Figuring out an ingredient list

The ingredient lists on the labels of skin care products often look long and a bit confusing. However, it is possible to understand exactly what is in a product if you are patient enough. It’s much easier if you know some chemistry, but if not, you can still figure it out with some patience, Wikipedia, a university library if you have access, or the Personal Care Products Council site (see link below). If all else fails, send us an email and I will answer all your questions myself. 

Unfortunately a great resource like the INCI dictionary which has a list of all INCI names (INCI means the nomenclature as they must appear on cosmetic labels) is very expensive, as it is an annual subscription for the beauty industry. Most consumers won't pay the $1K per year to get it just to understand some product labels. This is not good news for us, as the scary fear mongering websites are all free to the public since they make money by other means. But the Personal Care Council site is very slowly adding more information but it will take some time before you get to see all the information we get to see as an industry insider. 

You can find the chemical structure and function of each ingredient on the internet, but be careful of your sources. Use Wikipedia to look for chemistry information, and with time you will become familiar with most ingredient names, because most commercial products are variations of the same basic formulations.  The differences between creams are based on the actives they use, (ours is sea botanicals from different oceans) and the preservative system (ours is a new natural preservative system that we have not seen any other brand use).

Avoid generic websites that are related to pressure groups that want to convince you that ingredients are dangerous based on their own non-scientific interpretations. Unless you understand enough chemistry to call their bluff, don’t get more confused by them. Use a site that only gives facts. If a site/blog/company is fear mongering, you know they don't have their facts straight. Of course you want to know what you are putting on your skin. I do too. But I also know science and I don't listen to pseudo-science which is all you find on the internet these days.

I'm going to do a series of articles focused on ingredient lists and deconstructing them. After a while it will be easy to pick out the ingredients you want and the ones you don't. if you have any questions about ingredients, even those not in our products, you can email us and we’ll help you find the answers.

xo, Jacci

Jacci Russ

Our founder Jacci, combines her background in Marine Biology and Organic Cosmetic Science for high performance, yet clean skincare using ocean-based ingredients. She has traveled the world in search of strange spa treatments and perfect pizza. Dreamer and Doer. Adventuress, animal activist, recovering cheese addict. Read more about Jacci.