Friday, 9 March 2012

Ingredients: To List or Not To List

This evening I was doing some research for a Clinic question and needed the ingredients for a Clinique product. Simples right? Just google it. 


10 websites later I found them - but not one retailer - including Clinique's own site - had them.

So that got me thinking. And looking. And looking. And in fairness to Clinique - low and behold they are not the only ones. 

I went through the following: Selfridges, Debenhams, House of Fraser, ASOS, John Lewis, Boots, Sephora and Harrods to name a few. Not one inci list among them - for any of their items on sale in beauty. Don't take my word for it. Go have a look.

Shockingly out of the so-called 'leading brands' I randomly googled - none of the following list their ingredients: Chanel, Lancome, Clarins, MAC, Estee Lauder, Rodial, Bobbi Brown and even Dermalogica. Not one inci list.

You know who DOES carry inci lists? Some online retailers and some brands. Not all - and certainly not enough.

And I'm talking about a FULL inci listing - not just 'key ingredients'. A key ingredient in a can of coke is water. Think that tells you the whole picture?

Is this acceptable? Is it just me? Maybe most people don't want to see what goes in to what they are buying? But I don't think so. I know I've had similar complaints from people on this site.

So - here below is the start of an Honours List of retailers that have full inci lists available on their sites.

Please feel free to add to it - I will add them to my 'Approved Retailers' List that is going up this weekend. And no I don't think that a huge retailer gives two turds whether or not they are on my list. But my readers do.  And my readers are your customers. So there.

In no particular order:

Victoria Health
Beauty Bay
Cult Beauty
SpaceNK (not all sku's - but the site looks new and I sense its being updated)

Please tell me there are more???

And brands (albeit random ones)....I didn't look at a lot of brands - I know there will be more - please feel free to add in comments and I'll update regularly. I have to say some brand sites are incredible - and some are beyond pathetic.

These are great:

Liz Earle
Kate Somerville
Bare Minerals
Serge Normant
Hampton Sun
La Roche Posay
Dr Hauschka
The Organic Pharmacy

What do you think? Am I overreacting??

*If any retailers I've mentioned DO actually provide inci and I've missed it I will of course rectify. Just let me know.
*I have no affiliated links with any retailers. I will not profit financially from any list.


  1. Well on a personal level I'm not OVERLY concerned, but I do try to avoid Silicones and have come across this problem myself when writing up blog posts or researching products I would like to try. For me personally, I'm lucky, I can, and frequently do, end up emailing the PR's to ask because I've been unable to find the answer for myself. Mostly that gets me an answer but I can think of two occasions where a brand has been unable to establish the answer for me!

    But for anyone who doesn't have the luxury of contacts in the industry its not good at all. That said, I personally can't think of one person I know (who isn't a blogger) in real life who cares one hoot about ingredients but I do live in an area where socially, its low prices that count more than ingredients so priorities are different.

    1. I know what you mean Charlie - my friends and family aren't overly concerned - unless they have an allergy - which is a concern for me - why go to the bother of ordering something for it to arrive and you can't use it.. Thx for commenting.

    2. I'm not a blogger and I care. And because I care some of my friends have started caring too. Butterfly effect and all that (:

  2. I find it a bit annoying as I like to look up products before buying and see the full picture, especially as my skin is temperamental. The other day I was scouring the web for the list for the Emma Hardie cleansing foam but in the end just went to Space NK and had a look on the box.

    Lovelula, Naturisimo, Content Beauty and Paula's Choice are some more sites that list ingredients.

    1. Perfect - I'll check them out! Thanks

  3. I think Zuneta does publish the list of ingredients? Not entirely sure but I remember checking them out on all the products I've ordered! :)

  4. I think that legally they have to list all the ingredients in Australia 'at point of sale', so it has to be on the container or packaging, but not necessarily on the website. Of course, in Australia everything is ridonk expensive so many of us buy online from overseas, which means we're not getting the full picture either.

