How to read a product label

The list of ingredients on beauty products read like a language test at best of times, requiring a dictionary or MSc in Chemistry / Biology to decipher unpronounceable words. It can be daunting but we think it’s important to know or develop an understanding of the ingredients present in the products you’re using daily. In the beauty industry, we refer to this list as International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients or INCI for short.

Many of us are genuinely interested in seeking botanical ingredients but have no idea what is found in nature vs what is synthetically created. After all, many plant components can be created in the lab and are used entirely to produce skincare and cosmetic products or added to them. Many popular brands claim to be natural yet have very few botanicals or plant extracts and are instead packed with questionable ingredients.

At Naya we are passionate about performance orientated skincare and make absolutely certain that the ingredients we use are biocompatible ingredients: proven and safe to use to provide your skin with the daily support it needs to maintain a healthy production and recovery of skin cells. And we are dead serious about our Ingredients policy. We work directly with local farmers in South America and a highly reputable Green formulator in Germany, and have safety assessment certifications for all our products, which all reputable brands must have before launching a product in Germany. 

We want to empower you to feel confident in reading labels and understand what it all means. For a start, we’ve created a guide to help you read our label and to know what to look out for. 

We want you to be in charge and feel empowered. 

 

Ingredients

Ingredients are listed in descending order, starting with the largest amount in the product. In general, ingredients in the top third make up the bulk of the product. Remember where ‘water’ is usually positioned? Conventional Creams typically have approx. 75%-95% of water. Not at NAYA. We only use as much as we need and the majority of our products are water-free and we use aloe vera juice or mineral-enriched waters such as glaisher water or luxurious botanical derived waters. 

Essential Oils

The further you go down, the level of percentage will go down. Ideally, essential oils or sometimes indicated as ‘Parfum’ on the INCI list should be below 1% to avoid irritation and not ‘burn’ the skin. Do make sure Parfum is as low on the INCI list as possible to avoid damaging your skin barrier. Your skin barrier is your skin’s protection from all external environmental stressors. Thus, at NAYA, we made the decision, to not use essential oils in our products to make them even suitable to sensitive skin as well. The only product that does contain essential oils is the Everyday Face Oil. 

Sometimes you read Parfum instead of essential oils. According to the EU Cosmetic Regulations, when one uses more than one essential oil or more than one natural smell, formulators are allowed to indicated it as Parfum on the INCI list – as the smell has been developed based on a combination of oils. Parfum does not necessarily mean it is synthetic! We would recommend you enquire about what it consists of and what the smells are to eliminate any possible reactions. 

Finally, essential oils carrier allergens. If allergens such as Linalool, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene and this brand sells in EU, it is obliged by the EU Cosmetic Regulations to indicate any allergens even if it is part of another ingredients.

Allergens

In the EU, it is compulsory to list components of essential oils, also referred to as allergens. They are listed separately as an ingredient but it doesn’t mean they’re synthetic nor are they a separate ingredient. If you see these allergens listed, it means the product is a truly green product – that’s a good thing. If you do not see these components, it means that something has been synthetically added during formulation to strip them away. Look at labels carefully to see if these components are naturally part of an essential oil or added as a chemical. This has to be indicated by EU law. When you check the INCI list and you don’t find these allergens listed, but it contains essential oils, contact the brand to enquire. 

Expiry Date

This little symbol that looks like an open jar indicates when the product expires in number of months after opening the bottle. Oxygen impacts ingredients and their effectiveness. You will experience the optimal effect when it is at its freshest. So don’t leave it standing for too long once you’ve opened it.

Symbols & Logos

Our packaging is 100% recyclable.

Certification

We are PETA-certified. We don’t test on animals and no animal is harmed in the sourcing of our ingredients or production of our products.

Organic Certification

Majority of our ingredients have been COSMOS and / or ECOcert certified. As these ingredients go through actual rigorous testing to be confirmed and approved as COSMOS and / or Ecocert. We as a brand are not certified but we also do not believe in the organic certification. It is more a member’s club of companies that can effort a high price tag, instead of the products going through actual testing or any actual hands-on verification. For us, it does not add any value, mainly another Marketing Scheme. If you are a consumer, we would recommend that you educate yourself about these schemes to learn more about them and what is important to you. However, most of them if not all, do not actual hands-on testing of the product and only require brands to sign a form to agree to their terms, pay the annual membership fee to pay for a logo.