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Knowing your skincare ingredients (Part I)

Knowing your skincare ingredients (Part I)


To make sure that any undesirable ingredients is not present in the skincare products you want to purchase, you really have to go through the ingredient list in details. For some information e.g. whether particular ingredients are derived from plant source or genetically-modified source, you may even have to approach the vendor or manufacturer. But it is always good to start with the ingredient list. So I’d like to share with you what resources are available out there if you want to obtain more information on the ingredients. 

The following are some of the websites that I often referred to before I became a formulation chemist. Now I still refer to them from time to time as they provide good enough information that is readily available and easy to understand. One advice: when you are in doubt, cross check the information amongst different sources and that will give you a better insight. (offers search in Chinese)

After becoming a formulation chemist, I’m much concerned if there is any restrictions of particular ingredients in cosmetics use or any health implications under research. This time I will introduce CosIng, the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients contained in the EU Regulations. I will introduce resources from other countries in my later blog posts. I personally think that CosIng is user-friendly and provides very comprehensive information on ingredients. I will now show you how to conduct a search in CosIng.

Step 1

Go to the front page of the database: 

Step 2

Input the ingredient you want to search (can try common name, INCI name or CAS number) then click “Search”. I will use talc (talcum powder) here as an example.

Step 3

Click onto “TALC” for more details.


Step 4

You will find the restrictions in cosmetics use of talc in the “Cosmetics Restriction” section i.e. III/59.


Step 5

You click onto “Annexes” on the left hand side then click onto Annex III “III List of Substances which Cosmetic Products Must Not Contain Except Subject to the Restrictions Laid Down”.


Step 6

As the cosmetics restriction of talc is III/59, you need to go to item 59 on the list then click onto “Talc: Hydrated magnesium silicate” on the right hand side.


Step 7

Now you could see that when talc is used in “(a) Powdery products intended to be used for children under 3 years of age”, the warning “Keep powder away from children's nose and mouth” has to be put onto the products.


Happy searching !!


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