Skincare labels - what are you really buying? 

Have you ever found skincare labels confusing?

Once you learn how to read skincare labels you might be shocked at what you're actually paying for.

Many products advertise flagship ingredients yet when you turn the product over it reveals 30 other ingredients that you’ve never heard of.

While there is fairly strict regulation for cosmetics around claims regarding benefits made by products, there are almost none for wording. With these labelling loopholes it easy for skincare companies to mislead the uninformed consumer. The use of buzz words like ‘natural’ or ‘pure' and phrases like ‘natural skincare’ don’t actually have to conform to what would be a normal interpretation.

For example - every single ingredient on this earth can be claimed at one stage to be derived from a natural source but we wouldn't advise using it on your face.

Any time you read ‘naturally derived’ or 'derived from a natural source’ you’re most likely getting skincare which is watered down, packed with synthetics and other chemicals. It may deliver some sort of short term result but at the cost of your longterm skin health.

Instead of reading the marketing tag like like ‘Eternal Natural Beauty Elixir’ (ok we made that up) we need to look at the actual ingredients as we do with our food labels.

Reading Labels

When a skincare brand markets a specific ingredient to sell you their product they’ll often use it in their tag line and advertise it touting all its benefits but is this ingredient at the top of the list? Even the top 10?

All labels by law have to list their ingredients on the back from the highest amount in the product, to the lowest except for an ingredient under 1% which can be listed in any order.

Unfortunately the majority of skincare only contains 2% active ingredients, the rest is comprised of synthetics and water. 98% filler 2% killer. Think of this skincare as a bad pop album.

With Clean Collagen Kakadu Plum is at the top of our list because it constitutes 50% of the formulation. Work your way down our label to Bakuchiol at 4%, the highest amount proven to work safely.


You’ll generally see ‘Aqua’ (water) as the first ingredient in many products.

Aqua may sound sexy, images of that Italian waiter offering you something to drink on a hot summers day in a piazza in Rome come to mind but what you’re really being offered is diluted skincare - the plant extracts (if any) activity is lessened and are compensated with synthetics to deliver results.

Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C

The power of vitamin C in skincare can’t be emphasised enough. It promotes collagen production, is full of anti-oxidants, it hydrates and is anti-inflammatory. It’s a perfect anti-ageing ingredient. That’s why you see so many products advertise vitamin C.

However vitamin C is notoriously unstable once extracted from its natural source. This is where you’ll see 'ascorbic acid’ as a replacement. Ascorbic acid is nothing more than a synthetic created in a lab and it contains none of the full spectrum healing benefits of natural vitamin C. The two are not created equal.

For the first time in skincare and thanks to a ground breaking innovation in the extraction process we are able to offer shelf stable, fully active natural vitamin C with all its incredible benefits.


Fragrance or perfume is highly irritating to the skin. Even natural fragrance such as essential oils can irritate the skin. Why are we putting perfume on our face anyway?

Most fragrances are made up of a plethora of toxic synthetics. As ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ is considered the main ingredient there are no laws requiring the fragrance ingredients to be listed on the bottle. That’s just plain scary.

We’ll do another article on aftershaves and perfumes and how harmful they can be in the future but for now, unless it’s 100% natural you do not want to be spraying that stuff anywhere near your body.

Synthetic allergens and irritants

Toners, cleansers and moisturisers are often filled with alcohol and acids which dry out the skin, further damage your skin barrier function and disrupt the skin’s natural hydrating processes. This leads to a host of other skin concerns.

We know to avoid ‘parabens’ but what you may not know is that many manufactures have replaced them with benzyl alcohol and polyaminopropyl biguanide which are preservatives. You’ve guessed it, none of these are not good for your skin.

Other ingredients to avoid are: Stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, ethanol, phenoxyethanol and acrylates.

At Terra Tonics we are completely transparent about every one of our ingredients and don’t hide behind expensive marketing and tag lines

Are results speak for themselves. 

The reason we give you in depth information about our ingredients is because we want you to be informed about what you’re placing on your skin.

All ingredients in our products are at high percentages, pure, active and never watered down.

Nature provides all we need to be healthy and have glowing skin. People need nature and not confusing skincare labels.