How to Read an Ingredient Label
Did you know that the U.S. FDA has banned only 11 ingredients/chemicals from use in cosmetic products? Meanwhile, the E.U. has banned more than 1,300. The disparity in regulatory policies is alarming. As consumers, we must be our own advocates for product safety — understanding the meaning of an ingredient label's hierarchy, identifying which ingredients to be wary of, and knowing which ingredients are beneficial, empower you to make better, informed decisions about the products you use on your skin, in your home, and in your food.
We believe in full transparency in all of our ingredients lists so there's nothing hidden or omitted. Have a question about a specific product or ingredient? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read on for our top five ways to decode an ingredient label like a pro.
1. Order Matters
Ingredients listed at the beginning have a higher content percentage than those listed at the end, so we always like to see pure, good-for-you ingredients leading the charge.
2. Words That End in "Eth"
Ingredients such as ceteareth and triceteareth carry the contamination concern for 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity.
3. Invisible Ingredients
Per FDA regulations, if an ingredient is less than 1% of the formulation, companies are not legally required to include them in the official list. You can rest assured that we disclose all of our ingredients.
4. Know Your "No's"
You should have a set of non-negotiables. We recommend saying “no” to parabens, triclosan, PEGs, petroleum, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color and dyes, talc, aluminum, mineral oil, formaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, siloxanes.
5. The EWG Is Your Friend
Use the Environmental Working Group as a resource when unsure of an ingredient or product. This database provides clear descriptions and assigns a 1–10 safety grade.