How to Read a Makeup Label

Before you buy food at the grocery store, you read the label to make sure there aren’t ingredients that you are allergic to or that would harm your body. Most people, however, don’t read the labels on cosmetics before applying them to the skin. Simply reading the directions and warnings aren’t enough, especially if you have sensitive skin.

read the label firstHarmful chemicals in makeup can leech into your skin and create a buildup of toxins, and excess oils and artificial ingredients can cause blemishes. The FDA mandates that makeup must be labeled with its ingredients and the manufacturer can not make false claims, but claims are not regulated. There simply isn’t time or funding to ensure that all claims are true. This benefits small cosmetic companies who do not have the funding to pay for extra testing to prove their claims, but this means it is the consumer’s responsibility to learn how to read the label. Makeup labels are not easy to read unless you are familiar with chemistry and its terms. The best place to start is to read the list of ingredients and know what to look for, and which ingredients to avoid.

Editor’s note:- You can find out more about the FDA guidelines for makeup labelling here


choose oil free makeupIf you have oily skin, you look for oil-free products to prevent blemishes. Even eyeshadow and blush are marketed as oil-free to draw in consumers.A company can use synthetic oils in place of natural oils and still label it as oil-free, but synthetic oils can harm your skin more than natural oils. Instead of looking for “oil-free” on the label, look for “noncomedogenic.” This means the product will not cause acne or clog pores.


Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ -- 2.5 fl ozMany women prefer a moisturizer with an SPF to save time while preventing sun damage. But what most women do not know is there there are two kinds of sunscreen, and one should be avoided. Physical barriers block UV rays from penetrating the skin, and chemical sunscreen absorbs UV rays.  Chemical sunscreen can create free radicals,which leads to fine lines, wrinkles and premature aging. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are both physical barrier sunscreens, so look for these on the label.

Organic Makeup

Many consumers mistakenly think that organic makeup is all-natural, but according to the FDA, manufacturers can use the term organic as long as 20 percent of ingredients are natural.  If you want only organic ingredients, look for certified organic on the label and research the product before purchasing.


Many cosmetic companies claim their products will stop or reverse the signs of aging. The most effective anti-aging products are delivered in a serum, and not a moisturizer or cosmetic product.  The main ingredients break down in light, so it’s best not to use them during the day anyway.


If you have allergies or sensitive skin, fragrances can cause skin or lung irritation. The FDA does not require companies to list fragrances that are used to cover the scent of the ingredients. Looking for hypoallergenic products won’t help either because there is still a small chance you could have a reaction.  Always do a patch test before using a new product.

If you have problem skin, learn how to read the list of ingredients. Just because a product claims to solve a problem, read the ingredients to see if they back up the claim.  Learn what ingredients to look for for your skin type and, more importantly, what products to avoid.

This is a guest post by Cindi Lewis who writes for Glossy an organic skin care and beauty products online retailer.

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