We all know the feeling: you’re standing in front of the aisle of cosmetics wondering which one to choose. There are literally thousands of skin care options out there, so which one is best? What ingredients should we look for, and what should we avoid?
To hopefully minimize the stress and to help answer your questions, Molly Rottschafer of Bloom Naturals, a homeschooling mother of 5 boys and a self-taught skin care expert, is shedding light on the topic in today’s sponsored post. Be sure to check out her special deal as well.
About Molly and Bloom Skin Care
Back in the early 2000’s, when Molly was beginning to clean up her family’s diet, she was stopped in her tracks when she heard someone say, “You shouldn’t put on your skin what you wouldn’t put in your mouth.” She began digging into research and her kitchen became her lab, her friends and family, her lab rats.
What started out as a mission to make healthy skin care for her family grew into natural remedies for acne to aging skin. All of this led to the start of her natural skincare company, Bloom, in 2009. In addition, she educates people through podcasts, speaking engagements, and social media on how to read the confusing labels and decipher ingredient codes so they’re able to make healthy choices for themselves and their family.
Molly’s Tips for Decoding Skincare Labels
- “Natural” or “Organic” (keep reading)
While it may have natural or organic ingredients, it will most likely have other ingredients that are not as desirable mixed in. And, similar to food, just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
- Key ingredients
Why not list all of them? Nope. When it says “key ingredients,” these are the ones they want you to read about, but they don’t necessarily want you to know about the others. Companies should list ALL of their ingredients.
- Ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity
For instance, water is almost always listed first, which means that the product has more water than any other ingredient (more on this below). This is important because you can see where the beneficial/safe/natural ingredients fall on the list. If avocado oil is listed close to the bottom, that means that the product contains very little avocado oil.
- Be wary of numbers or capital letters
When an ingredient name contains numbers or capitals, those are made in a lab. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never gone picking for “raspberry #5!”
- Vitamins- not what you think
When you see an ingredient such as Vitamin E, it has either been isolated from other ingredients or is a man-made version created to mimic the qualities of that nutrient. Either way, it’s not the healthiest option. It is best to use an ingredient like avocado oil, which is naturally high in Vitamin E, as well as many other nutrients to nourish your skin.
- Petroleum ingredients
Mineral oils disguised with names like baby oil, Vaseline, or petroleum jelly are everywhere in skin care. EVERYWHERE. They act as a raincoat on the skin preventing skin from breathing. Who would want to slather by products of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil all over their skin? Not me. These are the core ingredients in lip balms and many “baby care” products. Yuck!
Some of the ingredients common to moisturizers, baby care products, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and more that include ingredients made from the petroleum industry (which by the way, are banned in European countries) are as follows:
- Paraffin Wax
- Baby Oil
- Petroleum Jelly
- Mineral Oil
- The component PEG (polyethylene glycol)
- Anything ending in ‘eth’ indicates that it required ethylene oxide (a petrochemical) to produce e.g. myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth
- Anything with DEA (diethanolamine) or MEA (ethanolamine)
- Butanol and any word with ‘butyl’ – butyl alcohol, butylparaben, butylene glycol
- Ethanol and word with ‘ethyl’ – ethyl alcohol, ethylene glycol, ethylene dichloride, EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetracetatic acid), ethylhexylglycerin
- Any word with “propyl” – isopropyl alcohol, propylene glycol, propyl alcohol, cocamidopropyl betaine
- Methanol and any word with ‘methyl’ – methyl alcohol, methylparaben, methylcellulose
- Parfum or fragrance – 95% of chemicals used in fragrance are from petroleum
- Watch out for water
One last ingredient to be wary of: water. Yes, I said water. You may not have thought twice about the fact that water is the first ingredients in almost all personal care products. After all, water is so good for you, and it’s essential to us. But did you know that adding water to other ingredients breeds mold and bacteria? Think of it this way: if you leave a grapefruit on the counter, it will mold in a short time but if you dehydrate it, it will last indefinitely. Even the FDA knows this and requires a strong preservative to prevent mold and bacteria from growing. Read more about water in skincare here.
Molly’s Tips on What to Look for in Skin Care Products
- Coconut oil
The two best forms of coconut oil are organic extra virgin and organic expeller pressed. These are rich with antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal & antibacterial properties that help ward off infection, which helps reduce symptoms associated with skin irritations.Most companies use fractionated coconut oil because it stays liquid at all temperatures and thus is much easier to work with in formulating. Fractionated coconut oil is literally a fraction (hence the name) of coconut oil because the fatty acids that are solid at room temperature have been removed using high heat thus burning off the enzymes that make coconut oil so beneficial. It is not a whole or complete oil. If labeled correctly, “Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride” is the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) name for fractionated coconut oil while “Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil” is the name of the real stuff.
- Avocado oil
It’s full of vitamins A, D & E, and avocado oil penetrates deep into the skin to deliver nutrients and soothing hydration while helping with age spots and sun damage. In 2001, a study published in Dermatology provided evidence that avocado oil could be a long-term topical therapy for psoriasis. France has given avocado oil Rx status because of its ability to counter the negative effects of arthritis. Now, this was when taken internally but remember, your skin absorbs what is put on it. Woohoo!
- Lavender oil
It’s more than just a lovely scent. Because of its antibacterial properties it can produce a calming effect on the skin, helps aid in regenerating the skin, enhances blood circulation and can minimize scar tissue. There are man-made versions of lavender oil out there so be careful.