5 Tips on Reading Natural Skincare Labels in the US

June 05, 2019

Reading clean skincare labels

It’s not enough for a product to say it’s natural, vegan, no parabens

This is a great start but you need to look at all the ingredients listed on the skincare label. Identify a natural company that has an extensive list of excluded ingredients that are not acceptable for skincare, like Whole Foods or Paula’s Choice. If an ingredient on the label isn’t easy for you to identify, look it up on your trusted website.

Don’t be fooled by the statement “all natural”

Many brands have been suspected of “greenwashing”. Since it’s becoming more important for many consumers to choose products that are healthy, skincare brands have become clever in their marketing.

There is no official definition of “natural” skincare so be careful of these claims. Remember, the label reveals the true ingredients so always review the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration.

Know where to check ingredient safety

The FDA through several laws requires that every cosmetics label in the US list what’s called an INCI* name for each ingredient, which is consistent across the industry. In some cases the name is quite long or looks like a chemical. However, many such ingredients are quite safe.

If you spot unfamiliar ingredients, first check your trusted website (tip #1 above). Then if you want to be sure, check the EWG (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep rating. Google the ingredient name plus “EWG rating” and look for ratings of 1 or 2, low hazard. Anything higher is considered medium to high hazard.

Be aware of the term “fragrance”

The regulations allow products to list “fragrance” on the label vs. the specific ingredients in order to protect the formula as a trade secret. This doesn’t always mean the product has harsh chemicals. However, you can never really know what is in the product. Most truly natural brands are transparent about all ingredients including what gives the product its scent.

Don’t be intimidated by the label

Now you know what to look for, so you are in control and can choose what you put on your body. Treat your body with respect and don’t forget to feel happy in your skin!

*International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients






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