The skin is our largest organ, and its care plays a very important role in keeping it healthy and young. In particular, the skin of the face is thinner and more sensitive than that of the body, and deserves more attention and care on our part.
Skin problems (such as dehydration, blemishes, lines or wrinkles, peeling, excess oil or itching) are very common; And although the easiest thing is to blame genetics, there is a lot we can do on our own to achieve beautiful and healthy skin.
This is why face creams are one of the most important parts of our facial care regimen . You need a cream that, at a minimum, hydrates and acts as a shield to protect the skin from pollutants, in addition to preventing sun damage.
Ideally, it also acts as a treatment, correcting some of our skin problems, such as fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, irritation or acne.
But how to identify the best facial creams among so many variety? Well, you have to take into account several factors, such as your skin type, your needs, and most importantly, the ingredients that make up the formula.
If this explanation hasn’t cleared things up much for you, don’t worry, I’ve compiled the top 10 face creams available for women with different skin types and for women facing different skin problems. They are the most recommended and the most popular.
But I have not stopped there, as I do not trust what the brands recommend, I have analyzed the INCI of each one of them , to know with certainty if the cream is good or not even worth trying.
In this article I am only going to include the complete analysis of the two best options, but I leave you the summary of the other 8 creams, and the link so that you can access the complete analysis that is in a separate article.
I tell you that I am going to explain each ingredient, what it is, what its function is, and if it has any side effects; but if the ingredient is already explained in another review, I’ll just put the link so you can read it directly, and not repeat everything over and over again.
Below, after the analysis, I have left you interesting information about facial creams in general. I talk about the different types of creams that there are, what are the ingredients that should include, how to use them, or which one to choose according to the type of skin. Do not miss it!
The best face cream – Nezeni Cosmetics Nourishing Collagen Cream
Buy on Amazon or on the cheapest laboratory website
If you are looking for a facial cream that is moisturizing and at the same time nourishing and anti-aging, Nezeni Cosmetics Collagen cream is what you need.
In addition to deeply hydrating the skin, it helps prevent lines and wrinkles by nourishing and smoothing the complexion . So even if you don’t have a visible wrinkle, it will help keep them from coming out.
And its great hydrating actives help to deeply rehydrate the outer and deep layers of the skin, while preventing moisture from being lost.
The result is fuller, juicier skin that rejuvenates its appearance and leaves it healthier.
It is suitable for all skin types, since the formula is non-comedogenic, perfect for dry and / or mature skin, but also indicated for the care and hydration of oily and acneic skin.
I like that it is packaged in an airlees plastic container, in which the cream does not come into contact with oxygen at any time, and you do not have to insert your finger thereby contaminating the remaining product.
The cream has a light texture, but not too fluid, which applies and spreads very well. A little product is enough to apply on the most problematic areas: forehead, around the eyes, and the mouth, upper lip, and neck.
The best thing about the cream are its natural ingredients . Your assets make up a good chunk of the list, and they’re in very good proportions. You just have to take a look at your INCI:
As you can see, the ingredients are of very good quality , and I think they are the right ones to produce the advertised results.
These ingredients are already discussed in this article with the Best Collagen Creams , so I am not going to explain them one by one again.
I’m just going to make a small mention of the most prominent ones, which would be hydrolyzed collagen, antioxidants and silicon.
If there is a quintessential moisturizing ingredient, it is collagen . In the formula it is present in the form of hydrolyzed collagen, which has a lower molecular weight so that it can penetrate deep into the skin and not stay on the surface.
Together with lipids, these natural moisturizing factors prevent the skin from losing water, keeping it looking young, smooth and plump. A decrease in the lipid and collagen content in the skin leads to flaking, roughness, fine lines, and a feeling of tightness and discomfort.
It also helps to nourish, firm and smooth the skin, as it is part of its structure.
Properly hydrated skin is essential so that it can operate at its optimal capacity and provide a better defense against environmental aggressions. Hence, it is one of the best anti-wrinkle and anti-aging ingredients.
For their part, antioxidants help reduce the effect of free radicals, thus preventing premature aging of the skin, and making it more luminous and uniform.
So collagen hydrates and smooths wrinkles that are already present, while antioxidants prevent new wrinkles from forming. A really effective combination against this great aging problem.
And for aging problems, organic silicon , an element present in nature that plays a very important role in the structure of our skin, manages to increase the thickness, elasticity and smoothness of the dermis.
