How to Check Your Skincare Ingredients The Right Way

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We often hear from people that it is difficult for them to choose products that suit their skin type because they do not know how to read the product label. Or they may not be able to properly address a specific skin condition because they can’t do proper cosmetic ingredients check.

What’s a cosmetics ingredients checker or a skincare ingredients checker? Well, you’ve probably been to a drugstore many times and found a product that looks interesting. And then you turn the product over, see a list of ingredients, and… boom, your brain explodes! While this may happen often, it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right techniques and a skincare ingredients checker, the process of finding the right product for you can become very simple.

It’s vital to understand what skincare ingredients are present in the product and how they affect the skin so that you know whether it will work for you.  This is the objective of a cosmetic ingredients check. 

So let’s move ahead and talk about how to read product labels and what specific ingredients to pay attention to.  In this article, we’ll also mention a few cosmetic ingredient checkers that can help you choose the right products. Let’s go!

Skincare Ingredients Check 101: Which ingredients should I focus on?

Although sometimes the list of skincare ingredients seems too complex, with the right approach you can easily decipher it. One of the most important things to know is that the ingredients are listed by concentration.

The skincare ingredient mentioned first is most likely the one with the highest concentration in the product, and each subsequent one has a lower and lower concentration. This inside information will help you as you do your cosmetic ingredients check because now you don’t necessarily have to pay attention to all the ingredients — only to those that are at the very beginning of this seemingly neverending list.

As a rule, it is enough to look at the first five or six ingredients during your cosmetic ingredients check to get a good first impression of the product. These ingredients make up over eighty percent of the products and that’s why we want to focus specifically on them. Of course, it does not mean those other ingredients aren’t important, but if you see that certain ingredients are emphasized on the product packaging, and are not in the first five listed ingredients, you may need to further consider the quality of that product.

How do I know what role the skincare ingredient plays in the product?

Now, you’re probably thinking “okay, I know what water is, but what should I do with polymethylsilsesquioxane?” Before you give up, we have good news for you. There are several cosmetics ingredient checkers that are available to you and that can make life so much easier. 

For example, there is INCIdecoder cosmetics ingredients checker. This skincare ingredients checker allows you to enter a specific product or ingredient and get all the necessary information about it with one click. If you type polymethylsilsesquioxane for example, you will quickly realize that behind this ingredient with a complicated name is a texture enhancer. And that’s how you do a cosmetic ingredients check!

Another tool you can use is the skincare ingredients checker EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This cosmetics ingredients checker also offers some additional information about ingredients and products, such as info about the chemical, synonyms, potential concerns about a given ingredient, and more. With the help of EWG, you can feel like a real chemist in just a few seconds and do a proper cosmetic ingredients check — even if you were never a whiz at chemistry in high school. You don’t need significant prior knowledge, just an open mind to learn something new about skincare ingredients.

These are just some of the popular tools cosmetics ingredients checkers out there. There are many more, and it is a good idea to test different skincare ingredient checkers and find the one that offers reliable information and also works best for you.

What you can learn from skincare ingredients checker: the active and inactive ingredients

As you do your cosmetic ingredients check, you’ll notice that some of the ingredients are classified as active or inactive.

The active ingredients shown in the cosmetics ingredients checker are those that have a known skin function for which they are used in products and are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. For example, retinol is a well-known anti-aging active ingredient, and can also be used in people with skin prone to acne. Niacinamide is another ingredient you’ll most often encounter on your cosmetic ingredients check. With wrinkle-smoothing properties and an anti-age effect, this skincare ingredient can help with hyperpigmentation and improve ceramide synthesis, which contributes to a stronger skin barrier and better hydration. Azelaic acid, on the other hand, has antibacterial, skin cell regulating, anti-inflammatory, and skin-lightening properties and it is one of the popular and effective active ingredients. The list goes on and on.

This can also give you an idea of how effective a product can be in terms of its purpose. Like why makeup wipes may not be the best option for makeup removal, or why a hyaluronic acid diet can help you achieve glowing skin. You may also finally understand why quitting alcohol can be good for your skin.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, inactive ingredients — such as glycerin, silicones, and alcohol esters, support the function of active ingredients and enable them to show optimal effect. 

In order to do a proper cosmetic ingredients check we recommend that you enter all the ingredients in the skincare ingredients checker, especially if you are not sure whether they are active or inactive. From here you can find out what the function of that particular ingredient is. 

Reading the skincare ingredients checker: How do I know how much of a particular ingredient is in a product?

Since there are no exact product concentrations on the product label and in most cosmetics ingredients checkers, you may be wondering how to know how much of a particular ingredient is present in the product.

For most products, all ingredients listed after the fifth in a row are in a concentration below one percent. And most skincare ingredients that have a concentration below one percent will not do anything that significant on the skin. Of course, there are exceptions and you should always keep them in mind. For example, antioxidants such as tocopherol (synonymous with vitamin E) or exfoliants such as AHA and BHA acids are generally present in very low concentrations in products, but this is desirable because they are most effective at such concentrations.

When doing your cosmetic ingredients check, you can use ingredients that are present in low, fixed concentrations to orient yourself about the number of other skincare ingredients in the product. For example, salicylic acid in OTC preparations usually has a concentration of 2%, while the concentration of the preservative phenoxyethanol is generally 1%. In this way, you can gain insight into whether an ingredient is present in a smaller or larger amount than the mentioned ingredients and get an idea of whether the product makes sense, or it is better to skip it.

Do your own skincare ingredients check 

Although there is an infinite number of skincare ingredients, as well as the products in the market, it does not have to be a source of frustration. 

By applying these tips in your cosmetic ingredients check, you can choose the right product for yourself in just a few minutes. Now that you know how to use a skincare ingredients checker, we suggest that you test a few cosmetics ingredients checkers and find the one you like best. This way you will always have help at hand when you are in a drugstore and trying to figure out if that product with the phenomenal properties listed on the product label really has those properties. Or if its marketing has gone too far again. 

With the right know-how and a useful tool like a skincare ingredients checker, you can now easily find products that suit your skin and which you will enjoy for a long time.