    1. The EU and USA have to list everything on the pack also - but obv not online - shocking really!

  5. I find this really annoying too. La Prairie is one of the worst offenders - their ingredients lists are not to be found anywhere. Darphin and Decleor rarely have any details available either. The new trend for listing 'key ingredients' or 'active ingredients' as a means of getting around the issue exasperates me.

    I find Zuneta very good for listing ingredients. I also find that DermStore and SkincareRx provide lists of product ingredients that can't be found anywhere else.

    1. Key ingredients really gets on my nerves too!

      I couldn't see inci listed on Zuneta - will def go back and give them second try though - and will look at the others - thanks!

  6. I've been looking at ingredients over the last year. I know I am getting older, but even someone with perfect vision thats young can have problems with the way ingredients are listed on some packages.. the print is very small & often in a colour thats difficult to see, or across a background that makes it difficult.. Now there can be all sort of reasons why someone wants to know whats contained within a product.. It might be you only want to buy because your wanting a cream with a certain ingredient.. or that you need to avoid a certain ingredient.. We are all getting more savvy about what we eat, and what goes on us.. So its about time these companies are happy to say. Unless they of course have something to hide???

  7. Murad, Eucerin, Bioderma, Ellis Faas, Becca are few of the websites that also have the ingredients listed but I definitely agree with you and think every brand should have the ingredients of their products listed online. It would have been much easier for us consumers - I often don't have the time to go through whole lists of ingredients while checking the product instore and also, I don't really know every ingredient there is and its potential effect, good or bad, on the skin, by heart.

    1. Thanks for those - will check them out!

  8. Check out the website mypure. Everything they sell is guaranteed to be free of well known irritants and they list all ingredients for everything they sell in full. I get most products from there and at 41yrs have the best skin I've ever had.

  9. I agree that all ingredients should be listed on all sites. I was interested in buying the Gen 6 serum from Clarins after seeing it mentioned in your allocation post and did some further research and saw rave reviews for it on makeupalley, but one of the members mentioned that mineral oil was a key ingredient. I looked on several sites to confirm this - Clarins official site, JL, Beauty Expert, etc and not one of them listed the ingredients. Very frustrating, and have found this thr case for lots of other brands as well. As someone else said above, it feels as if they have something to hide.


  10. I forgot to mention: Jurlique publish a full list of ingredients on their site as well.


  11. You know this annoys me NO END. I have always read the ingredients before buying anything, before I ever blogged. If I can't find out what's in it, it doesn't go near my face. I've had too many disasters after using something heavy in mineral oil. If people don't care what they are putting on their face, they should do. Rant. Over.

    I like Being Content (already mentioned) and Mise Beauty, both have full ingredients lists.

  12. NUDE Skincare has a 'read the label' tag at the bottom of each of its product description which, if you click on it, expands to give a full ingredients listing.

    Sephora (USA site) has a 'more about this product' tab at the bottom of the product listing and that showing 'active' ingredients and 'all ingredients' - but interestingly not for all brands on the site (e.g. Clinique), which might suggest that it's the invidual brands that decide the level of disclosure, not Sephora.

    I hate it when brands make a big deal about such and such product containing a particular ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid, wild harvested french marine seaweed or whatever, and then when you scan the list of ingredients it's 2nd from last on a very long list, so the amount of said ingredient is so tiny as to be insignificant. I always look to see which ingredients are listed first.

  13. I don't think you're overreacting at all. It was great to read this post. You can tell so much about a product (and the brand behind it) from looking at the ingredients. I'm a passionate campaigner for the use of natural and organic products but they're difficult terms because there are few standards out there dictating what 'natural' or 'organic' really mean. The only way you can be sure is to read the ingredients list and decide for yourself. Being cagey about publishing ingredients lists also allows brands to get away with greenwash (fake 'naturalness') or out-and-out misdirection. Like brands who jump on wonder ingredients band wagons (argan oil, hyaluronic acid). The ingredients lists reveal that there's so little of the product in there, any efficacy claims they might be making are all but lies. To add to your list, some good sites who publish ingredients info are:,,,,, and


  14. That is a superb post ! well done! thanks for sharing it to your readers.
    I think a quality of a product is down to its composition, simple as that. Great and high quality ingredients make great products.

