5 Simple Tips to Help You Decipher Your Skincare Ingredients Label

As a generation of “skintellectuals”, we know our hyaluronic acids from our niacinamides. But ask most of us skincare know-it-alls exactly what our ingredients labels actually mean and we might fall at the first hurdle. Here, Vogue enlists the help of biochemist and cosmetic scientist Nausheen Qureshi to offer you a foolproof guide.

Where is the ingredient label? 

The ingredients or International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI) list can’t always be found on the product itself. Sometimes it is hidden beneath peel-back stickers and often it can be found on the outer boxing the product came in.

What order do ingredients come in?

Under regulation, all ingredients are listed in descending order, from the most concentrated, until you get to those at percentages below one per cent. At that point, they can be listed in whatever order the skincare brand wants,” says Qureshi. It is tricky for consumers not only to know the strength of each ingredient, but also to know where the one per cent mark lies.

How to understand ingredient names

The substances within the formula are listed by their chemical or biological names. “For example, a rose’s biological name is Rosa damascena, but there are other types of rose, such as the root or leaf, that are defined by different nomenclature,” says Qureshi. The INCI list highlights which part is used. While it can be tough to know exactly what each ingredient is, a quick Google or peruse on the EU’s CosIng database should reveal all.

Common ingredients to know

While formulas and their ingredients vary, there are a few familiar words to acquaint yourself with. Expect to see “aqua” or water as one of the first ingredients on many INCI lists, as well as glycols, which are good “solubilising ingredients that a lot of people are scared of because they sound like harsh chemicals,” says Qureshi. Don’t jump to conclusions when seeing confusing chemical names, as many of these ingredients are kind to skin, include crucial preservatives – which maintain the stability of the formula – and help other ingredients dissolve into the solution for a more effective product.

Learning the symbols

One of the most important symbols on the label is the period after opening (or PAO), a logo of a half-open tub containing a number followed by an M; for example, 24M means 24 months. “It’s an indication of how long you can expect the formula to last after opening it,” says Qureshi. “But don’t forget it could be shorter than that, depending on how long it was on the shelf (where the formula can still degrade) in the first place.” Other symbols include the Cosmos, which means the product has been certified to be genuinely organic or natural, and the recycling symbol, which shows it’s suitable for the recycling bin.

VOGUE

One Tube of This Mascara with Nearly 300,000 Five-Star Reviews Sells Every 5 Seconds

Anyone with even a remotely passing interest in beauty knows of one fundamental truth: Not all mascaras are created equal. Some clump, some flake, some rub off almost as soon as you put them on. More often than not, formulas aren’t bad, per se — they’re simply serviceable and not anything to write home about. Of course, Thrive Causemetics’s Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara is not that mascara; this formula is something else altogether, and it has nearly 300,000 five-star reviews to prove it. 

Thrive’s high-performance formula promises lashes that won’t flake, clump, or smudge, and just as the name suggests, it gives your lashes the appearance of wearing falsies. Thrive credits this mascara’s performance to its Flake-Free Tubing Technology, a trademarked formula powered by orchid stem cells that encourages longer, healthier-looking lashes the more that you wear it. To apply, you start with the mascara wand at the base of your lashes, slowly grazing over your natural lashes as the brush grabs and defines every single one. The result is an incredible before-and-after (seriously, Google some), and lashes that look like you just had them done.

Buy It! Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extension Mascara, $24; thrivecausemetics.com

With results like this, it’s no wonder that Thrive’s award-winning mascara has so many five-star reviews — there are over 300,000 on Ipsy and Thrive’s website, combined. Shoppers love how dramatic the results are without going overboard and looking fake, and that it solves all the common problems they normally encounter with inferior formulas.

I’ve always had smudging of mascara on my lower lids (the raccoon eye problem) for every mascara,” one five-star reviewer wrote. “The Thrive mascara doesn’t smudge. It makes my lashes look long and thick, too. My new all time favorite mascara!

Hundreds of reviewers also love it because it doesn’t irritate sensitive or watery eyes, a frequent issue (particularly with high-performance mascaras that promise big results, as the fibers are larger and stiffer). 

I have extremely sensitive skin and eyes,” wrote one pleased reviewer. “So I’m careful about using most products. Thrive was recommended to me. This mascara is easy to apply and does what it promises. The wand has a tight seal as you pull it out which stops big globs of mascara from attaching to it. No waste and easier application. So far, so good.

Specifics aside, when you find the perfect mascara formula, sometimes it’s just about expressing your unbridled enthusiasm, like this reviewer who couldn’t help but use an exclamation point (or several) after almost every sentence.

