Some Tips To Understand The Cosmetic Composition

We already know the principle of cosmetics: The ingredient list is the only thing that matters to evaluate product quality. But how to read the list of ingredients filled of complicated names? Join us for the following tips.


INCI and the 6 basics components

Since 1998 in Europe, all cosmetic products must publicize all INCI packaging components - (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). The INCI lists the different components in descending order. Typically, the first 6 components on the list represent 70% of the cosmetic mix. They will tell you if this product is an organic cosmetic product. Don't forget, a good cosmetic will have a large amount of botanical extracts in the first 6 ingredients. If these 6 ingredients contain suspicious substances (see the next section to identify them), stay away from them.

Decode the basic ingredients in a skin care formula


The first ingredient, the most abundant in the formula, is usually liquid. The most common are water (aqua), fruit juice (juice) or distilled water (hydrosol).
Next is the fat, named from mineral / vegetal oils. Finally, the lesser parts, standing in the middle and at the end of the list is the followings:   - active ingredients, (with a tonic effect) : usually some chemicals or plant extracts - Aromatherapy or vegetable essential oils (fragrances / perfumes / essential oil / flower extracts)- emulsifiers (linking fat and creamy ingredients): chemicals or vegetable waxes- preservatives: parabens, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, etc. 


Let's see the difference between normal cosmetic ingredients and MPHC in the following table:

Regular cosmetics VS Organic cosmetics

Hazardous components

say NO to the ingredients named after them because they will give to the skin a variety of substances that irritate or potentially pose a health risk:

- Do you want to apply products of petrochemical industry onto your face? If not, stay away from mineral oils, which are extremely harmful to the environment and do not have any skin effects. Ingredients are the followings: paraffinum liquidum, cera microcristallina, mineral oil, petrolatum

- Is your skin sensitive? Surely you don't want to use irritating ingredients, synthetic flavorings, alcohol and fatty alcohols like BHT, Triclosan, Lanolin, Methyl / Propyl / Caprylyl -alcohol, Cetyl alcohol or stearic acid, the resulting ingredients finished with –eth and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), Methyl- or X-isothiazolinone, Perfume ... 
- If you want to protect the environment, please do not use products with polluting and silicon components: dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane (or other names ending in -one or -oxane), EDTA -ylphenol, PEG, PPG ...


- Want to choose safe and gentle products for your skin? Boycott potential risk ingredients for health and the environment with common names like Methyl-, Etyl-and Butylparabe, Phenoxyethanol, Formol-, Quaternium-15, DMDM ​​Hydantoin, Benzophenone ...


Order of components in INCI and their concentration.

The INCI list is listed in descending order of composition concentration in the mix. It means that the top of the list represents the largest proportion of the product composition. The lesser substances are behind. Typically, the first 6 components on the list represent 70% of ingredients in cosmetic products.

However, according to regulations, if cosmetic ingredients have a concentration inferior to 1%, they can be enumerated in any order. Therefore, the order of the components is in disorder and meets the manufacturer’s willingness. You will probably see on top a natural composition of 0.1% dosage, while dangerous preservatives represent 0.9% in the product. Therefore, even though the ingredient list is very long, be patient and read it all to detect harmful substances.


Nevertheless, pay attention to detect the true concentration of organic ingredients. Many products that require only 1% natural extracts also label themselves "Natural" for friendliness, but who knows what remaining tens of percent comes from? Remember, only the first 6 (natural) components are meaningful!

An example of INCI organic cosmetics vs ordinary cosmetics

Compare the list of ingredients of an organic water balance product with a conventional chemical balance water product to see a true difference:

Produits chimiques: Eau, Butylène Glycol, Glycérine, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phénoxyéthanol, Palmitate d'isopropyle, Huile de ricin hydrogénée Peg-60, Triéthanolamine, Acrylates / Polymère croisé d'acrylate d'alkyle, Methylparaben, Miel, Mannitol, Parfum, Acrylate de propylène, Parfol Hyaluronate de sodium, cyclodextrine, protéine de Dulcis Prunus Amygdalus / protéine d’amande douce, Hexyl cinnamal, extrait de Faex / levure, Alpha-isométhyl ionone, succinate de disodium, Ci 14700 / Red 4.

Organic products: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice *, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) flower extract *, Glycerin, Aspalathus lineris (Rooibos) extract *, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel) extract *, Arginine, Hydrolyzed rice protein, Michelia alba flower oïl, Galactoarabinan, Levulinicacid, Sodium levulinate, Potassium sorbate, Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, Sodium benzoate. * Ingredients from organic farming


Conclusion :

In short, save the list of potential chemical hazards for health and the environment (provided), and also spend 3 minutes reading the ingredient list (INCI) for the correct answer. More about product quality. The principle, the simpler and shorter the component, the fewer chemical names are.

- Read the first 6 components to see what their main ingredients are, whether they are organic or not, (juice, hydrosol, vegetal oils / butter / glycerin, etc).  

- See the next components for more vegetal extracts, essential oils, etc?

- Read all ingredients to see if they contain risky chemicals for health and the environment. If so, look for other products with better quality.

However, it is important to remember the list of important ingredients to understand the origin of the product as well as its nature and its chemicals. The quality of a product rather than the ingredient list depends on many factors such as utility and purity of the ingredients, their exact concentration, and how the ingredients are combined to complement each other’s. So you need to care about origin, manufacturer experience and especially try the quality on your skin. Don't forget, no matter how good a product is, it can't fit all your skin types!



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