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How to Read an Ingredient List, what to look for

Knowledge is power.  If you can’t “read” an ingredient list you are at the mercy of the people who are selling you that magic jar (for $200!). And, as I have discovered the hard way, you can’t just trust everybody. Some people lie and others are ignorant (but they still think they can formulate a skincare product).

Will you know everything after you read an ingredient list? No, because the manufacturers don’t give you the concentrations of each ingredient. Even worse, some lists cannot be trusted. However, you can learn enough to be able to detect bad ingredient lists and fake ingredient lists.

But here is how you can make it work:

1) Write down why you want that product

2) Copy the ingredient list

3) In the list, separate the “base” from the actives

4) Now check: do the actives fit the reasons why you want the product?

For 4) you will need my glossary of ingredients, which tells you what an active can do for you, and what it can’t. [Note: we will soon release a much more complete glossary].

Problems? Write to me and I will help!


For more information, please read the following blog posts:


Anything (good) these products can do for you? Let’s look at the ingredient lists. I give you clues.


How to read an ingredient list: La Mer Treatment Lotion


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