higher in concentration and get lower in concentration as the list goes on. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the rest of the ingredients! Some ingredients are highly effective even at lower levels. 

For example, many collagen-boosting peptides, like Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, found in the ALASTIN Regenerating Skin Nectar with TriHex Technology®, while not at the top of the ingredient list, has significant skin-restoring properties that work wonders at a lower concentration level. 

Look for Paraben-Free Beauty Products

Natural Skincare Chemical Research and Development | ALASTIN Skincare

There has been a lot of commotion regarding parabens in beauty products, but little explanation on what they are, and why they are “bad” for us. 

To cut to the chase, parabens are preservatives, and we should all know by now, preservatives can be harmful to our bodies. Not only are preservatives used in food they have also been used in beauty products to extend shelf life by preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, and fungi. Read our recent blog article to learn more about paraben-free skincare.

While reading the back of a beauty product label, look out for words using “paraben” in the name, such as propylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparaben. If you prefer using a paraben-free product but are wary about shelf life, look for ingredients which are plant-derived, such as ethylhexylglycerin, which is the preserving ingredient in the Restorative Eye Treatment with TriHex Technology®

Can You Spot The Real Cruelty-free Logo

Cruelty-free skincare and beauty products | ALASTIN Skincare

You should know, there are only bunny logos you can trust - they are shown here. Some brands will create a look-a-like bunny logo that may fool some shoppers into thinking they’re purchasing a cruelty-free beauty product, but be wary. If you’re ever unsure if a beauty product is cruelty-free, learn how to spot a fake cruelty-free logo so you can be confident that you are purchasing truly cruelty-free beauty products.

If you want a deeper dive into popular beauty buzzwords like “cruelty-free”, “paraben-free”, and “gluten-free”, check out our blog article Do You Know If Your Beauty Products Are Good For You?

Look for Broad Spectrum Sunscreens

HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 | ALASTIN skincare

How many times have you heard, or read, about the importance of wearing sunscreen? Well, there’s a reason it is one of the most important steps in your beauty regimen. Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from UV light and help prevent premature aging from sun exposure, but it can also drastically reduce the chance of skin cancer and other skin concerns. 

Broad Spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from both UVB and UVA rays. No matter how high the “SPF” (sun protection factor) is in a sunscreen, if it is not broad spectrum, it will not protect against all UVA rays. UVA rays cause wrinkles and have the potential for causing skin cancer, although less than UVB. The A in UVA, stands for “aging”, while the B in UVB, stands for “burning”. Wearing sunscreen can help protect your skin from burning but without a broad spectrum sunscreen, you cannot protect your skin from all harmful UV light. 

Don’t Be Fooled By Latin Terms & Long Chemical Names

Odds are you’ll likely come across some terms when reading a beauty product label that you can’t easily pronounce because it’s either a very sciency-sounding chemical name (“Phosphatidylserine” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue) or a Latin word, which let’s face it, most of us didn’t study in school. The good news though is that even if it’s hard to pronounce, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. “For example, lavendula gastulfolia is the scientific name behind lavender. It’s the standard nomenclature for a botanical extract or essential oil” according to Well+Good.

Bottom line is that our skin is an important investment, and knowing the ingredients and products that you are putting on it can be beneficial to preserving its healthy complex. If you don’t know an ingredient, look it up! 

Do you have any tips for reading skincare labels? Share with us on Instagram or Facebook!

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Article Reviewed by Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson

Vice President, Marketing

Wendy Johnson brings to Alastin Skincare over 22 years of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and aesthetics industry experience in various sales, training, marketing and thought leader development roles.

After spending 10 years in gastroenterology at Tap Pharmaceuticals and Prometheus Laboratories, with sales and marketing oversight for in-line and pre-launch products, Mrs. Johnson transitioned to an aesthetic career at SkinMedica in 2004. While there, she was responsible for marketing one of the top 2 branded prescription hydroquinones, launching a leading branded low potency steroid, and oversight of the acne franchise line extensions.

In 2010, Wendy joined Merz North America where she developed and managed the Physician Relations department in support of injectable, topical and device business units under Medical Affairs, before transitioning into managing a Regional Aesthetics Marketing team.

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