How to read labels on cosmetics

20 years ago, when we went to the supermarket, most of us never thought to read the ingredients of the food we bought. We assumed that if they were there was because they had passed a thousand controls, and they were safe and healthy. Over time, we have learned that not everything that is within our reach is healthy.

What once was taken for good, now it may not pass the regulations; we have seen suddenly retired 'as a precaution' products that until yesterday were on the supermarket shelf. Also, studies and research have questioned ingredients until then considered healthy.

At the same time, we have gradually attended the evolution towards a more rigorous labelling and a less misleading (in theory) advertising. And we, consumers, have become demanding. Increasingly, we learn what is the exact composition of what we are going to buy. Where does it come from? How has it been manufactured? We are more aware and informed consumers.

But, are we doing the same when buying cosmetics? If we are not chemicals or pharmaceuticals, most of the information found on labels may sound Greek to us. How can we know if what we're buying is advisable to us or not?

leer etiquetas de los cosméticos

Generally, it is not so complicated to decipher the labels. The following recommendations can help you when choosing a cream:

      • It is advisable to avoid those with an endless list of ingredients. Usually, a short list indicates that the product is more natural and environmentally friendly.
      • The proportion in which they are present sorts the components. Thus, the cream will contain more of those written first, and much less of those found at the end of the list. We must pay attention to whether these first ingredients are natural or, conversely, are all chemicals and artificial.
      • For our safety, we should avoid products that include perfumes and petroleum derivatives among the first ingredients.
      • When a product boasts to have a certain natural component as the active ingredient (aloe Vera, calendula, olive oil extract...), look where this ingredient is positioned in the list. Sometimes, they appear in the last place...
      • If a product is advertised as natural or organic, look for a certification. If it is not certified, you'll never know ifcosmético ecológico certificado por icea what the label says is true or not because it has not passed any control.

Incredibly, it is not mandatory to specify all the ingredients of a cream or their percentage, so your only clue is looking carefully on the list and, above all, avoid those hazardous ingredients which have been proven harmful but which are not prohibited in cosmetic compositions.