If you’re like me and obsessively read the back of every foundation, moisturizer, powder, facewash, sunscreen, basically anything that touches my face–I just made your (and my) life so much easier. I recently discovered a site called CosDNA.com. AND IT’S SO EASY.
- Find the ingredients of the product in question online–typically listed on the product website or Amazon.
- Copy and paste the ingredients into the box and click “Analysis.”
And that’s really it.
If you’re acne-prone like me, the analysis will indicate which ingredients, if any, are likely to cause issues. Not only that, it rates them on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the most problematic. A product may claim to be non-comedogenic, aka non pore clogging, but there are certain ingredients that acne-prone folks should be very wary of regardless of whatever claims are on the box! This analysis will pinpoint which ingredients can cause problems before the product ever touches your skin.
If you are concerned about certain irritating ingredients like acids or additives, this analysis will also indicate on a scale of 0-5 how potentially irritating they might be. Same with the safety column! If you are at all worried about ingredients like talc or parabens and how they could affect your skin/health/whole body wellness (there is an abundance of conflicting research about the aforementioned ingredients), this analysis will also indicate to what degree you should be concerned.
Here’s an example of a product I purchased prior to learning about the magic that is CosDNA. I bought the ELF Oil Control Primer Mist because it was super affordable, I am constantly searching for oil controlling products to tame this grease mess of a face, the reviews on the website were surprisingly positive, and even if I have a similar product that I already like, I have an addiction to trying new products.
Fast forward to the first time I used it and BAM. A huge cystic pimple (pimple seems too kind a word, honestly) appeared on my right cheek that very same day and I deduced it had to be the spray because 1) it was the only new product I had tried, 2) the other products I used are my tried and true go-tos that don’t exacerbate my acne, and 3) I never used the spray again and subsequently did not have another breakout as immediate and painful as that one.
Once I learned about CosDNA, curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know if this particular spray would have had any red flags had I looked at the analysis before purchasing.
The ingredients off the ELF website:
The analysis of the ingredients:
Sure enough, two of the ingredients were flagged as potential acne irritants, one of them scoring at the dreaded level 5. I never used that spray again and never had an immediate breakout quite like I did that day! Had I known about this site before making the purchase I probably wouldn’t have wasted that precious eight dollars. