Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Cookie & Disclosure Policy

How to decode ingredients lists? + £100 Skincare Giveaway!

15th March 2019 in Skincare - No Comments - 4 min read

How to decode ingredients lists? + £100 Skincare Giveaway!

15th March 2019 in Skincare - No Comments - 4 min read >/div>
How to decode ingredients lists? + £100 Skincare Giveaway!

Welcome Skintellectuals!

I’ve been getting asked a lot lately how to read ingredients lists on products and what can you use to get better at identifying things to look out for so i thought i would get together with Judit from INCI Decoder, one of my most favourite website to use when looking at ingredient lists.


I am Judit, a computer scientist turned cosmetic formulator and currently a cosmetic science student. I have been obsessed with looking at ingredient lists for about 10 years and will try to give you some useful tips on how to decode ingredient lists.

The beauty industry is so marketing heavy that pretty much everything on a product packaging from the name through the free-from claims to the description is part of the marketing message. Even, or especially, terms such as natural, hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic are not regulated and do not mean much.
The regulated and hence probably the most honest part of a product packaging is the ingredient list.

What can you see on the ingredient list?

  • You can check if a product contains ingredients that you want to avoid for whatever reason (allergy, sensitivity or just personal preference)
  • You can see if a product contains active ingredients that you are looking for
  • You can check the position of the those active ingredients. Until the 1% mark, the ingredients are listed from highest to lowest concentration, so in general, the sooner in the list the better (though there are exceptions, and some ingredients work in tiny amounts)
  • It helps to differentiate between marketing and reality. For example, if you read the official Hylamide HA Blur description you will think hyaluronic acid makes the blurring magic, but if you look at the ingredients, it turns out, it is the silicones and blurring powders. If you just glance at The Inkey List Zinc Oxide cream you will think, it is a mineral sunscreen, but looking at the ingredients, it also uses a chemical sunscreen.
  • With some practice, you can get a pretty good idea about a product based on the ingredient list alone, but of course, it does not reveal everything. Examining ingredient lists and also reading reviews, will help you to make awesome product decisions.

So how to look at an ingredient list?

If you do not happen to be a cosmetic chemist, looking at the INCI names (the standardised names on the ingredient lists) can be daunting.

Even simple, well known ingredients such as olive oil have hard to recognise INCI names (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil), not to mention the lots of chemical, impossible to pronounce ingredients such as Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine or Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane. By the way, these impossible to pronounce ingredients are often awesome for the skin (the first example is Tinosorb S, one of the best sunscreen agents, and the second is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory from Turmeric), and there is absolutely no connection between how hard it is to pronounce and how good it is for your skin.

I believe looking and understanding ingredients one by one is the best way to decode an ingredient list, and I created INCIDecoder to help you with that.

Here is what you will see on INCIDecoder:

  • A science based, but (hopefully) easy to understand explanation of what each ingredient does in the product. These are mostly short, but some superstars (e.g. tretinoin or niacinamide) have a longer description (+ references if you want to dig deep).  
  • An overview of what the key ingredients and good things are in the product
  • What are the possible icky ingredients such as drying alcohols or fragrance allergens (including essential oils)
  • A breakdown of the ingredients by function, so you can quickly check things like what are the preservatives, the sunscreen agents, the emulsifiers etc.
  • You can also check the comedogenic and irritancy rating, but know that they are not as important as some sites claim them to be

As an example, here is what INCIDecoder has about one of my favorite retinol products, the Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol serum. If a product is not on the site yet, you can super easily upload it, or you can just take a photo of an ingredient list and the site will analyse it for you. We also have a pretty cool technology to automatically correct typos and parse ingredients even if they are not correctly separated.

I hope you will give ICNIDecoder a try, and find it useful. It is, of course, a work in progress, and I am super happy to have your feedback. 🙂


Now, on to the giveaway:

What skincare product(s) would you like to try the most from Cult Beauty up to the value of £100 GBP? Open worldwide(it has to be skincare, but it can be more than one thing so long as its within this budget. :)).

To enter You must be following both INCIDecoder and TheSkincareSaviour on Instagram then visit INCIDecoder.com search for your favourite product and leave the link to it in the entry box to enter.
If you would like extra entries fill in all of the optional entries

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We will order the lucky winner the product(s) he/she would like to try! 🙂 Good luck!