Best mascara of all time!” they wrote. This mascara is a GOAT! I’m obsessed and won’t use anything else. I love the way it comes off! No more streaks and black stains under my eyes!!!! And the volume and length are insane!

If you’re ready for a lash upgrade that could inspire this level of excitement (and maybe even become your one and only), head to Thrive’s website and shop the Liquid Lash Extension mascara now. 

PEOPLE

Greenery

Model: Shiann Collins
Products:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
  • Catrice Goodbye Pores primer
  • Make Up For Ever ULTRA HD foundation & concealer
  • Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit
  • MAC Cosmetics blush in Coppertone, highlight in Doublegleam, BlackTrack liquid eyeliner, lip pencil in Boldly Bare & lipstick in Mull It Over
  • Artist Couture Supreme Nudes eyeshadow palette
  • Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil and Gimme Brow setting gel.

(Disclaimer: I do have Shiann’s consent to post the images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)

One Thing Is For Sure: Gigi Hadid Gives Good Eyeliner

There is eyeliner and then there is eyeliner: Gigi Hadid’s recent look falls firmly into the latter camp. Expertly demonstrating how to make a floating graphic eyeliner look really good, the model and her make-up artist, Carolina Gonzalez, swapped its traditional placement on the lash line for the brow bone instead.

Reminiscent of the white eyeliner look Hadid showed off in February 2020 during Paris Fashion Week, the green line sat mid-way between the top of her eyelid and her full, brushed-up brows. Who knew that a single line could so expertly frame her jade green eyes?

The trick to pulling off a look like this? The majority of it is confidence. Hadid is never afraid to experiment with her make-up; her looks have included pops of neon yellow and dramatic blue winged eyeshadow, to name a couple. 

Other than that, you need a steady hand (this line needs to be straight) and an eyeliner that stays put. Charlotte Tilbury’s Eye Colour Magic Liner Duo in Green Lights offers two shades of green in one pencil and glides on, while Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil won’t budge for love nor money. Prefer a liquid liner? Look no further than Dior’s Felt Tip Eyeliners, which come in an array of hues from green to pink and the longer, fine tip makes it easy to achieve a ruler-straight line.

VOGUE

7 Ways To Get That Health Guru Glow, According To The ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ Make-up Artist

If you are currently watching Amazon Prime’s Nine Perfect Strangers, you’ll be familiar with the mystery that is Masha Dmitrichenko. Played by Nicole Kidman, Masha is the enigmatic founder of boutique health and wellness resort, Tranquillum House.

Not much is known about Masha, apart from the fact that she has perfect hair, flawless skin and seems to glow from within. It’s the same for all of the staff working at Tranquillum. In fact, as the series unfolds, and many secrets are uncovered, most of the guests staying at the resort also seem to acquire that knowing wellness glow. Maybe it’s from those smoothies they drink, or from spending all that time outdoors. Or, perhaps, it’s the glow of enlightenment as they unburden themselves of their past traumas. On second thoughts, it’s probably the psilocybin that Masha has been secretly lacing their drinks with.

Though morally dubious, it seems to have done the job; the guests look and feel great. Unfortunately, magic mushrooms are illegal. The good news? You can recreate the Tranquillum glow at home – and without having to resort to Class A drugs. Below, Nine Perfect Strangers’s leading hair and make-up artist, Nikki Gooley, shows how.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #73 series on my blog.

Less is more

My whole make-up premise is less is more. I always love the way people at day spas and beauty salons have an impeccable glow. I wanted Nicole (Kidman) and the others to look almost soothing, peaceful, healthy, and radiant, while, at the same time, having a no-fuss feel.

A good moisturiser is key

More often than not we used moisturizer or sunscreen mixed with a little foundation just to even the tone. I was mixing foundations like Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF15 with Eminence Bamboo Firming Moisturiser, for a sheer glow.”

Blend in some darker tones

The guests had their healthy make-up moment as their healing started to kick in, so I had their skin tones slightly tanned by mixing a darker foundation with moisturizer or tinted sunscreen. We used MAC Studio Face and Body Radiant Sheer Foundation to give a smooth effect, which we blended in with a touch of golden bronze, either Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector or Nars Laguna, which we subtly buffed across their brow bones, nose, cheeks, and chin, as if they had caught some sun.”

Liven the skin with spray sunscreen

Top it all off with some spray tan or spray sunscreen to give the skin a beautiful sheen. We used Eco By Sonya Face Tan Water and NIVEA Sun Protect & Moisture Suncream Spray.”

Give your cheeks a healthy flush

Give your cheeks a healthy glow with the RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek Tint. Apply this with fingers and buff onto the apples of your cheeks. You can also add it up onto the brow bone and down the bridge of the nose for that sun-kissed look.”

Keep the lips fresh and dewy

Finger the lips with a touch of colour similar to that on the cheeks. We used RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek Tint again. And slap on some balm to give your lips that fresh dewiness. We used one by Mecca Cosmetica in Nude, and Chanel Les Beiges Lip Balm in Deep.”

Set the look

To set the look, tone, and hydrate the skin, use a nice spritz of Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Mist.

VOGUE

Kim Kardashian Called This Face Oil Her “Fave Product in the World” — and Megan Fox Is Also a Fan

There’s something of a Megan Fox renaissance happening right now, and I’M all for it. After a decade or so spent under-the-radar, these days Fox is frequently spotted out and about with boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly, looking just as effervescent as she did in 2004’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. And apparently, her secret is a skincare find equally beloved by Kim Kardashian.    

I put Epicuren rose oil on everything. It’s deeply hydrating and the scent is uplifting,” Fox said, according to the brand’s website. Celebrities like Alicia Keys, Amanda Seyfried, Kristen Davis, Alexandra Daddario, Hailey Bieber, and Jessica Simpson also pledge allegiance to the Epicuren, and in 2017, Kardashian gave it the ultimate compliment. “My two fave products in the world!” the mogul wrote of Epicuren Discovery’s Bulgarian Rose Otto and Kukui Coconut After Bath Moisturizer

Kardashian followed those with a recommendation for the $345 Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Anti-Aging Cream, which makes the $52 face oil a comparative bargain (everything is relative). One thing seemingly less subjective is the phenomenal results the Rose Otto oil provides, both for famous faces and regular shoppers. 

Shop now: $52; amazon.com

I love this product. I have VERY sensitive and reactive skin and this is soothing and calming,” writes one person. “It was recommended to me by an esthetician who has rosacea and uses it. For me, it’s been a godsend. I’ve been using this for about a year and a half, and my skin looks and feels great.” 

Others with dry and reactive skin say it’s the only product that’s been able to help, leaving skin soft and smooth on contact; similarly, those with acne-prone skin write that it’s the only oil they’ve found that works on fine lines without causing breakouts. Still more report the rich, fast-absorbing oil evens out their skin tone, garnering it praise like “miraculous product” and “absolute necessity.” 

As you can probably tell from the name, rose is the oil’s focal point, but a bevvy of boosters join it in the formula: Apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, meadowfoam seed oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba seed oil, two types of rose oil, jasmine oil, and sandalwood oil get in the mix, as does Damask rose flower extract. Women in their 40s call rose oil alone a “facelift in a bottle,” since it’s rich in moisturizing essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin A, which retinol’s derived from. 

Jojoba oil is just as revered by dermatologists and skincare lovers, since the velvety oil guarantees instantaneous softening and pore-unclogging results. Pair that with avocado oil, which is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E, and grapeseed oil, which is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant-loaded, and you have quite the product.     

But looking at how Fox glows even in paparazzi photos, and you could probably guess her skincare doesn’t slack off. Intrigued? Try the Bulgarian Rose Otto oil for yourself, and scroll on for other celebs’ favorites from the brand.   

Alicia Keys and Alexandra Daddario’s favorite sunscreen:

Shop now: $43; amazon.com

Kim Kardashian and Hailey Bieber’s favorite lotion: 

Shop now: $40; amazon.com

Amanda Seyfried’s favorite moisturizer:

Shop now: $53; amazon.com

Jessica Simpson’s favorite cleanser:

Shop now: $74; amazon.com

INSTYLE

How to Properly Clean and Dry Your Makeup Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes isn’t the most enjoyable thing to do, but it is rather important. Over time, the bristles can become a breeding ground for bacteria that could lead to breakouts.

That’s why it’s crucial to clean the tools at least two times a month — but those who use their brushes more than the average person may need to squeeze in even more washes. And it’s also good to note that if the fibers feel stiff, you’re overdue for a scrubbing.

Stop pushing the task to the bottom of your to do list, and get squeaky clean brushes by following the guide below.

How Often Should You Wash Your Makeup Brushes?

The amount you should wash your brushes can totally depend on the frequency at which you use them. Founder and CEO of ANISA BeautyAnisa Telwar Kaicker suggests giving your brushes a deep cleaning bi-weekly or once a month, depending on how often you use your brushes.

