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Habit Hack: Guide to Skincare Ingredient Labels

Ingredient lists are complex, confusing, and can get quite overwhelming to read, but we’ve got tips to help you get a better understanding of skincare products.

The Order of Ingredients

Ingredients are listed from highest to lowest concentration and by their INCI name (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) followed by their common name in brackets. It is listed in descending order, from greatest to the least amount. However, ingredients of less than 1% can be listed in any order. It means that if an ingredient is listed at the bottom, you’re not getting much benefit from it. 

Potential allergens are listed at the end of an INCI list and are usually marked with an asterisk or italic font.

Active and Key Ingredients

Active or key ingredients are sometimes on a separate list on the website or as part of the product title. It is important when buying skincare to read the entire list and identify where the active or key ingredient sits within the list. The amount or concentration of the ingredient will impact how much of an effect it will have on the skin.


The open-jar symbol with 6M, 12M, 24M, etc., represents in months how long the product can be used once it’s been opened.

Other symbols include vegan, cruelty-free, PETA, and Leaping Bunny which will be visible on the label. 

Ingredients: Explained

Sodium Hyaluronate: Also known as Hyaluronic Acid, is a natural humectant to boost moisture retention in the skin.

PrincipHYAL®️ Cube3: A full-spectrum biotechnological fraction of Sodium Hyaluronate that targets short-term anti-ageing effects. A unique 3-in-1 ingredient that quickly improves the global epidermis health thanks to a strengthening of the barrier function of the skin.

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate: This ingredient is vitamin C, which inhibits melanin from lightening dark patches, evening out skin tone, and enhances radiance.

Ascorbyl Glucoside: A Stabilised Vitamin C derivative to help brighten the eye area for a wide-awake look.

Tocopherol: Vitamin E that softens the skin, stops the skin from losing moisture, and protects cells from cell damage.

Zemea Propanediol: A skin conditioning agent.

Ferulic acid: Key ingredient in stabilising Vitamin C and helps neutralizes free-radical damage from pollution, ultraviolet light, or infrared radiation, which accelerates skin ageing. Always look for Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid together. 

Ingredients That May Cause Irritation:

Sulfates: Separates dirt and oil from your skin and can cause irritation to sensitive skin.

Essential Oils: It is quite common to get allergic reactions from essential oils, it is recommended to do a patch test first and monitor for signs of irritation.

Fragrances and Dyes: Both can cause irritation even to those who don’t have sensitive skin. It is recommended to do a patch test first and monitor for signs of irritation.

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