How do you choose between the delicious lavender body lotion and the mango-vanilla skin salve? Or the cherry lip gloss and the peppermint lip balm?
For some, looking on the back of a bottle at the ingredients list can help the process. But for most, the ingredients list is a confusing myriad of hard-to-read, harder-to-pronounce words that don’t give us any real idea of what’s inside.
It was this confusion that motivated me to go back to school to learn the ins and outs of cosmetic chemistry. At the end of the day, despite the fact that translating an ingredients list is no easy feat, it’s imperative we get a handle on it, most of all when our health rides on the outcome.
When it comes to breaking down an ingredients list, I’ve learned it’s best to keep it simple. For starters, when it comes to where the ingredients in your beauty products are sourced, there are four key categories every ingredient falls into.
(To note, there are botanical versions of many animal derived ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and stearic acid, so please consult with the product's company if you wish to learn more about its origin.)