Source

Some years ago, I was in cosmetic product overdrive. I would see a product that made wonderful promises, buy it, try it on my skin/hair and then sit back and wait for the astounding results. When they didn’t come or were too slow to come, I moved on to the next best thing. After a while, I had gathered a lot of products.

Fast forward a few years and I have gone from being blinded by the claims a product makes to understanding that there are no silver bullet solutions. Some may argue that I have low expectations, but I think that what it actually is is having realistic ones. Also, I have had to adjust my idea of what a cosmetic product must smell, look and feel like. It is when consumers begin to get picky about things like looks, smell and feel that manufacturers may feel a need to cave in to the pressure and provide them with just that regardless of a product’s loss of efficacy. Worse still, they may find that there is a need to introduce a substance which enhances appeal to consumers but at the same time introduces some risk to their health.

It is important for consumers to adjust their expectations. Certain ingredients will give you certain results. For some ingredients, you may only see results after prolonged use, for others the results will come really quickly and then you hit plateau and stop seeing those results.

So how exactly do you adjust your expectations? Learn about your ingredients. If you did this, you would know for example that Shea butter is a wonderful sealant, has several vitamins and will give most people beautiful skin. You would also know that it has a nutty smell. You would then know to expect that smell when you buy Shea butter. You would not expect that a basic cream that contains just Shea butter will lighten your complexion. You would look to ensure that there was a skin lightening ingredient in the mix like kojic acid, arburtin or hydroquinone.

Let’s look at a cream that promises to get rid of your cellulite. The fact that it contains certain active ingredients e.g. carnitine and or caffeine means that it will tighten your skin and it will facilitate water loss from your body. It does not however mean that a tub of even the best cream will get rid of your cellulite. If it were that easy, women all over the world will be cellulite free.  You would have to massage the cream into your skin, be active at a gym, eat right, drink plenty of water and maybe THEN you will get rid of your cellulite or reduce it. A topical cream does not erase it. It just gives you a better chance of getting rid of it when you make a lifestyle change.

Also, you have to ensure that the active ingredient that you need is in the right quantity in the product. For example, I like shampoos and conditioners that have Aloe Vera listed as the 2nd or 3rd ingredient. If it is all the way down the list, then there isn’t enough of it in the bottle to create the effect I want.

To explain, all manufacturers list ingredients according to their weight per volume w/v. This means that the first ingredient is the most abundant one in the bottle, the second is the second most abundant and so on. So when I get a bottle of shampoo that claims it has Aloe Vera in it, I turn it over and check how the ingredients are arranged.  I want to see Aloe Vera as one of the first three or four ingredients. If it isn’t then the first 3-4 ingredients had better be something else that I really need.

 However some ingredients, due to how powerful they are, can only be used at say 1-2% of the entire volume of the product. You will need know that so that you don’t expect it to be one of the first three. Anything higher and you get not the result you wanted but something you didn’t bargain for.

To summarize, make sure the ingredient you want is in the bottle and that it is present in the right quantity.  You also need to educate yourself on what ingredients do for you. My advice is to be an ingredient junkie, not a product junkie.

22 Comments

Adura

Great info!

Some of my friends send me links to products before they buy them because they think I know the ‘bad’ ingredients now but like you, I usually look at the first few (top 3-5) ingredients to get and idea of what the product actuallydoes.

So if something is a moisturiser and the 1st ingredient is alcohol or paraffinum… I’m not buying.

I’ll share this post cos it’s very helpful.

Have a nice week 🙂

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Thanks for offering to share it.

Good example with the Moisturizer listing alcohol as a first ingredient. It is important to read labels…don’t forget to go down the list as some active ingredients can only be present in low (not so low that it is just angel dusting) percentages.

Reply
Adura

Great info!

Some of my friends send me links to products before they buy them because they think I know the ‘bad’ ingredients now but like you, I usually look at the first few (top 3-5) ingredients to get and idea of what the product actuallydoes.

So if something is a moisturiser and the 1st ingredient is alcohol or paraffinum… I’m not buying.

I’ll share this post cos it’s very helpful.

Have a nice week 🙂

Reply
deolascope

Thanks for sharing this. I love shea butter by the way and i really don’t mind the smell. I use it on my scalp and cover it up with a bit of hair spray and it works wonders on my hair.

Reply
alesha

Indeed a great post. Am so guilty of hoping from product to product if I “feel” they haven’t kept their label and convincing ad promises. I have been using a cream mix of shea butter & bio oil for 3weeks consecutively and I have seen dramatic changes already. Skin feels so uhh softer and smooooooother. I hope to try out more oils like coconut, grapeseed, and even glycerin in my next mix. Sláinte
PS: I don’t use on my face though. Uh no!

Reply
Natural Nigerian

That is definitely the way to go. I find that Shea butter is too heavy for my face as well so I just slather it on my body and use lighter oils or a cream on my face.

Reply
amaka's notepad

Please, what does ‘cocoa butter’ do? Does it really remove stretch marks?? I heard that hydrophinone lightens the skin and just for fun of it, i tried a product that has hydrophinone as its major ingredient just to see if it lighten me and after using it for close to 2yrs, i was just the same (darker even). does it mean that some ingridients work for some and not all?
Great job Natural Nigerian *2 thumbs up*

Reply
Natural Nigerian

From the journals I consulted (read an abstract of one here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793585), cocoa butter has not been shown to actually remove stretch marks. It would appear that Vitamin E works better.

Hydroquinone is a skin lightener because it inhibits the formation of melanin. Hydroquinone needs to be used only at night for the effect to be properly seen. Three considerations about why you went darker: You probably went darker if you used it and then had sun exposure. Another consideration may be that the percentage of hydroquinone in the product you were using was quite small – it is usually 2% of the total product. And then the last one is the fact that it may just not have worked for you (although 2 years should have been more than enough time to see some type of effect).

Thanks for the thumbs up!

Reply
one3snapshot

Hmm interesting I never thought of it from that perspective I started experimenting with my own homemade stuff after following hair websites.
For example I mixed honey and raw egg in my cheapie $2.00 conditioner before deep-conditioning because it was a good source of protein and I figured out from almost a year of experimenting with different things that my hair really thrives on protein. Then my friend turned me on to Giovanni products and Jason’s (I think); they’re natural-based hair products. I now get Giovanni protein conditioners and use those instead… my lazy-self was so happy when I figured out I didn’t have to DIY anymore lol

Reply
Lois

A few days ago, I stumbled across your site and also on a site with a “dryer cap” or something like that….trying to take care of my hair myself so I was just wondering if it was this site and if you can direct me please.

Reply
Iwa

Hi please ma i have much strechmark on ma body,
What should i use to fade it out ma
I dont think that sheabutter and bio oil will fade it out

Reply

Add Your Comment

  • (will not be published)
  • XHTML: You can use these tags <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    © 2017 Natural Nigerian. All rights reserved.