These three active ingredients are in very good concentrations, so we will notice their effects with regular use.
But unlike most formulas, in Nezeni Cosmetics cream we will not find irritating, sensitizing or toxic ingredients , or alcohol, silicones, or parabens. And if you notice, it has very few preservatives.
These ingredients harm the health of our skin, and can lead to major health problems in the future. This is what is called the combined effect or the cocktail effect .
I have already told you on other occasions about this accumulation of harmful ingredients, a problem that is not yet discussed, but which will be a concern in the not too distant future.
So it’s a great face cream, both for what it has, for what it doesn’t have. In fact, the brand is so aware of this problem, that you can use its entire treatment, without worrying about this combined effect.
And speaking of its other treatments, I also recommend that you try the Antiage Cream to achieve a more intense anti-wrinkle effect , perfect for mature skin; or the Cream with Aloe Vera to regenerate and hydrate and get rid of skin imperfections once and for all.
Perhaps you have seen the perfume within the ingredients, an ingredient that is not usually recommended in creams, because it is not specified, but in this case the brand tells us that it is amber essential oil , an oil that has no side effects at these concentrations.
I would only put one downside to this cream, which can only be purchased online, and has no samples to try before buying. This is something that I have already mentioned to the company, and their response is that it is not profitable for them, since the costs of logistics, packaging and shipping are quite high.
I have tried the cream, and the result cannot be better. The moisturizing effect is noticeable after a few days of application , and the skin is firmer and smoother. In the months that I have been using it, I have noticed a change in my skin.
In addition, the value for money seems unbeatable. You can buy it on their website nezeni.com from here .
If your goal is to have healthier, younger and more beautiful skin, then, in addition to this cream that we have recommended, you need to provide nutrients from within. We are not going to let you off the hook that you have to eat more vegetables, the solution is much easier: a hyaluronic acid supplement .
Nezeni has thought of everything, and that is why he has created anti-aging capsules that, in addition to having a good proportion of hyaluronic acid, include three different antioxidants: astaxanthin, coenzyme Q10 and resveratrol.
These compounds make a common front to prevent free radical damage and oxidation, which are the main culprits for the signs of skin aging. In addition, hyaluronic acid maintains the skin’s water reserves, with the consequent increase in moisture in all layers of the dermis, and the filling that is visibly noticeable.
With just one capsule a day, you can do wonders for your skin.
You can buy it on their website nezeni.com from here .
Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler SPF 30
Hyaluron-Filler is the anti-wrinkle cream par excellence, a whole range of Hyaluron-Filler is proof of its undeniable success, but perhaps one of the most complete is this one with SPF 30.
This day cream is formulated with high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid. Why two different types of hyaluronic acid?
Well, the high molecular weight has larger molecules that hydrate the surface layer of the skin, while the low molecular weight (which is 40 times smaller), can penetrate the deeper layers, where wrinkles originate .
These two compounds ensure complete hydration in all layers of the skin, visibly filling in lines and wrinkles.
In addition, this cream has an SPF 30, so it is perfect to use during the day. The protection is not very high, but it is useful if you have forgotten to apply the total protector.
You already know that the main enemy of our skin is the sun, and that we should never go outside without applying it.
We are going to analyze the INCI of this cream to know in what position the hyaluronic acid is, and if it includes any other active ingredients.
- Glycerin : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate : Tested in Neutrogena’s Age Fighter anti-wrinkle cream .
- Alcohol Denat : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane : Tested in Neutrogena’s Age Fighter anti-wrinkle cream as Avobenzone.
- Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate-Dicaprate : It is an ester based on 1,3-butanediol and caprylic / capric fatty acids derived from coconut oil. It is a neutral, saturated and non-oxidizing oil used in hypoallergenic cosmetics as a non-sensitizing oil component. Due to its low potential for irritation and its excellent dispersibility, it is very suitable for products for sensitive skin areas (mascara, make-up remover, baby skin, etc.). Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate / Dicaprate has a very low viscosity and therefore spreads easily on the skin.
- Ethylhexyl Salicylate : Tested in Neutrogena’s Age Fighter anti-wrinkle cream as Octisalate.
- Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine : Also called Tinosorb S or Bemotrizinol, it is an organic compound that absorbs broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) light, which can absorb both UVB and UVA rays. It is one of the best sun protection agents known today. Unlike older sunscreen agents, it is very photostable. It hardly deteriorates in the presence of UV light and it is also useful to stabilize other less stable sun protection agents, such as the famous UVA protector, avobenzone. It is a slightly yellowish, oil soluble powder that does not absorb too much into the skin, and it has a great safety profile. Unlike other chemical sunscreens, it does not show estrogenic activity.
- Cetearyl Alcohol : Analyzed in the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye eye contour .
- Dibutyl Adipate : Dibutyl adipate is the diester of butyl alcohol and adipic acid. It works as a plasticizer, skin conditioning agent, and solvent in cosmetic formulations. Softens synthetic polymers reducing brittleness and cracking. It also acts as a lubricant on the surface of the skin, giving the skin a smooth, smooth appearance, and as a solvent that is used to dissolve other substances.
- Ethylhexyl Triazone : Also known as Octyl Triazone. It is an organic compound that absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light, in this case, the ingredient serves to protect the product from deterioration by absorbing, reflecting or scattering UV light. It is a derivative of PABA (Paraaminobenzoic Acid), not approved as an active ingredient in the United States, but used in very few cases to increase the effectiveness of some products. There are few studies on toxicological properties, but evidence indicates that it releases free radicals in sunlight.
- Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid : Analyzed in Nivea Men’s Active Age anti-wrinkle cream .
- Tapioca Starch : A natural thickener and texture enhancer derived from the root of the Manihot esculenta (Yucca) shrub. It consists primarily of amylose and amylopectin, both components of starch and what gives tapioca its thickening properties. In cosmetics, tapioca starch can also serve to stabilize emulsions, create gel textures, and aid in the delivery of key ingredients to the skin.
- Sodium Hyaluronate : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Glyceryl Stearate : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate : Analyzed in the Eagle Look eye contour from Natura Siberica .
- Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract : Tested in Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Cp + R Serum .
- Glycyrrhetinic Acid : Analyzed in the Bioderma Sensibio eye contour .
- Xanthan Gum : Analyzed in the anti-wrinkle cream Vita Lift 5 from L’Oreal Men Expert .
- Acrylates-C10-30-Alkyl-Acrylate-Crosspolymer : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Carbomer : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Trisodium EDTA : Tested in Clarins Men’s wrinkle cream as Disodium EDTA.
- Sodium Chloride : Analyzed in the Nexellence de Nuxe eye contour .
- Dimethicone : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Wrinkle Cream .
- Ethylhexylglycerin : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Phenoxyethanol : Tested in Clarins Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Sodium Hydroxide : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- BHT : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Perfume .
If you look at the first 6 ingredients, the cream is not very significant. basically emollients, sunscreens and an alcohol.
Among one of these filters is avobenzone, which although it does not appear to be toxic or irritating to the skin, being together with light stabilizers, has a greater risk of irritation and a low level of toxicity. It is safe in concentrations up to 3%, but in this formula it is quite high.
This is precisely where hyaluronic acid should be, which is relegated to the middle of the list, where the proportion is quite low.
Below we also find anti-inflammatory, soothing and antioxidant active ingredients, although they are in a very low proportion.
And that’s the only good thing about the cream, because at the bottom there are a couple of irritating ingredients, a silicone and the usual toxic preservative.
It could have been a very interesting cream if the hyaluronic acid was in a higher concentration, as in the case of Nezeni’s cream. Because of this, and because of the irritating and toxic ingredients, it wouldn’t be a cream for me.
Soothing and moisturizing care for sensitive skin Sensibio Light by BIODERMA
It is a cream that is good to calm and hydrate the most sensitive and intolerant skins. It has a ton of moisturizers and emollients, and a couple of soothing actives. Although I am not very funny about the PEG that it includes.
But it is not a cream that works if you want to combat the signs of aging, as it does not have any anti-wrinkle or anti-aging active ingredients.
Its role is very limited, although it does its job well. If you have sensitive skin and want something more, you would have to opt for a more complete cream, or use two products.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Soothing and moisturizing care for sensitive skin Sensibio Light by Bioderma, Analysis and Alternative .
Nivea Moisturizing Anti-Wrinkle Day Care Cream
Although it is one of the best-known cosmetic brands, in this cream Nivea deceives us. It says that its formulas do not include parabens, but when analyzing the INCI I have found one, I do not care what its concentration is.
