March 16, 2015 Learning to read labels

The list of ingredients

A thorough look at the ingredients is the only way to "comprehend" a cosmetic product (far more true and precise than any sales points or advertising!). However, it is not that easy: quite often, first, lay your hands on a powerful magnifier. Then you have to learn how to decipher the label. Underneath some clues to help you understand the list of ingredients ...

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All articles [25]
© Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
March 21, 2016 Learning to read labels
Batch numbers and bar codes: what do they mean?

These series of numbers and initials may seem quite obscure, and therefore pretty useless. And yet, if they are mandatory on cosmetics labels, it means they do have role to play, that of giving information. And all consumers can understand and learn how to use them, whenever needed. [Read more ]

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 18, 2014 Learning to read labels
Evaluation criteria

Formula, tolerance, safety, pleasure, labelling, price... A list of six criteria has been defined by our experts to evaluate the different aspects of cosmetics.Checklist. [Read more ]

©Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 29, 2013 Learning to read labels
25 ingredients... to keep an eye on

Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Triclosan, BHT… and of course, Parabens! There is no shortage of “controversial” cosmetic ingredients, which are sometimes (but not always) pointed out with arguments that deserve our attention. So which ones should be taken seriously?... [Read more ]

©L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
April 2, 2012 Learning to read labels
Made in

A general trend is to understand the mentions on a label in a comprehensive manner, and to give them a meaning that is driven by common sense. This may be misleading, or may lead to not “feeling” the “subtleties” allowed by the regulation. This is the case with the... [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
March 29, 2012 Learning to read labels
The "No animal testing" Mention

Here is a mention that, at first sign, seems to be explicit enough, stating that the manufacturer did not use animal testing to assess the tolerance or the sanitary safety of its product. However, after a closer look, and in most of the cases, this mention is particularly unclear, it even gives... [Read more ]

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
December 27, 2011 Learning to read labels
The "Non comedogenic" mention

Interesting, this mention, on the label of a cosmetic product, isn’t? Indeed, who would want a product able to produce or to help producing blackheads? Nevertheless, what does mean exactly this allegation? How could one understand it and what can come from it? [Read more ]

©L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
February 16, 2011 Learning to read labels
Moisturization of the upper layers of the epidermis

This mention is often seen on the labels of our cosmetics… so that we do not pay attention and do not wonder about what it means. Indeed, what does it mean? Why is it written on some moisturizing products, and not on others? This mention is a story by itself… and has a... [Read more ]

December 3, 2010 Learning to read labels
A QR Code on a cosmetic: why?

The QR code (Flash Code in France), also known under the Data Matrix name (in the USA, for instance, in aerospace industry worldwide) is a development of the well-known bar code, in two dimensions. It is sometimes referred to as an "intelligent bar code". Newspapers, film posters, flyers, bus... [Read more ]

©Thinkstock /L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
October 11, 2010 Learning to read labels
What value should be accorded to patents in cosmetics?

‘Registered patent, international patent, exclusive patent, patented active...’ The mention of a patent can appear, at the manufacturer’s discretion, very clearly on the front label of a cosmetic product, sometimes in the form of a logo, or it can appear almost discreetly, in... [Read more ]

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September 24, 2010 Learning to read labels
Spray cans: no ordinary cosmetic products

Deodorant or shaving foam are often used as any other cosmetics: they are taken with us while on trips (even in cars’ trunks, sometimes overheated in plain Summer), we put them anywhere, we throw them away when empty without any more care than for any other product. Nevertheless, be aware:... [Read more ]