Reading the Label — A Must-Do for Facial Skin Care Products

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Your face is one of the most valuable parts of your body. It tells your story, shows who you are, and invites the world over to your life. Therefore, you should look after it as much as you can and even spoil it. That is why choosing a beauty product to help your face glow is not as easy a task as one may think. With so many skincare products out there, how do you know the best one for you? What do you look for in the product? How do you know that it will work? 

Well, by reading the beauty product label, of course. So, before you spend your money on something that looks fancy, check out what is actually going on your skin to see if it is worth the money. The more you know, the better your face shall be.

Ingredients Are Listed From Highest to Lowest Concentration

On any good cosmetic labels of facial skincare products, there is a list of ingredients that make up the stuff inside. Therefore, reading the ingredient labels every time you are on the hunt to make your skin clean and clear is a fantastic place to start. While some of the ingredients may look confusing or overwhelming, there are two basic rules when it comes to understanding how the lists work: 

  • Ingredients are listed from the highest concentration to the lowest
  • Plant-based ingredients are followed by their scientific name in brackets

Reading the List

The previous point was that what is on top of the list makes up the majority of the product. Some products try to trick people into buying them by making themselves sound more worth their buck then there are. For example, they may advertise that they feature rose oil (which helps with anti-aging and hydration), but then list it at the bottom of the list, meaning there is not that much of it in there. Therefore, you will end up buying something that is not as good as you would have wanted. The items at the bottom of the label make around 1 percent of the product, which means they are basically useless.

However, the top three items on the list are what you should pay the most attention to. Like when you buy food and come across an ingredient you do not know, it is best to look it up. From there, you can see if it is the right thing for you. Researching can also apply to the scientific names that you can come across. Here is a list of some of the chemicals that are good for you: 

  • Sorbitan Olivate (made from sorbitol (alcohol sugar found in most chewing gums) as well as olive oil)
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • Citric Acid (regulates the pH levels of the item)
  • Cetyl alcohol and Cetearyl Alcohol (alcohol that does not dry out the skin like other types of alcohol usually do)

How to Read the Open-Jar Symbol

Every face cream comes with an open-jar symbol. That is important as it tells you how long the product lasts after you first use it regardless of the serving size of the packaging. The symbol you want to look out for looks like a container with an open lid and a number inside it. You may know it as either PAO (‘period after opening’) or BBE (‘best before end’). The time is usually displayed in months, often written as just ‘M.’ They can be from 8 to 36 months, depending on the product.

It is a great idea to keep an eye on the timeframe and make sure you replace your skincare product before it expires. The reasoning why using these types of products after their expiration date is a bad idea is because of the spreading agents that go into their making. These are the oils that will rise to the top plugging up your pores when you use the cream. Plus, if your product comes in a pot of sorts, then bacteria can be easily transferred, causing you to add unhealthy bacteria to your skin accidentally. 

There could be other factors that affect the timeframe of the product, but, as you would at a grocery store, check to see how long your face cream can last. And this brings us to the next section.   

Locating the Expiration Date

The expiration date is usually at the bottom of the product. Brands that come for the United States show their date in the month-day-year format. Therefore, the 5th of April 2021 will be ‘04052021,’ for example. Manufactures from other places, such as some Asian countries, write their date in the year-month-day format. So, the 5th of April 2021would be ‘20210405.’ Knowing where the product was made is beneficial in figuring out the expiration date. 

However, some companies may opt not to include any clue as to when their product will stop being usable. That is where you must use your intuition. If the product separates into layers, feels weird on your skin, or smells bad, it would be best to throw it away and get a new one. 

A bad skincare product can cause negative reactions such as getting itchy, maybe even a rash, or other sensitivities. Throwing it out can save on skin treatments. You would be saving more money by getting a new skincare item then using an expired one.  

How to Check If It’s Cruelty-Free

People like to use safe things, but they also want the items not to have been tested on animals. Many have the same mindset when it comes to skincare facial products. Luckily, there are several ways that you can tell if the face cream you desire was not tested on innocent bunnies. 

Some logos show off their love animals, and they usually use rabbit imagery to get their point across. The United States-based organizations ‘Cruelty Free’ and ‘Peta’s Beauty Without Bunnies’ and the Austrian based ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ are the main logos to be on the lookout for. Any others are most likely fake. 

However, not all the companies can afford to have an official bunny logo (like the ones mentioned above) on their items. That costs extra since they would have to pay for a license. Even if the companies pass all the requirements and are super friendly to animals, they can fall short when it comes to funds. 

But, you can go online and check out cruelty-free sites that list what brands do not test on animals. You can also add companies to these sites free of charge. Make sure that the site is up-to-date, though.

Another thing to keep in mind is that certain sites have different standards when it comes to what is cruelty to animals and what is not. That means that the product that you want could appear on one site but not on another. Therefore, make sure that you find the one that you trust and fully agree with.   

Ingredients to Avoid

Processed foods have certain items on their nutrition labels that you should definitely avoid, and skincare products are no different. There are ingredients used in facial skin care that would not do wonders for your skin — quite the contrary.


Sulfates are often found in soaps and body washes. They serve to attract oil and water. Furthermore, they can separate oil and dirt from your skin. However, that also means that sulfates remove the healthy oil from your skin, which can result in it becoming dry and unbalanced. 


Parabens are highly controversial. Many claim they are able to mess with your hormones and some say they cause cancer. The latter was not completely proven, but it was enough to raise concern. While the EU and FDA say that parabens are safe to use, many experts disagree and suggest we avoid them.


This chemical can lighten skin pigment. That may be a good idea for dark spots, but not for the rest of your skin since you will lose your color ending up with discolored patches. 

Too Much Vitamin C

While Vitamin C is a great chemical to have, it is only good in moderation when it comes to your skin. Too much can cause inflammation, making it feel as if your skin is burning. That is because Vitamin C is used as an exfoliating agent in face creams, to open up your pores. Less is more concerning this item.  

Artificial Dye and Smells

While these can make the product more appealing to your eyes and nose, they can irritate your skin. Sometimes, the less appealing a product looks, the better it works.  

Final for Facials 

When it comes to facial skincare products, read the ingredients, and always check the PAO/BBE. There are so many items on the market, and you will certainly find some that are right for you. 

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