    I often review products and I make sure to include a detailed explanation of the product composition to raise a bit awareness.

    Have a nice day! x

  15. Hi there. Very interesting post. I'm a tiny producer but on the website I have all my INCI listings. I think that if someone knows their stuff in terms of what they want to put on their skin, or tries to avoid specific ingredients, it's vital that they can access that info.

  16. Hi there, I've recently started using neals yard products which has been amazing for my sensitive skin. Their website lists all ingredients and also the benefits of the ingredients together with footnotes on which ingredients are organically produced and the percentage of their product which is organically produced. And they're gorgeous!

    Rhianydd xx

    Rhianydd Xx

  17. Hi there

    I've recently started using Neals Yard Remedies in order to avoid petrochemicals and parabens and other nasties which find their way into beauty products. I have very sensitive skin and it's been a nightmare mission to find something.

    All the ingredients are listed on the website together with the organic ingredients and the percentage of the contents which is organic as well. They've even got a 'benefits' tab relating to the ingredients used in the products. And they're all gorgeous!!!

    Have a look! Xx

  18. Hi, I'm a fairly recent reader here and was just going through your past posts. This one especially caught my eye, because it is something I've noticed too. You're not overreacting at all. I find ingredients important too, especially for skin care.

    I would like to tell you though, that Sephora does list ingredients for most of their products (althogh some brands are better served than others). It's in a tab above the reviews. It's the first website I go to before I consider something new; imagine asking the makeup artists at the counters to get out several boxes for you to just look at the ingredients. Makeupalley lists a few as well, but you have to click on "ingredients" before it shows up.

    Now I'm not particular about ingredients in everything, but for skincare, foundations, lipsticks/glosses, I am, especially as for these makeup items, these sometimes contain sunscreen ingredients that I want to avoid.

    I don't think it's particularly difficult for brands to include them. If the typing is long (well, they shouldn't use that as an excuse, pay people to do it!), they could at the very least photograph the list of ingredients from the box.

    Whenever websites like House of Fraser, Debenhams etc. give me a pop-up for a survey, I fill them in and specifically state that I would like to see ingredients listed. I know they do listen to customer feedback, because they do improve other things on their websites, but I suppose ingredients is not a big demand, so everyone, get demanding!

    Oh, did I say? I like your blog. I'm adding it to my list of regular reading.


  19. kiehl's only list key ingredients, I simply will not buy without a full list of ingredients. It feels in some way misleading and dishonest which I do not expect from a high end skincare brand!

  20. I know what you mean. I just discovered that Clinique's Dramatically Different Lotion uses mineral oil as the second ingredient, as well as petrolatum, but it was a bit hard to find. The list of ingredients is only on the cardboard box, not the actual bottle. Trying to talk my mom out of using it.

  21. I am just now reading this post, (a bit late, I know), but I agree with you Caroline. They all should list their ingredients. I was an Origins customer, until I found out that it was not a natural brand as claimed to be. They do not list their ingredients (like their mother Estee Lauder). I only buy "natural" beauty products, and most of the brands I now use do list their ingredients, such as RMS Beauty, 100% Pure, Acure Organics, Jane Iredale, Tata Harper.

  22. Nope, you're definitely not overreacting! I wanna know what's in the product I want to buy! It's really frustrating when you can't find the ingredients list whether you're a customer wanting to buy a product or a blogger wanting to review the product! x

  23. I always look at ingredients list before I buy. The ingredients list for two of the brands I like, Clinique and Origins, are ridiculously difficult to find. I do like, where if the full ingredients list is not there and the product has been out for awhile, chances are somebody has asked about it in Q&A and some other kind customer posted the ingredients list.