Andrew James

Scottish science nerd obsessed with all things beauty! Creator of The Skincare Saviour, a skincare blog covering everything from reviews, tutorials to busting myths, finding dupes and breaking down trends.

All posts

Subscribe & Follow

Welcome to fellow skintellectuals to The Skincare Saviour, a skincare blog covering everything from reviews, tutorials to busting myths, finding dupes and breaking down trends. All posts marked * have been sent to The Skincare Savior for consideration for review. All opinions on these products are my own. Read More

Andrew

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Cookie & Disclosure Policy
Follow

Popular Links

WINNER OF THE SCOTTISH HAIR AND BEAUTY AWARDS “BEST BEAUTY BLOGGER”

Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards

As Featured In:

As Featured In:

Latest Posts

Instagram

  • Probably one of my most favourite products ever! 
@pixibeautyuk Glow Tonic was one of the first actives I ever used, I bought a bottle when I was in London with @jaynekitsch years ago when they only had their London store and it honestly changed everything! That's when I became hooked on skincare because of how much i saw my skin change.

I have a review coming out tomorrow for this superstar product, keep an eye out for it ❤️
.
.
.
.
#bbloggers #beautyblogger #scottishbloggers #skincarejunkie #beautyblog #glasgowblogger #skincare #beautyguru #beautyjunkie #beautyblog #beautyblogger 
#scottishbloggers  #shinyhappybloggers  #skincare  #wakeupandmakeup #skincareaddict #skincarecommunity #skincareingredients #skincareroutine  #skincarescience #pixibeauty #pixibypetra #glowtonic #pixiglowtonic
  • "If you can't pronounce it dont use it"

I see this myth a lot and it really bugs me! It's completely baseless and is created in fear. 
Just because you can't pronounce a chemical name it doesn't mean it's somehow bad for you.

For example Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate sounds scary it's a long name but that's no reason to fear it because it's just a cell communicating ingredient that is often known as "Botox in a bottle" 
Fear is such a pervasive thing in the skincare industry a lot of brands sell their products based on fear and we honestly need to get over this fear and to realise that must because something has a long name we can't pronounce it doesn't mean it's bad for you.

Next time you pick up a product then put it back because it has too many ingredients you can't pronounce just remember that it's all about the formula. You should be objectively thinkkng about the formula instead of jumping to fear every time.
.
.
.
.
.
#bbloggers #beautyblogger #scottishbloggers #skincarejunkie #beautyblog #glasgowblogger #skincare #beautyguru #beautyjunkie #beautyblog #beautyblogger 
#scottishbloggers  #shinyhappybloggers  #skincare  #wakeupandmakeup #skincareaddict #skincarecommunity #skincareingredients #skincareroutine  #skincarescience #newpost
  • *UPDATED SKINCARE ROUTINE*

CLEANSER - @fprescottskin i honestly don't think I'll ever use another cleanser apart from the @dermalogicauk special cleanse when I'm at the gym. I have talked about how much I love Tribalm. It's the best balm cleanser I've ever use not to mention it's so travel friendly too.

TONE - This isn't a toner but I usually this in the place where toner should be. I've been using the new @drdennisgross (*gifted) Resurfacing Liquid Peel for a while and it's pretty awesome. There's no percentage so I'm not sure how strong it is but I use this every other day and the off days I just use the Alpha Beta Peel Pads. 
SERUM - @skinceuticals_uki H.A Intensifier (*gifted) I am absolutely in love with this! While it's on the higher end of the spectrum being quite expensive it's so worth it in my opinion. Instead of being a bog standard hyaluronic acid this serum actually helps to amplify the skins natural hyaluronic acid levels which I find fascinating. It contains high levels of HA as well as Proxylane and purple rice extract.

EYE SERUM - @alphahskincare Absolute Eye Complex (*gifted) this was sent to me a while back and I only just remembered I had it so I thought I'd give it a go. Usually I don't care for eye creams unless they are active because to be it's essentially useless paying for more for a small amount of moisturiser in a tube.

TREATMENT - @paulaschoiceuk
1% clinical strength retinol - this has to be the single strongest over the counter retinol on the market, definitely not for first time use. If there was a otc retinol that I had to choose it would be this one everytime.

