What The Heck Is In My Product? Reading Ingredient Lists

Ever looked at the back of a product and seen a list of mumbo jumbo with no idea what it all means? Thought so. Ingredient lists are here to help you. Pretty much, they represent the makeup of the product you’re using. It’s super important to understand how to decipher the mumbo jumbo, especially if you are wanting to use or avoid a specific ingredient.

First up, don't be fooled by the claims a brand make about their products. At times, products will claim things like “enriched with Green Tea Extract”, but the product contains less than 0.1% Green Tea Extract. That’s not going to do a whole lot for you or your skin. Too often, products include tiny percentages of specific ingredients and then claim that the product is going to change your skin, job, relationship status and solve your life's problems.

Sasse is here to teach you (our Sasse intellectuals) a thing or two. Unfortunately there isn’t a black and white answer as to whether ingredients are included in products at an effective percentage, but we’ve put together a few tips to help you out.

  • Ingredients must be listed in descending percentage that they are included in the formula. This means the ingredients making up the majority of the formula will be listed first. BUT, (ready for the spanner?) ingredients included at less than 1%  can be listed in any order at the end of the list, which is where it can get tricky.
  • As a general rule, the higher up the ingredient list an ingredient is, the more of that ingredient is included in the formula.
  • The reason ingredient lists tend to look a bit scary (scientific?) is because each ingredient is listed using its INCI name. INCI stands for the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) system. So while a product may contain Carrot Oil for example, the INCI name for Carrot Oil is Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil. If you missed the flora and fauna lesson in year 7 science class, it can be difficult to determine the ingredient using the INCI name. Lucky for you, the internet has a very quick answer for almost everything!

Now you can decipher ingredient lists a little more, you may have found some scary sounding ingredients or ingredients you’ve heard you should stay away from. We’re all familiar with “cancel culture” and unfortunately ingredients are not immune. Before buying into negative hype around specific ingredients, you can check the Sasse Skin Dictionary to see if the ingredient is listed and get a quick overview of what it can do in a formula. You could also do a quick internet search on the ingredient to find out what it is and why it is used in skincare products. Once you know some more, you’ll be in a better place to make up your own mind about the ingredient.

 The good news (and there is always good news at Sasse) is, one of our core values at Sasse Skin is to have complete transparency on all of our products, especially when it comes to the ingredients we choose to include. We’re making it super easy for you! Check out the Sasse Skin Dictionary, or scan the QR code on the back of your product to watch our short, information-packed videos.