As consumers, we often take the labels for the products we buy for granted, especially when it comes to cosmetics and skincare products. It’s not a surprise– most include a laundry list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients in tiny print, and if you don’t have a history of allergies or particular ingredients you’re trying to avoid, cosmetic labels probably don’t seem all that important.
What many consumers don’t know is that these labels are required by law to let us know exactly what’s in the products we eat or put on our bodies. While potentially icky chemicals aren’t a problem when you buy Scrub Me Good products, other cosmetic and skin care products may not have the same commitment to natural products. You are what you eat–and what you put on your skin. Here’s what ingredient labels mean and how to read them!
How the FDA Changed Cosmetics
History lesson time! Several decades ago, consumer goods weren’t safe or their use was advertised in an unsafe way. From soda to meat to medicines, consumer products in the early 1900s were a bit like the wild west: unchartered territory with very few rules.
The Food and Drug Administration put an end to unsafe, unlabeled (or deceptively labeled), and misbranded food and cosmetics. With the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, and accompanying Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), cosmetic manufacturers and sellers were forced to prominently label their products and define exactly what’s in the product and how much product is available.
Labeling is still quite a thing with the FDA, and manufacturers of all sizes have to comply. And this is actually a great thing for consumers because it provides transparency with what they’re buying– even if the full guidelines are a little hazy and hard to understand.
What’s In a Label?
Guidelines are for your Scrub Me Good friends to figure out. All you need to know is how to see what you’re getting before you purchase a cosmetic product.
Labels have a variety of legally required details, including:
- Product name and brand name
- Ingredient list
- Product weight or volume
- Directions for use
- Manufacturer name and location,
- Warnings or cautions
Not only are these parts required, but they also need to be included in a very specific way. Ingredients are listed in order of concentration, from the highest to the lowest. Usually fragrances and color additives are found at the end of the list.
Keep it Fresh
You’ll also see expiration or best-by dates on cosmetics. Although the FDA doesn’t require dates to be listed, cosmetic manufacturers should be keeping their customers’ safety in mind by adding a freshness date to the label. For instance, at Scrub Me Good, our labels suggest a use within 3 weeks of opening notation for the best experienc. We also mark each container with a sticker on the bottom of the packaging indicating the batch number. This batch number tells us exactly when the product was made. The first 3 digits indicate the day of the year. For instance, January 1 is 001, January 2 is 002, etc. The 4th digit indicates the batch number of that item for that day (1, 2, 3, etc), and the last 2 digits indicate the year (21 is 2021).
It’s All In the Name
Simple, common names are required on cosmetic products – for instance, water, sugar, and coconut oil. Ingredients can use other common names, like the latin name for water, aqua, in parentheses beside the English phrase. If the cosmetic includes chemicals, you’ll see those listed too–but they’re much more difficult to understand. We like our labels easy to read.
Scrub Me Good Labels
Now that you know how to read ingredient labels for body products like our sugar scrubs, you’ll be able to buy more confidently. We always use the purest natural ingredients, natural oils, and essential oils in our products–and our labels show it! Check out our latest products for every body and skin type.