This harmful ingredient, together with a toxic ingredient, and the large amount of preservatives it has, makes me reject the cream outright.
It’s a shame, because the cream had some interesting assets, such as shea butter, grape seed oil (antioxidant) and sunscreens, which come in handy in case one day we get confused and don’t put on sunscreen or as a reinforcement.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Nivea Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizing Day Care Cream, Analysis and Alternative.
Refreshing Botanical Moisturizer with Aloe Sap from Garnier
It may be formulated with 96% naturally derived ingredients, but that doesn’t mean those ingredients are good. In fact, in Garnier cream we find several irritants and sensitizers. And an ingredient with a low risk of toxicity.
Although it is a low risk, I do not plan to expose myself to it, and I prefer to avoid the cream.
In addition, the first ingredients on the list do not provide us with anything other than emolliency, and the active ingredients (aloe vera and vitamin E) are in a low proportion to notice their benefits.
It may be a very cheap cream, but little more than hydration and irritation will bring us the Garnier option. It is preferable to spend a little more and obtain a product of more quality and efficiency.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Refreshing Botanical Moisturizer with Aloe Sap from Garnier, Analysis and Alternative.
Sesgen 32 facial cream by Sesderma
That it is a pharmacy cream does not mean that it is good, with quality ingredients. In this case, it is the opposite.
Besides having the problem of many creams, not having the active ingredients at the top (with the highest proportions); It has too many unsavory ingredients, both at the top of the list, and at the bottom.
Not just silicones, PEGs, or alcohols, but also various irritants, harmful ingredients, and parabens. You already know how dangerous parabens are, but there are still brands that insist on including them in their formulas.
I can only give you one advice, stay away from parabens, and from this cream.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Sesgen 32 facial cream from Sesderma, Analysis and Alternative.
Day care Revitalift Laser X3 SPF 20 De L’Oreal
Although it is one of the best-selling and most used creams, it is not by far the best facial cream. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the worst.
The multinational continues to use silicones, parabens, alcohols, preservatives, PEGs, irritating and toxic ingredients in its formulations, at the expense of consumer health.
Although it has a couple of anti-wrinkle actives that work, and at first you see good results, the rest of the ingredients are not only not effective, but they can be fatal for our skin.
It is up to you to risk or not. It’s clear to me, there are more options, and I don’t want to put my health at stake.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Revitalift Laser X3 SPF 20 De L’Oreal Day Care, Analysis and Alternative.
Xhekpon cream facial care from Vectem sa
Although at the time it was said that it was the best kept secret behind Isabel Presley’s perfect complexion, the truth is that it is a rather bad cream.
It has poor quality ingredients, which can do us more harm than good, including irritants, sensitizers, comedogenic, toxic, silicones and even parabens.
The active ingredients it includes serve to help increase collagen synthesis, but they are in very low concentrations, above all the active ingredients of Centella Asiatica.
It is a very cheap cream, but it really does not do us any good, not even as a simple moisturizer.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Xhekpon cream facial care from Vectem sa, Analysis and Alternative.
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Rehydrating Cream
Vichy has managed to formulate a moisturizer without toxic ingredients, silicones, parabens or PEGs, however, it does include an alcohol and a couple of irritating ingredients, one of them in a fairly high proportion.
Assets are not abundant either. It has shea butter and hyaluronic acid, but the latter is way too low in the formula.
The cream, therefore, is not to rave about. It hydrates somewhat, but mainly due to the emollients and conditioners present. And of course, there is no wrinkle filler benefit from hyaluronic acid.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Rehydrating Cream, Analysis and Alternative.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar DUO + anti-blemish treatment and brands
La Roche-Posay succeeds in creating a treatment for oily or acne-prone skin that really works. For this, it has good active ingredients, which manage to reduce the dark spots caused by acne marks, absorb excess oil, regulate the production of oil, eliminate the bacteria that cause acne, exfoliate and soothe red and inflamed skin.
I would only remove two things from the formula, the silicone and the irritating ingredient, but it is otherwise well balanced.
Perhaps it can fall short of anti-aging assets, in the case of oily skin that has passed thirty, and that needs more than to eliminate fat and bacteria, but it is a pretty good cream that I would recommend.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Effaclar DUO + brand and anti-blemish treatment from La Roche-Posay, Analysis and Alternative.
Types of face creams
To have healthy skin, you don’t just have to keep it clean. The right face cream can make a big difference in skin health, but not all creams are created equal.