For a deep clean, use a makeup brush cleanser, like the Anisa The Wash cleanser ($12; anisa.com) or grab a gentle cleanser that won’t disrupt the fibers of your brush, whether they’re made from synthetic or natural materials. Many beauty bloggers swear by classic anti-bacterial dish liquid.

While you don’t need to deep clean your brushes every week, Kaicker does recommend a quick, “dry clean” using a product that doesn’t require water, like the Sephora Collection Daily Brush Cleaner ($15; sephora.com). “It gets rid of surface oil and dirt for everyday use with no downtime,” she tells us.

How To Wash Your Makeup Brushes

We all dread the process of actually washing our brushes, which is why most of us put off doing it anyways. But avoiding deep brush cleanings will just create more problems for you (like breakouts and stiff brushes). So here is an efficient brush cleaning process that’s as easy as 1-2-3. Follow these steps for a streamlined, hassle free, and quick washing process.

1. Wet Your Makeup Brushes

Saturate each bristle with lukewarm water. It doesn’t matter if the brush is made of synthetic or natural fibers, be sure to concentrate the running water on the tips as to avoid contact with the glue that holds the bristles in place. Over time, the constant contact can weaken the adhesive and result in unwanted shedding.

2. Swirl Your Wet Makeup Brushes

Either on a clean towel or a silicone cleaning pad ($15; anisa.com), swoosh the wet brush in a circular motion into a cleanser of your choice. All you have to do is rinse the brush and repeat until the water runs clear. If you have gunks of product build-up, you’ll want to reach for a solution made specifically to remove makeup. Cinema Secrets makes a time-saving Makeup Brush Cleaner ($24; sephora.com) that doesn’t require rinsing. 

3. Dry Your Makeup Brushes

You can also use a silicone cleaning pad after rinsing the brush to remove excess water. After removing excess water, gently reshape the brushes. Then, instead of letting brushes dry standing up or laying flat, hang them upside down for at least four hours. Gravity will help all of the moisture to properly evaporate, and preserve the shape of the bristles. The Dry’N Shape Tower by Sigma Beauty ($59; amazon.com) can dry and shape 48 of your eye brushes at once.

INSTYLE

The 5 Secrets To “No Make-Up” Make-Up, According To Lisa Eldridge

There are beauty wonderlands and then there is celebrity make-up artist Lisa Eldridge’s House of Eldridge, a pop-up in London’s Covent Garden, which takes the definition to new heights. With a lipstick lounge, bedecked in rich velvet fabrics (and a lip-shaped sofa – one for the Pinterest interiors board); a selection of her personal collection of vintage make-up, including thousand-year-old compacts and blushers from the 1920s; all of her eponymous make-up line available to try (along with expert colour matching); her beautiful jewellery collection; and soon, professional talks on all manner of subjects – there is something for everyone in the beauty dream world she has created.

It’s something a bit different from a normal beauty stand in a department store,” she tells Vogue over Zoom. “It’s not merchandised, just an insight into my world. There are over a thousand pieces from my vintage make-up collection, some of which I am selling, and areas with different themes. Plus there is a replica of my studio in the back – it’s exactly like people may have seen on Instagram where I used to film my YouTube videos.

One of Eldridge’s calling cards is effortless, fresh make-up that is so imperceptible, no one would ever know her clients are wearing it. She works with everyone from Dua Lipa and Alexa Chung, to Winnie Harlow and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on their luminous complexions, and is equally glowy-skinned herself. So what are her tips on how we can emulate the look at home?

1. Prep is important

One of her top tips is to start with your skincare routine. “Making sure that your skin is well hydrated and moisturized is important,” she says. “Without that, you can’t get the products to behave the way you want them to.”

2. Work with your real skin

For a no make-up make-up effect, Eldridge advises applying your foundation only in the areas it’s needed – generally in the centre of the face. “For me, it’s around my nose, mouth and chin area and a little bit on the forehead,” she says, name-checking her new Foundation as a great product to try. “It’s not a tinted moisturizer or a full coverage formula, but something in the middle that you can sheer out if you want to. It self sets, so you don’t need to powder on top of it. I really like it because it doesn’t feel like you’ve got any make-up on, but it’s still got good coverage.” She applies with her fingers or a flat brush.

3. Don’t be afraid to mix formulas up

If you’re struggling to achieve the right (lightweight) consistency in your base product, Eldridge suggests adding some moisturizer into it. This trick also helps reduce that cakey finish when certain foundations cling to dry or flaky skin.