MOISTURISER - @stubborncosmetics
Custom Made Moisturiser *gifted - I have said this many times but I'll say it again, I have so much love for this moisturiser it's so good to find something customised to you rather than just hoping something will work.
.
.
.
#bbloggers #beautyblogger #scottishbloggers #skincarejunkie #beautyblog #glasgowblogger #skincare #beautyguru #beautyjunkie #beautyblog #beautyblogger 
#scottishbloggers  #shinyhappybloggers  #skincare  #wakeupandmakeup #skincareaddict #skincarecommunity #skincareingredients #skincareroutine  #skincarescience
  • I feel like a lot of the times lactic acid is overlooked in favour of glycolic. Lactic acid can be a massive help to those with dry skin.

First and foremost Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and unlike glycolic acid, lactic acid works on the surface level to left of any dead skin cells.

I like to compare Lactic acid to Pac man munching away at the dead skin cells. 
Lactic acid is a fantastic moisturising ingredient, it's so good that there's even a prescription product called LacHydrin (12% lactic acid) that is used to hydrate chronically dry skin.

My favourite lactic acid used to be @sundayriley Good Genes but since they have reformulated it to be glycolic now I'm on the hunt for a new version. I had heard that @deciem does a really good 5% and 10% Lactic acid that I need to revisit.
.
.
.
.
#bbloggers #beautyblogger #scottishbloggers #skincarejunkie #beautyblog #glasgowblogger #skincare #beautyguru #beautyjunkie #beautyblog #beautyblogger 
#scottishbloggers  #shinyhappybloggers  #skincare  #wakeupandmakeup #skincareaddict #skincarecommunity #skincareingredients #skincareroutine  #skincarescience #theskincaresaviourdailytips #lacticacid #aha #alphahydroxyacids #deciem
  • Everyone knows that I love pixi, Glow Tonic has to be one of my all time favourite products simply because it's so effective ❤️ I was recently sent a bunch of new pixi products to try and DetoxifEYE Depuffing Eye Patches were apart of that package and I wanted to talk about them.

While I hate the name of the product because no matter what anyone ever tells you you can't detoxify the skin by using a topical product it just isn't possible the role of detoxifing goes to the kidneys and not the skin. 
Despite the god awful name, the product is actually pretty good. They do a good job of depuffing the eyes.

Each patch is made from hydrogel and doesn't slip down your face so you don't have to walk around face up to the sky haha

The main component of these patches is caffeine which is a vasoconstrictor that tightens the skin getting rid of the puffiness temporarily.

The patches also say they contain gold but I'm not even going to entertain that as one of the ingredients because gold does nothing for the skin topically despite many brands trying to convince you otherwise.

I tend to use these in the PM before bed but you can use them in the morning before you apply your makeup .
.
.
.
.
#bbloggers #beautyblogger #scottishbloggers #skincarejunkie #beautyblog #glasgowblogger #skincare #beautyguru #beautyjunkie #beautyblog #beautyblogger 
#scottishbloggers #shinyhappybloggers #skincare #wakeupandmakeup #skincareaddict #skincarecommunity #skincareingredients #skincareroutine #skincarescience #newpost #pixibeauty
#pixibypetra #detoxifeye
  • ITS OK TO GET HELP! 
If it gets to the point where your skin is getting you down and affecting your mental health it's ok to go and speak to someone.

A lot of people see skin issues as a cosmetic issue but I'm here to tell you that I see you and hear you. It's ok for you to speak to someone sometimes what's available over the counter just isn't enough to treat some things.

I know a lot of the time the NHS is all about your health and unless it's severe acne you're kind of ignored and in a middle ground but if you explain that whilst you might not have the most severe skin problem they are affecting your mental health.

It's so important to take care of your mental health, it doesn't make you weak or stupid. You take care of your physical health so why should your mental well-being be any different? .
.
.
.
.
#bbloggers #beautyblogger #scottishbloggers #skincarejunkie #beautyblog #glasgowblogger #skincare #beautyguru #beautyjunkie #beautyblog #beautyblogger 
#scottishbloggers  #shinyhappybloggers  #skincare  #wakeupandmakeup #skincareaddict #skincarecommunity #skincareingredients #skincareroutine #mentalhealth #acne #acnetreatment #acneproblems #skincarescience #theskincaresaviourdailytips

Follow @theskincaresaviour

Twitter Feed

×