Ingredient lists and skincare jargon

DISCLAIMER: If you have any concerns about your skin or your overall health, please visit a doctor.


Today, our skincare journey has come to an end, unfortunately. Still, the good news is that starting with next week, the blog column ”Beauty Journal by A.G.” will be focusing on hair care and make-up. The information will be as clearly presented and well-researched as until now.


In today’s article: ”Ingredient lists and skincare jargon” it will be explained how to correctly read an ingredient list and also the meaning of some of the most popular words in the skincare jargon. It is essential to know what ingredients you put on your face and to take your time and read all the information labelled on the product before use. 


So, how do we read an ingredient list on a product? All of them are written in descending order, according to the concentration.


                                                                  Source of the image: Dermalist


For instance, in the example presented above, the first ingredient is water. As a result, water is the first main ingredient in the product’s formula. Usually, the first five ingredients in a list are considered the most powerful in concentration. So, the last one has the lowest concentration, which in our case would be geraniol (a volatile fragrance ingredient extracted from geranium, which can potentially lead to irritation at high concentration, not recommended for sensitive skin).


Now that we know how to read correctly an ingredient list, what about the skincare terminologies that we hear all the time, but often we are not sure what it means?


Here are some of the most used terms in the skincare jargon explained:


1.Hypoallergenic: If you see this word on the label of a product, it means that it is supposed to be less risky in causing allergies than other products. Usually, hypoallergenic products are targeting people with sensitive skin. However, sometimes even hypoallergenic skincare products can still contain potential irritants in their formula, such as fragrance or essential oils. So, even if it says that is a hypoallergenic product, you should still read the entire ingredient list. If you want to be sure, you can see a dermatologist, to have some tests done and see what can potentially irritate your skin.


2.Dermatologically tested: It means that dermatologists have observed how the skin of various people has reacted to the formula, this way making sure that is safe to use. Also, the product is supposed to have passed multiple laboratory tests as well.


3.Clinically proven: A product that is clinically proven means that it was tested on a small group of persons, which they were reporting back any positive or negative results that they have seen on their skin. However, most of the times no in-depth statistical analysis has been done or any other laborious studies.


4.Non-comedogenic: A non-comedogenic product means that it will not block your pores, so it will not encourage the appearance of blackheads. This term is often seen on the packaging of skincare products dedicated to people with oily skin or acne, as they are more prone to clogged pores because of the excess sebum.


5.Natural: We all know what natural is supposed to mean. However, the only 100% natural skincare is a homemade one, with fruits or vegetables. There is no such thing as natural skincare commercially sold, as every product has chemicals in it.


                                                             Source of the image: Meme Generator


7.Fragrance-free: It means a product that has no fragrance at all. Still, you should check the ingredient list if you can’t smell the product beforehand, as many products from that category still can have fragrance, even if they say they don’t on the packaging. Fragrance-free products are also recommended to people with sensitive skin types, as fragrance can be a potential irritant for some.


8.Preservative-free: Preservatives are ingredients that prevent bacteria growth or mould, and they keep the product from going bad. Parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are very common in skincare formulas. Even if there are few options on the market of preservative-free products, they are important ingredients that keep the product safe and with longevity compared to other products.


All the skincare terminologies mentioned above is heavily debated in the beauty world, among specialists, as many terms are used for marketing purposes and promotion of the products instead of presenting the reality. So it is recommended to do your ingredient research before a purchase.


In the end, skincare is a journey. But to make it beautiful and successful, we have to start with the basics and do our research beforehand! Stay glowy and healthy until next time!


                                                                                                                                                             For the love of skin,
                                                                                                                                                     Beauty Booker and A.G.




References and Bibliography:


Anjali Mahto. The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Great Skin. London, Penguin Books Ltd, 2018.


Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (2021). Preservatives. [online] Safe Cosmetics. Available at: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2021].


Choice, P. (2021). Understanding Cosmetics Ingredients Labels | Paula’s Choice. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2021].


Choice, P. (2021). geraniol | Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary | Paula’s Choice. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].

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