How to Read Labels on Your Beauty Products

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I’ve been telling you to READ YOUR LABELS on all of your beauty products, and I hope you’re doing it. You can choose what goes in your body and what sits on your skin and is ultimately absorbed into your system. Naturally, we want to only use things that are good and to avoid things that could potentially be bad for us like synthetics and chemicals that can lead to a host of problems.

I’ve mentioned this before… my rule of thumb is ‘if you can eat it and not get sick, then you can put it on your face or body without worries.’

However sometimes that may not be completely realistic. 

Let’s take a look at 2 body lotion labels, so you can see what I’m talking about. 


made-from-earth-lavender-calm ingredients

This is my Made from Earth Lavender Calm Body Lotion which I LOVE. 

I look forward to applying this after my shower every evening. 

Check out the ingredients, everything is recognizable to me except for a few things… so I looked them up.

All in all, I think the ingredients are quite mild. I feel comfortable using this lotion.

To be super pure and natural, you could use coconut oil with a few drops of lavender oil as your moisturizer.  I do that all the time too.

When reading a label, note the order of which  ingredients appear.  The ingredients sitting closer to the top are used in the highest concentration.

Keep this in mind: manufacturers can list ingredients with concentrations lower than 1% in any order they choose, and labels do not indicate when high-concentration ingredients end and the low-concentration ingredients begin.

This is another body lotion.



It’s an example list of ingredients from a high-end brand and boasts that it’s natural.

When I saw the list of ingredients, I highly doubted that.  The fact that water is at the top of the list tells me it has a high concentration of water.

There are also numerous ingredients that have chemical sounding names – too many to even begin to look up! 

Any natural ingredients are blown away by all of the synthetics in here. 

And is that acetone? Like in the nail polish remover?

Can find any of these toxic ingredients on any of your beauty products?

By comparing these two products, I hope you can understand how the first one is much better, is truly natural and the second one is created from various chemicals and synthetics.

It’s not a bad product but it does contain things that are questionable.

*Beware of catchwords like 'dermatologist-tested', 'all-natural', 'fragrance-free', 'herbal', 'botanical', 'cruelty-free' and 'allergy-tested'. Regulatory law doesn’t define the meaning of these terms, any product can use them.*

Fancy words that boast promises on the front label mean nothing when you begin to read the ingredients.

It’s an important rule, one that I am learning too, to not give into to empty promises!  A label can say anything it wants and doesn’t have to back it up, there is nothing holding a brand or company accountable for their claims, as misleading as they are.

For example, a certain baby shampoo promises that it is gentle and pure, however this baby shampoo actually contains traces of formaldehyde (in the form of  preservative Quaternium-15).

Pretty scary, right?

Educate yourself about harmful ingredients

Learn exactly what ingredients are by looking them up on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Skin Deep® database or by doing a google search. 

Understand that the shorter the list of ingredients and the more you recognize, the better. 

While Whole Foods and natural food places may sell beauty products, understand they are not always the best you can buy, however, by reading the labels you will see they are better for you than many of the products available at department stores, drugstores and superstores etc.

Remember to watch for deceptive catchwords

Keep in mind that ‘natural’ or ‘for sensitive skin’ or ‘dermatologist tested’ are marketing keywords/cathwords used to draw people in.

I just learned all of this recently and feel pretty bad about falling for these labels. How many toxins I have applied to my skin – our body’s largest organ – it’s very scary.