5 Label Reading Tips You Need to Know for Your Personal Care Products - Goodness Me!

5 Label Reading Tips You Need to Know for Your Personal Care Products

by Katie Mitton September 16, 2016

5 Label Reading Tips You Need to Know for Your Personal Care Products

We are often very concerned about what goes in our body – but what about what goes on our body? Our personal care, oral health, and hygiene products are things that we use every day, and yet often don’t think about what’s in them at all. When was the last time you looked at the ingredients of your shampoo? Or your lotion? How about the make-up you put on every day, or the deodorant that you apply maybe a couple times a day? Everything that goes into those products goes onto your body, and in turn, goes into your body. The ingredients get absorbed through your skin, and just like food, they can either harm your body or heal it.

Let’s talk about that for a moment, and really delve into some statistics. Each day, the average woman puts approximately 515 synthetic chemicals onto her body. Those chemicals go on the skin, through the skin, and enter the bloodstream and other areas of the body. They can create a toxic burden on the liver, which can impact your metabolism, skin health, digestion, stress, and just about every other facet of health. They can build up and create barriers in your skin, creating skin issues like acne or eczema. And they can disrupt your hormones, messing with your mood, sleep, productivity, energy, and so much more.

If that wasn’t enough, how about these two stats: 61% of lipstick brands contain lead. Lead can be toxic to humans and can bring about a host of symptoms and health issues. But lead isn’t the only thing we need to worry about. Parabens, too, are dangerous, linked to things like breast cancer and fertility issues, and there at 16,000 products found to contain parabens.  Many conventional personal care and makeup companies also use mineral oil, another word for petroleum, which causes skin irritations but can also cause harm to the environment. These are just three things that go into personal care products: what else is in the products you use?

We want to help you identify the problems in the products you might use every day. We want to help you avoid becoming a statistic by making healthier choices for your personal care products. There are natural, healthy choices – we just need to know how to find them. To do that, we have 5 important label reading tips to help you navigate the world of makeup, lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, and more. Keep these in mind the next time you need to replenish these items, or look through your own stock with fresh eyes and decide what can stay and what has to go. It will change your life, your health, and your skin!

  1. 1% barrier tip. When you read the ingredients on cosmetics and you see the words “fragrance” or “perfume”, you have reached the 1% barrier, meaning companies are not allowed to put more than 1% of perfume or fragrance into a product. So every ingredient that is listed after those words is in a quantity less than 1%, and every ingredient listed before those words is in a quantity of more than 1%. That’s important to keep in mind when people tell you what their products are “made of”.
  2. The ingredients are written in order of volume. The one that has the greatest volume is written first, and the one with the smallest volume is at the end of the list. If a product label claims that it contains jojoba oil, but it’s the last ingredient on the list, you know it doesn’t contain very much at all—definitely not enough to add huge benefit. Look for healthy ingredients to be near the top of the list.
  3. Look for things you are familiar with, especially near the top of the ingredient list. The further up the list the ingredient is, the more of it there is in the product. Remember those things we mentioned above – lead, parabens, petroleum, mineral oil? Add to that list things like phthalates, perfume, artificial colours, and any word you can’t pronounce. You don’t want any of these things high up on the ingredient list – or ideally, on the ingredient list at all! Instead, look for natural words you recognize like coconut oil, essential oils, cacao butter, beeswax, and other natural ingredients that make sense being in a product.
  4. The first 4-5 ingredients are 85-90% of the product. A lot of companies will create cosmetics with mineral oil and water, and these two filler ingredients make up 80% of the product. Then they add in a few drops of natural ingredients to call it “natural”. Make sure you don’t pay for filler ingredients!
  5. Look for a logo that says the product is certified organic. In Canada, organic and natural cosmetics are not regulated by the government, meaning a company can say they are all natural or organic and they may not be regulated. Looking for a logo like Eco Cert or USD Organic or Canadian Organic Association ensures that you’re getting a true organic product. A study a few years back found that 75-80% of all skin care and cosmetic products in Canada were being sold with the words “natural”, “all natural”, “coming from natural”, etc., but the products did not stand up to the claims.

So, after reading our tips, how do your products measure up? Is it time to do a purge of your personal care products, or are there only a few that need to be reassessed?

Real personal care products should give your body what it needs to heal and moisturize itself. They should contain active ingredients that react positively with your body and skin to create healthy effects. Some ingredients that you can look for in your personal care products include:

Carthamus Oleosomes: small particles full of water and unsaturated fatty acids. They are reservoirs that will penetrate the epiderma, sit on the derma, and explode throughout the day, freeing their content of water and fatty acids to help keep moisture under the epiderma.

Peptides: these are cultivated from vegetable sources and are tiny particles that penetrate deep through the derma to attach themselves to fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells within your skin that produce collagen and elastin, and can stop working with age. These peptides, when attached to the fibroblasts, encourage them to start working again, producing collagen and elastin to help your skin be thicker, firmer, and more supple.

Suberin: this is from the bark of the oak tree, and it has two effects: to work on the surface of the skin to “glue” cells together to give your skin a smoother appearance; and then to penetrate your skin, become peptides, and help the fibroblasts work to create collagen and elastin.

Silicium: this comes from the argan oil and is very important for the skin. It’s used by the cell itself to create cell “envelopes”. As soon as you apply it, you see the skin become paler, smoother, and firmer instantly.

Look for some of these ingredients on products in our Goodness Me! stores. Here are some of our favourites!


Katie Mitton
Katie Mitton


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