What’s behind the paint?
Most people blindly trust well-known brands and don’t bother to check what goes into the cosmetics
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS Or you may end up with the wrong cosmetics that can harm your skin
What are you wearing today? A crucial question to which we do not necessarily have an answer. We’re not talking clothes here.
What’s in that moisturiser you slapped on? What’s that pink lipstick you used today, laced with?
Or what’s in the eye shadow you wore to the concert last night?
We aren’t really big readers of labels and ingredients. But that’s probably because what’s on the ingredient list sounds like gibberish if you don’t have the patience to crosscheck names.
Take, for example, what people discovered after they shelled out 3.99 pounds (roughly Rs. 320) for a facial spray in London – that it was just 100 per cent water.
Read the ingredients
The ‘Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz’ contained only “aqua” (always used to describe water as the ingredient in any product). Apparently, the product also claimed that it was “the definitive answer to those everyday health and beauty problems we all suffer from, but keep putting off.”
“Hypoallergenic and fragrance free, it instantly cools and freshens the skin, helping to protect it from the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.”
What else do you expect when you spray a fine mist of water on your face?
Is reading the ingredient label high on your mind while buying makeup? “The only thing I check for is whether there’s been any animal testing of the product. Otherwise, I have no idea what the bad ingredients are,” says businesswoman Reema Mahant, echoing the general consensus.
Cosmetics and make-up are the only things she buys when she travels abroad and they include eyeliners, shadows, blush, lipgloss, lipstick, hair sprays, creams lotions and perfumes.
Most users go by a general instinct and trust a product that’s falls under an umbrella term “Quality”.
A big brand name spells re-assurance, a belief that the manufacturer uses “quality” ingredients. Brushing aside a local brand as “cheap” or “untrustworthy”, and reaching out for the imported (that you pay for through your nose) one at a mall is not unusual. What those ingredients may contain is an altogether different and horrifying story.
Prathibha Shanker, a 20-year-old undergraduate student, regularly buys eyeliners, lip-gloss, balms, face-washes and nail enamels.
“I usually stick to one brand and am rarely influenced by advertisements for new products. I also tell myself ‘A lot of people are using it, so if nothing’s happened to them…’,” she trails off.
Designer Seema Bagaria says she ends up experimenting a lot with her make-up when she travels abroad. “What most products don’t warn you about is that they are not suitable in certain weather conditions such as our tropical weather,” says Seema. She usually goes in for lip colours, eye colours, blush-ons and night creams.
She had picked up a new range of mushroom-based products with a heavy base, when she was in New York, and her skin erupted every time she used it back home in India.
So she just stopped using it and was given an exchange on the entire range, when she explained her situation.
“It is important to read labels. You may not be familiar with many of the names and terms, but you can always ask questions. Otherwise you could end up with the wrong product.”
But she also wonders whether in India salesgirls are trained to give information across the counter or answer customer queries.
Oily skin being a bane, Ayesha Deane, a 23-year-old artist, tried out many face washes, cleansers and creams – “anything that came on TV” – but found they dried her skin up.
After a consultation with her dermatologist, she finally settled down with what her doctor recommended.
“I prefer organic and natural products…If it’s a chemical product, I look for the presence of glycolic acid…”
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The first ingredient is what is present in the largest quantity in the product; the rest are listed in descending order.
If you have a regular brand of makeup you use, you can always look up the contents on the Internet.
Send this article to Friends by