4. Highlight

A new wave of highlighters nourish the skin while imparting the ultimate dewy sheen for a look that says “healthy”, rather than overdone. “I always use a highlighter on the high points of the cheeks – a subtle one, that doesn’t have any glitter in it – and I apply it on the nose, in the corners of eyes, and on top of the lip to create a dewy look.

5. Create an outdoorsy flush

A make-up artist essential, cream blush is the best route to go down for a natural flush. Eldridge swears by her own Enlivening Blush – in the shade Pink Soap – which she applies with fingers, building up thin layers to create the right texture and finish.

VOGUE

A Bronze Moment

🧡 Model: Yours truly, @ks.am 
Products:
– Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
– Catrice Goodbye Pores primer
– Make Up For Ever ULTRA HD foundation & concealer
– Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder
– Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit
– MAC Cosmetics blush in Coppertone, highlight in Doublegleam, BlackTrack liquid eyeliner, lip pencil in Oak & lipstick in Whirl
– Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette
– Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil and Gimme Brow setting gel.

🧡 Follow me on TikTok at ks.am14

Skin Icing Is The Latest Skincare Secret That Promises The Ultimate Glow

Skin icing – or facial cryotherapy – is one of the latest skincare trends flooding Instagram Reels and TikTok – and for good reason. Quite apart from the mesmerizing effect of watching celebrities and facialists massage ice globes onto their faces, the action of skin icing tightens and contracts the skin, leaving it sculpted and plump with an outdoorsy glow. A case in point is Irina Shayk, whose morning skincare routine comprises an ice tool by Nicole Caroline to wake up her face: “Trust me, it works!” she says in the IGTV for British Vogue.

The idea of applying ice or using a cryotherapy tool in a professional facial treatment isn’t new but the recent innovation of ice-based tools has meant it’s now easier than ever to give yourself an at-home skin icing treatment, without the unglamorous and frankly annoying downsides of melting ice cubes dripping on to your clothes. Whether you want to de-puff skin or get the blood circulating for a post-walk-in-the-cold glow, skin icing is your ticket to see results. Throw in the immediate lifting effect and the added benefit of lymphatic drainage and it becomes an even more exciting prospect. 

Watch any YouTube tutorial and you’ll see before and after shots of icing: skin is glowing, pores are a thing of the past and, most noticeably, the face is lifted. Facialist Teresa Tarmey has been using cryotherapy in her treatments for years because the “ice-lift effect instantly and dramatically lifts saggy and puffy skin, rejuvenating a dull complexion and sculpting the face.” Indeed, icing was proving so popular in her salon that Tarmey created her own cryo-ball so that her clients could continue the treatment at home. “I first intended for it to be used before big events or to save stressed or problematic skin, but it’s so effective, many people use it every morning to de-puff and de-stress skin. The results are seriously impactful,” she says.

The promise of an immediate glow, tightened pores and de-puffing on your skin is reason enough to start skin icing but if you don’t fancy using simple ice cubes, make space in your freezer for one of these cryo tools.

Teresa Tarmey Cryo-Ball

This surgical-grade steel ball contains fluids that stay freezing cold while you roll the ball over the architecture of the face, along the jawline, up the cheekbones and across the forehead for a lifting effect.

Fraîcheur Ice Globes

Satisfyingly chic, freeze these spherical ice globes overnight and use them to give morning skin a massage. From enhancing circulation to taking down redness and puffiness, consider it a worthy AM skin ritual.

Georgia Louise Cryo-Facial Freeze Tools

In lieu of facialist Georgia Louise’s own hands and high-tech in-clinic procedure, look no further than her Cryo Freeze Tools. Louise recommends first rolling from the inner areas of the face, outwards; then, covering the eyes with the tools for 10 seconds to de-puff. 

001 Skincare Cryopress

Counting the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Gigi Hadid as fans, this little tool maintains a temperature of between -8 and -25 degrees Celsius to get the job done – and efficiently. The brand also claim it helps more sensitive skins, like those that suffer with eczema and psoriasis, too. 

Foreo UFO 2

This nifty little tool has a number of settings, from LED light to heat therapy and, of course, a cryo function which helps to shrink pores, reduce puffiness and take down inflammation. It’s not the coldest, at five degrees Celsius, but it does the job well. 

Anne Semonin Express Radiance Ice Cubes

Specifically designed for the eye area, these skincare-infused ice cubes can fit in even the tiniest of freezers and make brightening tired eyes a total breeze.

VOGUE