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Beauty Labels 101: 9 Best Skincare Ingredients To Include In Your Beauty Routine

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If you liked our guide on how to read product labels, then here is part two! Last time, we concentrated entirely on the important facts you need to know before turning to the back: how not to get confused, learning the order of ingredients, marketing gimmicks, etc…¬†Now, we’re looking entirely at specific ingredients. Here are some of the best skincare ingredients that work real miracles on your skin.

1. Retinol

Retinol, also known as Vitamin A1, is a type of retinoid (other forms are Retin-A & tretinoin). It is one of the best skincare ingredients for all skin types. It helps with acne, skin brightening, and anti-aging. It quickens your cell turnover, thereby increasing production of collagen and elastin to keep your skin supple and tight. If you have sensitive skin, retinol is the best form. Retin-A is best for acne, and tretinoin can cause irritation on certain sensitive skin, though it is very effective. That being said, retinol works best on most people! Just make sure you use sunscreen after, because it will make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

2. Vitamin C

This is a brightening and anti-aging superstar. It also hydrates your skin and blocks pollution. Ideally, it should be a part of your everyday skincare routine. Ascorbic acid is the most effective form of Vitamin C, when it comes to skin.

3. Niacinamide 

Niacinamide is another vitamin, also known as Vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid. B3 is great for your skin and body! Some say B3 and C shouldn’t be used together, but that isn’t true of today’s advances in skincare technologies. One of the best skincare ingredients, this works to improve fine lines, dull skin, large pores, and more.

4. AHAs

So, I kind of explained the difference between AHAs and BHAs in my last post. They’re both exfoliating agents. Despite AHA being a plant / naturally-derived exfoliant, a lot of skincare companies synthetically produce it. Look for it, ideally in the 4 to 8%. Any less isn’t effective, and more is only useful if you need some serious exfoliation, maybe once a week or so. Great types of AHA are glycolic acid, mandelic acid (for mature and sensitive skin), and lactic acid (works even better for aging skin).

5. BHAs

This too causes skin to resurface, like AHA, getting rid of fine lines, pigmentation, and rough texture. But, it’s specially formulated for oily skin: to de-clog pores and treat blemishes, like acne. It’s usually available in the form of salicylic acid.

6. Hyaluronic Acid

This is a substance that naturally occurs in our skin. It retains moisture, making skin plump and firm. As we age, even through our 20s, we start losing this. So, any skincare product (especially moisturisers) with this, is a definite YES!

7. Hyrdoquinone

This was a controversial ingredient, due to certain manufacturers mixing in other ingredients. Now, it’s formulated rather safely. It’s great for lightening spots and evening out skin tone. It works a bit like a bleach, so it is usually mixed in small percentages to keep it safe for use.

8. Antioxidants

Niacinamide, the Vitamins (even E is a great one for skin), lycopene, green tea extract, coenzyme Q10, idebenone, and zinc are all types of antioxidants. There are literally too many to list, and they are a skincare favourite. They fight free radicals in the air, which helps prevent cancer and aging. Plus, each one has a range of benefits. Basically, antioxidants are life!

9. Glycerin

Glycerin is a type of humectant; in one of the best ones. Humectants, in skincare, attract moisture and keep it put on your face. And umm, don’t we all need some of that? Plus, it’s really good to soothe your skin.

Just in case you missed Part 1 of our Beauty Label Series, head on over to check it out now!


Our beauty writer is also an amazing makeup artist (check out some of her awesome videos on the site!). This skincare enthusiast is also a bonafide globetrotter and boss babe.

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