e:botanicals

Deciphering ingredient lists

thoughts, ingredientsEva ElvelinComment

How many times have you thought/said/written/heard someone else say/read something about how ingredient lists are way too long, 90% confusing and containing items that you're 100% sure you can't pronounce?

I've done it more times than I can remember. It's one of the reasons behind starting my own line of body care products; I didn't want the glycohexatrimetholaxine. Or the I20581. These ingredients were made up right here right now on the spot, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were actually ingredients named like that. 

Now, a couple of months and countless hours of research and experimenting later, learning the rules of the game, I've come to realize a thing or two. Even if you're looking at an all-natural product with few ingredients, the list on the back label can (and probably will) still be very long and complicated. This is because there are legal aspects involved; you have to use a standardized "language" when stating your ingredients, namely the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI). 

green beauty

Through the INCI, vitamin E turns into a-Tocopherol; chamomile extract turns into Guaiazulene extract; and skin emollients (softeners) derived from sugar and cocoa shows up as Isoamyl laurate and Isoamyl cocoate. Not so sexy. In addition - and for good reason - you have to state allergens, too.

These are not added allergens; they're just compounds naturally present in the ingredients. For example, a lot of citrus fruits (whether it be essential oils thereof, or a fresh fruit that you eat) contain for example limonene and linalool. If they are present at about 0.001% in your final product, you need to state them on the label. So you also get these little random ingredients that have to tag along on your list even though you never actually added them as a separate ingredient. 

In the end, you have a list that's both long and complicated, and a group of people that won't stop raving about the shit that manufacturers put in their products. Many do; that's not the point. The point is: do your research. Not all long lists are bad lists.

Peace out!