Some are best for dry or mature skin, while others work best for oily, acne-prone skin. Others are designed to help all skin types.
We are going to know what types of face creams there are to be able to choose correctly.
Moisturizers are designed to keep skin hydrated by restoring water to the upper layers of the dermis.
By maintaining the skin’s hydration levels, the moisturizer helps prevent the appearance of cracking, tightness and peeling on the face. Because it deeply hydrates, it can benefit all skin types.
Go for an oil-free, water-based face cream if you have oily skin. Normal, dry skin needs an oil-based moisturizer for more intense hydration.
Anti-aging or Anti-wrinkle
Anti-aging creams help fight the visible signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots.
They also have moisturizing properties, and include ingredients that soften and brighten the skin for a more youthful appearance.
There are anti-aging creams that not only focus on minimizing already formed wrinkles, but also have assets that prevent the formation of new wrinkles. A great success!
Oily or acne-prone skin should use a specific product to treat these signs. This skin does not occur only in adolescents and young people, there are many adults who continue to have problems of excess oil, shine and acne.
These specific treatments help reduce acne breakouts, eliminating the bacteria that cause them. In addition, they can also help reduce inflammation and redness that acne causes.
Most exfoliate the skin and cleanse the inside of the pores to prevent clogging and acne from forming.
Sunscreen is probably the most important facial cream you should use. Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
And most importantly, it also helps prevent skin cancer.
For effective protection, use a sunscreen with a factor of 30 or higher, and with broad spectrum protection to protect you from UVA and UVB rays.
Use sunscreen all year round, even in winter. Look for moisturizers with SPF so you can hydrate and protect your skin in one step.
How to choose the best face cream?
To choose the best facial cream, it is necessary to know what type of skin we have, and what are the problems that we must attack. Once we have this clear, we can focus on whether we want a day or night cream, or on the ingredients that the formula should include, and those that it should not.
Choose your cream according to your skin type
The most important thing is to choose a cream that feels nice and comfortable when applied. If it’s not suitable for your skin type, it will generally leave you feeling dry or uncomfortable, or worse, itchy or stinging, after applying it.
For those whose skin is particularly dry or with eczema, simply applying a little moisturizer a few times a day is not enough.
Emollient ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, or coconut oil will help minimize redness and flaking, while soothing agents can help soothe irritated skin.
And for really dry skin, look for urea, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, or mineral oil on the ingredient label.
Truly sensitive skin has weakened immune function, as do people with eczema and psoriasis. This means that they are more easily irritated by certain ingredients and fragrances (even natural ingredients) in the cream.
Therefore, face creams designed for sensitive skin must have mild and hypoallergenic ingredients, which have not reported any case of irritation or other adverse reactions.
Most of these formulations do not contain fragrances or plant extracts, as they are common triggers for sensitive skin. Some also do not contain sunscreen, or anti-aging ingredients, such as retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), as they can irritate sensitive complexions.
If your skin is neither too oily nor too dry, you have a normal type, and you are the envy of people with other skin types.
In this case you need a light cream that hydrates you, and with active treatment in case you want to minimize the signs of aging.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, oily or acne-prone skin needs hydration, because oil and hydration are two different things.
A suitable face cream can even help repair the damage caused by excessive drying that many people with oily skin suffer. As a general rule, look for light creams, avoiding oils (like coconut oil) to minimize the feeling of “heaviness” and greasy shine.
Go for oil-free moisturizers that have hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and most of all, that are non-comedogenic, which means they don’t clog your pores.
Other beneficial ingredients for people prone to blemishes are alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA), which are especially helpful in exfoliating the skin and cleaning pores.
Day or night cream?
The facial day creams help form a barrier to protect skin from the elements and environmental damage, at the same time improving the natural ability of skin hydration.
The best day creams continue to work throughout the day, instead of only working at the time of application; Ideally, they include sunscreen to further protect the skin from damage.
The biggest difference between day creams and night creams is that the latter never contain sunscreen. Therefore, they can be a good option for daily use if your skin does not get along with the usual sunscreen ingredients.
The night creams often have a thicker consistency that day, which provides a moisturizing treatment that lasts all night, leaving the skin fresh and moisturized in the morning.
However, that amount of moisture can also change the color or texture of makeup if you apply a night cream as a facial moisturizer during the day.
