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Ingredient Truths: Ingredient Order Matters – Decipher the Label

by kelly / December, 15 2021 01:30

Photo of a skin care ingredients

It seems in today’s connected world everyone is an expert on skin care. But to be a true expert you need to understand your product’s label beyond just the marketing. Most people don’t know that there’s an order to how ingredients are listed on the label. Well we’re here to help so you can show off your expertise.

Where Can You Find the Ingredients?

First off let’s make sure everyone knows where you can find the ingredients on your label. The label will list them under the title of “Ingredients”. Not too surprising.

Most of the time this ingredient list is on the back of your product bottles. But sometimes they are on the box that your product comes in or hidden beneath peel-back stickers.

What’s With the Tricky Names?

That’s because according to the US Food & Drug Administration all personal care products including skin care product must follow the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (aka INCI names). More specifically, INCI names are the scientific names of ingredients. It’s why some common ingredients like – anthemis nobilis which is chamomile for example – can sound odd.

For even more about INCI names and why they are used check out our post “Ingredient Truths: How To Read Those Tricky Skin Care Ingredient Labels”.

Is There An Order to Ingredients?

Now that you know where to find them and how to read them – is there a method by which they are listed? Why yes!

Ingredients are listed in descending order, meaning the ingredients with the highest percentages are listed first and then the rest listed in decreasing concentrations. When you get to ingredients with concentrations below one percent – the ingredients can then be listed in any order.

Now that doesn’t mean one ingredient is more powerful that the other (it’s just the way they are listed) – as some ingredients are very strong at small concentrations.

So there you have it, one of the great mysteries of ingredient labels solved!

Ingredient Truths

For even more ingredient truths and skin care secrets check out our Ingredient Truths and Skin Care series.

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