When investing in skincare, it is just as important to read the labels as when you are doing your groceries. There are many products out there that promise a lot and deliver nothing. Claims on products such as natural, clean and vegan can be misleading as are claims of what's not included....SLS free, paraben free and toxic free. Aside from what the product promises and what it's claiming is not included, how can you best choose a product for you? If you're faced with two products that are the same price, how do you know which one is the best value for money and will really do what you want it to?
Ingredients are listed in descending order of the amount of that ingredient present. The first listed ingredient is what there is the most of in your product and the ones listed towards the end are what the product has the least amount of. If you see the first few ingredients being something that you could easily buy quite cheaply, such as coconut oil or sunflower oil, then that product is bulking up on those cheap ingredients with the more potent ingredient being available in lower amounts. Water (aqua) or aloe vera is generally the base with which most skincare products start with. Then oils are there to nourish and hydrate the skin. If it sounds like something you use in your kitchen, it's probably not worth a lot of money but there are many specialist oils such as rapberry seed oil, moringa oil and argan oil which carry their own properties. After that, one of the key things we're looking for these days are what we call "active ingredients". These are ingredients that have been clinically tested to perform on the skin in a particular way and to have certain desired results. Examples of these active ingredients to look out for are:
- Extracts from plants which are really potent concentrations of the plant's most powerful botanical properties including specialist acids and vitamins in their natural form - check where these appear on the ingredients list - companies generally use between 1% to 10% in their formulations - obviously the more the better! These extracts are the cream of the crop in modern skincare and are the ingredients that will really make the biggest difference to your skin health helping all skin types, from acne-prone to more mature skins. All of the skincare brands we sell contain these plant extracts with Edible Beauty containing very high ratios.
- Hyalauronic acid is basically a sugar that has moisture retaining properties. Cheap forms can come from bacteria grown in a lab, whereas more dynamic forms come from fermenting certain vegetables. Hyalauronic acid is a humectant, attracting 1000 times its own weight in water helping to plump up the skin, reduce fine lines and signs of dehydration. Hyalauronic acid is found in most of our serums such as the Amisi Hydrating Serum and Inika use it in their liquid foundations and BB creams.
- Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA's) are a class of compounds that can be natural or synthetic. These include lactic acid which helps reduce pore size and improve skintone. Evohe make their own lactic acid in-house at the Gold Coast. Amisi also use a type of lactic acid derived from fermented radishes with an antimicobial benefit. Glycolic acids, when naturally made, come from fruit and breakdown dead skin cells to reveal new skin. Saya make their own glycolic acids here in Brisbane and is found in their AHA exfoliator.
- Colloidal silver has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe sensitive or acne-prone skin. Studies show colloidal silver has amazing regeneration properties and aids regrowth of tissues. Seeing that it also decreases the effects caused by oxidative stress and pollution and stimulates skin elasticity makes it ideal in anti-aging skincare. Quite Frankly Natural, made in Brisbane, have an international award winning range of colloidal silver-based skincare.
- Bakuchiol - the new retinol alternative. Retinol is a chemical long associated with acne prone skin and mature skincare promoting fast skin renewal but has undesirable side effects, cannot be used before going in the sun nor while pregnant or breast-feeding. Saya Skincare use Bakuchiol, a powerful extract from the Babchi plant. It gives you all the benefits of retinol without those irksome effects. Find it in their Renew Serum and Night Cream.
Other ingredients that are often added to products without having too many benefits for the skin are emulsifiers, emollients and preservatives. When in doubt, the EWG (Environmental Working Group)'s Skin Deep database lists hazard rating for nearly 9000 ingredients on the market. Despite any marketing claims a product might have, you can look for yourself and make an informed decision about what you put on your skin and how to get the most value for money.