Today I’m #reposting an important topic... sorry if you’ve read this before but I wanted to share with those who recently started following along!
Companies are legally obligated to list their ingredients in descending order (by mass) so ingredient lists are packed full of useful information about the product you are buying. BUT, there are loopholes that companies like to take advantage of. I’ll touch on two big ones here. .
#1 Concentrations Less Than 1%
Let’s start with an example… when parabens started getting bad press, phenoxyethanol was one of the preservatives most companies turned to (so it’s in literally everything). It’s really not a much “cleaner“ option but, for now, it looks better on paper. The typical usage rate for phenoxyethanol is 0.25%-1%. So an informed consumer would think: “ok, anything higher than phenoxyethanol on the list should be in a concentration higher than at least 0.25%” - but that’s not always the case! Ingredients that make up less than 1% of the final formula can be listed in ANY ORDER!!! As an (oversimplified) example, if Company X uses a dozen different actives (each in a concentration of 0.05%) and 6 different preservatives (each in a concentration of 0.99%) the company is allowed to list the actives higher up on the ingredient list. (Mis)leading the consumer to believe that there are higher concentrations of actives in the product compared to preservatives! I’ve actually noticed it becoming more and more common for ALL the actives to be listed ahead of the preservatives (which are usually crammed at the end of the ingredient list). But this question is: Do they really belong there?
This one is two fold… First, in Canada, “Fragrance” does NOT need to be listed in order. Companies have the option of putting it at the end of the list, regardless of quantity! That means products could have A LOT more fragrance than they let on! Second, if (for example) a preservative also has a scent, a company can add it claiming it is “part of their fragrance” and not intended as a preservative. This allows them to get around disclosing what that ingredient is by hiding it under the blanket term “fragrance”. Crazy, right!?