Okay - so far in this series we have covered:
- all legally-required labels for beauty products and what they mean
- why it makes sense to use the same INCI names on all products
- Why ingredients are listed in the order in which they are listed
This week we're going to continue to look at the ingredients label on an example beauty product and break it down even further.
So, here again, is our example:
The ingredients label on my Citrus Zing Whipped Body Butter reads:
Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Cocos nucifera oil / Aloe barbadensis extract (aloe butter), Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond oil), Alpha topcopherol (vitamin E), Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Hexyl cinnamal, Citronellol, Mica, CI77891, CI77861, CI77492
So we already know that the primary ingredient is Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)
So what should we look at next?
Well..... Did you notice that this product is scented?
What tells you this is the word "Parfum". Parfum is the word used for scent in beauty products.
If, however, the product uses essential oils instead of other scents, these will be listed according to their INCI name. For example, Tea Tree Essential OIl would be listed as Melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil.
Next question: Did you know that both scents AND essential oils can have allergens?
I find that quite a few customers buy products which only contain essential oils because they believe they do not contain allergens..... but this is a misunderstanding..... it is simply not the case.
When a manufacturer includes a parfum or essential oil in her product, she must also list any allergens that are associated with that scent.
In beauty products there are 26 allergens which must be listed should they be present in a product.... but this doesn't mean that there are only 26 allergens in the world.
So, even though a product may contain parfum which is listed as allergen-free, this doesn't mean that perfume-sensitive customers will be able to use it - if you want to read more about this, please refer to my earlier post "Achoo, aaaachoo! Bless you"
Additionally, allergens are only listed if they exceed a percentage limit (albeit very low) set by the European Commission Directive.
For 'leave-on' products ie products that you do not wash off your skin but leave to absorb in such as Body Butters, this percentage is greater than or equal to 0.001%
For 'wash-off' products ie products that you wash off immediately such as shower products, this percentage is greater than or equal to 0.01%
In all my labels, you will find the allergens associated with the scent I have used immediately after the word "Parfum".
So in my Citrus Zing Body Butter, the allergens associated with the scent are:
Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Hexyl cinnamal, Citronellol
(If you're interested in a full list of all 26 allergens, you will find it at the bottom of this post)
This can change, however, from manufacturer to manufacturer as it is not required to list ingredients in descending order once those ingredients are present at a percentage of 1% or lower in a product.
Additionally, according to my EU safety assessment I am only permitted to use a maximum of 1% parfum in any product.
To be honest, I find 1% to be usually too strong a scent level and I rarely reach that limit because I use very high quality scents..... and whilst I want my products to smell good I don't think they should compete with your favourite perfume or be so overwhelming that you smell of, for example, Body Butter all day long.
Other manufacturers may be permitted to use up to 3% parfum in their products but I would be surprised if a Safety Assessment would permit higher than that.
Personally speaking, if I used 3% perfume in any of my products, I think you'd smell them on Mars!
Like everything else in life, when you incorporate high-quality scents in beauty products, you should find that you do not need to use as much.....
.... which has a nice benefit - it means you will not be introducing as high a percentage of allergens into your product.....
..... Win, Win situation.
So what else is there to consider on this product example?
There are only a few ingredients remaining and these are:
Mica, CI77891, CI77861, CI77492
These are what give my products their beautiful colour.
Mica is a very fine powder that is used a huge variety of products (not just beauty products) and which has been used since ancient times. It is a finely ground mineral.
CI77891, CI77861, CI77492 refer to the dyes/pigments used to colour the mica. The 'CI' element refers to "Colour Index"
If you find CI's listed on a product but 'Mica' is missing this means that these colours have been inserted into the product by another means. For example, they may be a liquid colour.
So... there you go.... we've just finished breaking down the Citrus Zing Whipped Body Butter ingredients label.
26 Allergens to be listed on Beauty Products according to EU law: Amyl cinnamal, Benzyl alcohol, Cinnamyl alcohol, Citral, Eugenol, Hydroxy-citronellal, Isoeugenol, Amylcin-namyl alcohol, Benzyl salicylate, Cinnamal, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hydroxymethylpentyl 3-cyclohexenecarboxaldehyde (or Hydroxy-methylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyd), Anise alcohol (or Anisyl alcohol), Benzyl cinnamate, Farnesol, Butylphenyl methylpropional (or 2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl) propionald-hyd), Linalool, Benzyl benzoate, Citronellol, Hexyl cinnamal (or Hexyl cinnam-aldehyd), Limonene (or d-Limonene), Methyl 2-octynoate (or Methyl heptin carbonate), Alpha-isomethyl ionone (or 3-Methyl-4-(2,6,6-tri-methyl-2-cyclohexen-1-yl)-3-buten-2-one), Evernia prunastri extract (or Oak moss and treemoss extract), Evernia furfuraceae extract (or Treemoss extract)
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