Adjust your cream with the weather
Don’t be surprised that what worked well for you in the summer does not work in the winter. This is because the weather influences our skin and changes our needs.
Generally, in hot climates you need more fluid and light creams, and in winter something heavier that retains more moisture on the skin. To help dry skin in dry environments or climates, help yourself to a humidifier in the rooms, and of course, hydrate it intensely every day.
How and when to use a face cream?
If you are not sure how to apply a face cream the right way, here is how to do it.
No matter what time of day you apply the face cream, you need to wash your face first . This removes sweat, dirt, makeup, etc. This will allow the cream to penetrate your pores and work its magic.
Always apply face cream to damp (but not wet) skin . If you wait for your face to dry completely, it won’t work. Creams are better able to retain moisture when applied to damp skin.
After the cleanser is rinsed off, pat yourself dry so you don’t completely remove the moisture.
The best way to apply a face cream is to use small amounts . Using more product does not always translate to more benefits. By using the right amount, the face is able to better absorb the cream, and it does not leave a sticky feeling.
Apply small dots of cream to each area of the face and then spread it evenly. This way you can spread the cream more evenly.
As for when to apply the cream, the ideal is to prepare your skin in the morning , before going out. Cream should be the last step in your skincare routine before sunscreen and makeup .
And it is also advisable to use a cream at the end of the day, before sleeping, so that you can work at night . In this case, the cream should be the last step, since it is not necessary to apply the sunscreen.
In each cream the application recommendation is specified, since there are creams that are specific for the night, or for the day, while others can be used interchangeably.
Start using a face cream as soon as possible. Moisturizers are recommended at any age, acne treatment can help you in that difficult time when hormones are more churning, and anti-aging creams use them before you start to notice the signs of aging.
Sunscreen is also a must at any age, so don’t forget it.
How to read an ingredient list (INCI)
To find out what ingredients are in a cream, do not look at the front of the label, which can often be misleading, and go directly to the INCI or ingredient list, which is usually located on the back of the box or container.
Pay particular attention to the first five ingredients , which are the ones that are found in the highest proportion . Brands should list their ingredients in order from highest to lowest concentration, and generally, the top 5 make up about 80 percent of the formula.
I’m less concerned with what’s on the list after that, with the exception of fragrance or perfume, which I don’t like to see in skincare at all.
It is true that the ingredient list (or INCI) is quite confusing. You will find ingredients with a very strange name, which you have never seen or heard of.
If you want to know what ingredient it is and what it does, it is best to look it up on the Internet. There are several databases of cosmetic ingredients, although most are in English.
EWG Skin Deep Database, CosDNA, Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary, and Cosmetic Ingredients are good reference sites. If you don’t know English, use a translator, I know this takes a lot of work, but you will make sure that the cosmetic you choose is good for your skin and health.
But what exactly should you look for and what should you avoid?
Good and bad ingredients to look for and avoid in a cream
Let’s start with the beneficial ingredients, the ones that we would like to be in all face creams.
Not only found in orange juice for breakfast, topical vitamin C is a super potent antioxidant that fights the harmful effects of UV rays and enhances the effectiveness of sunscreen when placed underneath.
It is a temperamental ingredient that can be difficult to stabilize. For this reason, it is advisable to use derivatives of vitamin C, as well as formulas that do not contain water and are packaged in a way that protects it from excess light and air.
Ideally, it should have at least a 3% concentration, which translates into its presence at the top of the list.
It is often used in conjunction with other antioxidants, especially vitamin C, as vitamin E is the workhorse of the formulation, due to its ability to help stabilize typically unstable vitamin C formulas.
Vitamin E is naturally found in human skin, but it is easily depleted due to UV exposure and other environmental factors, so adding an extra dose of vitamin E will give you additional protection.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most recognized anti-aging active ingredients, due to its ability to plump and smooth the skin . Unlike other skin care ingredients, hyaluronic acid is present in the human body.
However, it naturally depletes as we age, which is why beauty product manufacturers have started adding it to cosmetics.
Hyaluronic Acid is a moisturizer that draws water to the outer layers from deep within the skin. In fact, it is said to support up to 1,000 times its weight in water. As a result, it makes the skin look smoother and smoother.
Peptides are like messengers between skin cells. Due to their communicative nature, peptides can help regulate hormonal activity, activate or deactivate immune responses, and promote wound healing.
