Beauty Consumer Education; Understanding Beauty Product Labels

The FDA has begun regulating the cosmetic industry but the beauty product companies still have different definitions for what their product claims on the label. What are the manufacturers claiming their product will do? Why is it important to know what ingredients are in your cosmetics?

Kari Romney of Cosmetic Enhancements has sorted through the beauty product jargon to help you become a more educated consumer. She helps you understand what you’re buying before you spend your money.

1. Understanding common beauty product terms and claims and what they really mean. Below are listed 5 main terms:

Noncomedogenic: Contains ingredients that appear to not clog pores, or cause comedones (blackheads). Most of your cosmeceutical skincare will be noncomedogenic.

Hypoallergenic: It would be easy to assume, with the claim hypoallergenic, that the product will not cause any allergic reaction, and is ideal for sensitive skin. Although products with such a claim usually contain ingredients that do have a lower chance of causing allergic reactions than others, it is not a guarantee. Be sure to check the ingredient label for any past ingredients that you know have caused your skin irritation. Consider doing a skin patch test before completely covering your skin to help determine if the product is agreeable with your skin. Be sure to wait 24 hours with patch test.

Natural / Organic / Certified Organic: When we read ‘natural’ we automatically assume good for you, better than products that are not natural. This is not always true with skincare. Remember there are no federal guidelines to say exactly what natural means or what percent of the ingredients must come from a natural source to make the claim. Beware that some natural products can cause irritation to the skin. Also in skincare, natural ingredients aren’t always superior to synthetic ingredients for the results you may be seeking in your skincare regiment. Organic / Certified Organic: Sad to say but these appear to be great buzz words. Just as with natural, there are no standards within the cosmetic industry to define organic, or certified organic, which is a newer term you may see.

Dermatologist Recommended / Dermatologist Tested: Any product can make this claim – even if one dermatologist has tried the product or used it on a single patient. This claim does not mean the product is recommended by all dermatologists to treat all patients. There appears to be no set testing or established guidelines for either claim.

Anti-Wrinkle/Wrinkle Reduction: These products will contain ingredients to help reduce the appearance, and slow down the appearance of wrinkles. They also might possibly help in prevention of wrinkles from developing. There are no guarantees of results, or that a wrinkle will ever go away. Do not be fooled by label marketing terms. Cosmeceutical products will cost more, but will be far more effective when dealing with wrinkles. Because of higher concentration of key ingredients the results are therefore more effective. Remember when looking at ingredients, usually the first three to four listed are your highest in product concentration. It will be important to become familiar with anti-aging ingredients. What they do is help reduce the appearance, and prevent the wrinkles from appearing. In contrast to most popular beliefs, wrinkles start from the inside out. They begin forming in the Dermal-Epidermal Junction (DEJ). So, by using anti-wrinkle products that have ingredients with the technology to work within and around the DEJ, you will be more successful at wrinkle reduction and prevention. *Don’t wait to have wrinkles before using an anti-wrinkle product.

2. Become familiar with beauty product ingredients.

There are many different types of ingredients, and the list just keeps on growing with technology. I know from experience when trying to read ingredient labels it is like trying to decipher a foreign language. One ingredient may have several names. Vitamins alone can be listed under different names on product labels. To help with the confusion, I might suggest a great little book, ‘Milady’s Skin Care & Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary Second Edition’, by Natalia Michalun. (You should be able to find it though Another helpful hint is to identify and understand active ingredients. When choosing your product, look for active ingredients that are known for effectively treating your particular concern. That way you can avoid the marketing hype, as active ingredients speak for themselves.

Contact Kari Romney at Cosmetic Enhancements 801-558-4804 or go to

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