Is Your Skincare Actually Nutella?
Raise your hand if Nutella is the only reason you buy bread. I mean, who can get enough of its chocolatey, wholesome goodness? Made with roasted hazelnuts and cocoa, this delicious nut spread was my breakfast choice for years. Like most households in the 90s, my parents believed that Nutella was a shining example of a tasty yet balanced breakfast. In fact, that’s how it was advertised for years…until they got sued.
Here’s what Nutella is really made up of:
More than 70% of Nutella is sugar and palm oil. The largest ingredient is sugar, with 58% of it being sugar. Nutella is literally spreadable candy, yet people are shocked every time the ingredients are revealed. This brings me to my point:
Learning to read ingredient labels is one of the most valuable life skills that anyone can have.
Don’t stay ignorant. Don’t be uninformed. Cultivate the habit of reading ingredient labels, and it will pay off for years to come. And don’t just do it for Nutella - do it for your skincare too. Big skincare companies love to tout the use of special ingredients in their latest products. But look closely and you might realise that these ingredients are used in such tiny amounts, that they make no difference to the skin. I cannot emphasise the number of times that I’ve seen preservatives higher up on the ingredients list than the ‘special ingredient’!
When your ceramides and niacinamide come in last on the ingredients list - that’s when you know the brand has ethical issues. People ask me all the time: ’I’m not a scientist, I’m not a chemist, so how can I know if the ingredients list is good or bad?’
Luckily, there is a fairly simple way.
Ingredients are arranged by volume from the most to the least. Most skincare labels can be divided into three parts - the top third which is your base, the middle third which are your active ingredients, and your final third which consists of preservatives, fragrances and stabilisers.
The top third is typically made of water, glycerin, and sometimes aloe vera juice.
The middle third consists of active ingredients, oils and usually constitute about 4 to 12% of the product.
The final third is made up of preservatives, fragrances and other ‘add-ons’.
Brands that want to lower cost and yet make label claims tend to hide their 'special ingredient’ in the final third of their ingredient list. This means that the quantity of the special ingredient can run as low as 0.05%! This is not an oversight or a mistake. This is a deliberate attempt by skincare companies to save on costs, at the expense of consumers like yourself.
Moral of the story? Always read your ingredients list.