How to be a skincare label reader

  • Ali

I popped into a high street store last week and picked up a moisturiser which was screaming healthy, natural, moisture balance to me. It looked lush but when I checked the ingredients in it I was horrified that even today, consumers are being hood winked by great marketing into buying brands that purport to be filled with natural, wholesome plant based ingredients like Shea butter, Coconut oil and Jojoba oil, when in fact the majority of the product is filled with toxic mineral oil and cheap bulk fillers. The natural ingredients were the last but 3rd ingredients in the list!

So why should you be looking at a natural plant based oil or butter ingredient over mineral oil? And what should you be looking for in a brand that say’s Shea butter on the label?

Firstly let’s tackle mineral oil

Mineral oil is a bi-product of the petro chemical industry. It’s a colorless and odorless oil that's made from petroleum—as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It's long been used as a common ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments, and cosmetics as it’s inexpensive and can be used as a bulk filler to essentially make a  product look like you’re getting value for money. 

It can harbour toxins

It can often harbour toxins and is available in different grades but you won’t know what grade is in your particular product. At the bottom of the list, so to speak, is “technical” grade, which is used to lubricate engines and equipment. Now you don’t want to be putting that on your skin!

It can block pores

Mineral Oil is considered “comedogenic,” which means it can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads. Even a ‘high grade’ of mineral oil can trap ingredients in your pores. Also, because the oil is an “occlusive agent”—which means that it forms a physical barrier over your skin to reduce moisture loss any bacteria or dirt you have on your skin will be trapped underneath it. So if you already have bacteria on your skin (most likely), or if you have other ingredients in your product that can clog pores, even the ‘most refined’ mineral oil will keep all of that close and tight to your skin, increasing risk of breakouts. 

It doesn’t have any benefits to skin

Finally, if you’re not already sold on checking your products and removing any that contain mineral oil,  here’s my last point. It's not of any benefit to your skin! Yes, it may contribute to your toxic load, yes it may cause break outs, but on top of that it’s not doing anything for your skin. It’s not infusing it with nutrients. It’s not providing hydration that actually goes into the skin where it counts. It’s just sitting there on the top of the skin preventing moisture loss.

Our grandmother’s may have been okay with that fifty years ago, but today we have so many better alternatives! We have natural plant extracts, nut butters and natural oils that provide so many benefits, including essential fatty acids that plump up skin, antioxidants to fight free radical damage, and nutrients to help maintain skin firmness. Ok,they’re more expensive for the manufacturer to use, but what would you prefer? Why settle for a film made from petroleum when you can do so much more for your skin? 

What to look for when choose Shea Butter

Ideally you want the natural ingredients as close to the top of the ingredient listing as possible. Look for natural ingredients which are ethically sourced and fair trade too. If you start to apply these guidelines you’ll be buying better products and supporting local communities around the globe. 

Arbonne’s moisturising shea butter products are enriched with just the essential ingredients, leaving skin feeling supple, soft and radiant.

Shea butter is harvested from the seeds of the nut from the shea or karite tree; naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F, it provides skin with the essential fatty acids and nutrients necessary to support hydration. Shea Butter has been used in many countries for years to improve the appearance of skin and hair. Going back to Cleopatra’s Egypt, there are stories of people using the moisturising benefits of shea butter for cosmetic use to protect their hair and dry skin caused by the sun and winds of Africa.

Made with sustainable shea butter harvested with fair trade principles, the collection is formulated with future generations in mind. With Vitamins A, E and F, and a mix of botanical oils, these shea butter products including hand wash and hand cream, body wash, body lotion and lip balm.  Give them a try – they’re sue to become your everyday solution for personal care.

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Hand Wash Retail £24/ Preferred Client (PC) £19.20

Hand lotion £24/ (PC) £19.20

Scents of Nature Hand Care Duo £34 (PC) £27.20  - Limited edition

Hand cream £19/ (PC) £15.20

Body wash £38/ (PC) £30.40

Body lotion £38/ (PC) £30.40

Lip balm £15/ (PC) £12

Tinted Lip Balm Rose £13  (PC) £10.40 - Limited edition

Vanilla Bean Lip Therapy Set £28 (PC) £22.40

Image removed.Image removed.Image removed.The shea nut used in Arbonne products is harvested in West Africa by a woman’s cooperative, from a wild growing tree protected by law in the sub Saharan belt. The trees begin to give fruit after 15–20 years of growth. No fertilisers or pesticides are used in the process, and the trees are pollinated by bees. The seasonal collecting period, boiling, and processing of the nuts occurs early in the morning by the local women. Most of the processed shea is exported, creating a valuable income for the families as well as the local economy.

Sustainable product harvests set out to protect the land, improve the farmers’ or harvesters’ quality of life, and enhance the communities in which the crops are raised.

To further this, fair trade helps to ensure that fair prices are paid to the local farmers who have raised the crops — helping support the local economy. The shea butter used in Arbonne’s products is harvested by local women, and helps empower the community, creates social interaction, protects the environment, and advances the local culture.

To find out more about Arbonne’s sustainability programme and how they are working towards a B Corporation certification – an organisation which is committed to people above profits, please get in touch.