The Essential Guide to Identifying Clean Cosmetics

As any natural beauty enthusiast will tell you, options for clean cosmetics have grown over the past few years. Where natural skincare once had a small but devoted following, it’s now a major international movement. With so many clean beauty brands on the market, there’s more choice and variety on offer than ever.

Though the growing clean beauty industry should be celebrated, the number of options on the market can be a little overwhelming. How can you identify products that are genuinely “clean” and free of ingredients that are bad for skin and your overall health?

Luckily, it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Read on for our 4 dos and don’ts for reading the labels on your natural makeup and skincare and picking out ingredients that are safe for your skin - and ones to avoid.

1. Do read the name closely

Look closely at the ingredients list on your skincare or makeup. Spot some words you don’t recognise? Chances are, you’ll see what looks like a mix of Latin words and chemical-sounding names.

Since the early 1970s, cosmetics sold in 91 countries including Australia have had to display their ingredients in the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) format. This means that all ingredients that have been chemically processed need to appear under their Approved Scientific names. For example, Vitamin C is often listed as ‘Ascorbic Acid’, it's much-less-natural sounding Approved Scientific name.

On the other hand, INCI uses Latin names to refer to natural ingredients that haven’t been chemically modified. This includes everything from our Certified Organic essential oils to the fruit extracts in our new organic skincare range. Our tip? Next time you’re scanning a label for pure, completely natural ingredients, just look for the Latin names.

2. Do remember the Rule of 5

Finding potentially dangerous ingredients in your makeup doesn’t start and end with looking at the ingredient names. Always look closely at the order that ingredients are listed in, particularly the ones in the first 5 spots.

In Australia, all cosmetic ingredients need to be listed in order of quantity. This means the first 5 ingredients on the list usually make up most of the product and handle the heavy lifting. You’ll find nourishing natural ingredients in the top 5 for most INIKA products - so you can rest assured that when we say “clean beauty”, we really mean it.

3. Don’t forget the 1%

Because of the rule of 5, harmful ingredients in cosmetics are often pushed down the ingredients list, where they can be difficult to find.

But look closely at your skincare ingredients list and you might find that it’s not just ingredients that are bad for your skin listed low down: Sometimes, natural ingredients are there, too. This is because outside of the Rule of 5, INCI allows ingredients that make up less than 1% of a product to be listed in any order.

By now, you know that order’s important. A natural skincare product containing Rosehip Fruit Oil, for example, that lists this in 10th place on its ingredient list contains far less of the oil than another product that lists it 3rd on its ingredient list. In short: The more natural ingredients there are near the top of the ingredient list, the better.

4. Don’t forget about fragrance

Ever wondered why you’ll often find the word ‘Fragrance’ on an ingredients list without any further explanation? Brands don’t need to explain what exactly goes into their fragrance, even though this might include plenty of chemicals you should try to avoid in skincare and makeup.

To get around this problem, always do your own research about clean beauty brands and understand their individual approach to ingredients. At INIKA Organic, our philosophy ensures that all our products, even those with fragrance, include only 100% clean ingredients that are ethically and botanically sourced. You won’t find the word ‘Fragrance’ on our ingredients lists: Just certified organic ingredients your skin will love.

Clean skincare doesn't have to be complicated

Knowing exactly what’s in your natural skincare and makeup is the first step to building an effective clean beauty routine. Now that you know how to read your cosmetics labels, you should be able to steer clear of harsh chemicals and other harmful ingredients in makeup and skincare.

For more information about why natural skincare is better for you (and for the planet), check out our Natural Beauty Hub. Ready to make the switch to natural cosmetics that are every bit as clean as they claim to be? Start by exploring our new range of organic skincare products now!

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