When applied topically, there is evidence that peptides can relax wrinkles, increase collagen production, and stop collagen breakdown, thus keeping your skin looking younger for longer.
So they would be a great addition to your face cream if you want to fight aging. The most studied and reputed peptide is acetyl hexapeptide-8, also known as Argireline.
Oils are also very present in face creams, especially moisturizers. Look for saturated oils, with a chemical composition that makes them extremely stable and resistant to free radical attack . This is why they have a longer shelf life and don’t easily ran out.
Monounsaturated oils are the second best option, as they are quite stable as well. The worst options are polyunsaturated oils, which contain multiple double bonds, which means they will quickly go rancid and cause oxidative damage to the skin.
This happens even if the formula contains an antioxidant such as vitamin E, since its half-life is much shorter (a matter of days or hours).
Look for ingredients like squalene, coconut oil, caprylic / capric triglycerides, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or macadamia oil.
If you don’t know if an oil is saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, just Google “[oil name] fatty acid profile” and you can find it.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)
Alpha hydroxy acids remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, acting as an exfoliator. The acid also smoothes wrinkles, strengthens the skin and cleanses the pores, while balancing the pH level of the skin.
The most common alpha hydroxy acids include salicylic and glycolic acids.
Inflammation, whether from environmental aggressions such as pollution, stress, or a poor diet, is the cause of most skin conditions.
Fortunately, niacinamide can reduce many of its consequences. Due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this derivative of vitamin B3, it is recommended to apply topical products based on niacinamide to treat acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation.
Sunscreen is important to protect your skin from sun damage, and it is certainly very convenient that our cream contains sunscreen.
But most SPF face creams contain chemical sunscreen filters that should be avoided.
Why? Many of them cause health problems, such as endocrine disruption, cell damage and aging, or irritation (oxybenzone and avobenzone are more likely to trigger contact dermatitis, rashes, and irritation).
Instead of chemical filters, look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are safe ingredients.
Fragrances or perfumes
It is just as important to recognize which ingredients should be on the list as it is to know which ones should not be.
Fragrances or perfumes are the number one cause of skin irritations and allergic reactions to personal care products.
As they are not obliged to specify the composition of these fragrances, they very often use complex chemicals with irritating or allergic effects, such as unpleasant phthalates. And yet most face creams contain fragrances!
Locate the words fragrance, perfume or parfum in the INCI and avoid those products. Or be sure to find out what the composition of this perfume or fragrance is (that of Nezeni’s cream is specified on their website)
You also have to be careful with the “fragrance free” as this just means that it does not have a noticeable odor. The product may contain masking agents that are just as allergenic as fragrance chemicals. “No added fragrance” is the best bet.
As for essential oils, they are definitely safer than synthetic fragrances, and many people have no problems as long as they are diluted. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid them.
Another product to avoid is alcohol. Keep in mind that not all types of alcohol are really bad, as fatty alcohols are beneficial.
The harmful types of alcohol are: denat alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol. These ingredients should not be present at the top of the list.
If they are at the end, it is very likely that they are very low concentration, and it is not too much of a concern, as long as of course the product also contains beneficial ingredients.
Silicones are synthetic polymers found in the vast majority of face creams, they are inexpensive, give products a velvety texture, and instantly smooth the surface of the skin.
But they only give the illusion of hydrated skin , forming a film on it. As artificial occlusives, they don’t actually provide hydration, moisture, or any other benefits!
By trapping oil, dead skin, and debris in pores, silicones can also exacerbate acne, dehydrate skin, and even delay cell renewal.
I suggest you look for products that do not contain silicones, or at least do not contain silicones in the first five or ten ingredients.
The most common names for silicones include dimethicone, trimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and dimethiconol. A good rule of thumb is to look for any word that ends in -cone, -siloxane, or -conol.
Preservatives are one of the most controversial ingredients, because if the formula contains water, you need a preservation system. Otherwise, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Also, this can decrease the effectiveness of the product and trigger irritations and infections.
So preservatives are necessary, but you need to avoid certain types of preservatives , like parabens and formaldehyde releasers.
The best alternatives include: witch hazel, potassium sorbate, essential oils (rosemary, neem, tea tree), vegetable preservatives (Gluconolactone, ethylhexyglycerin, triiostearyl citrate), or non-toxic synthetic preservatives, such as dehydroacetic acid.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.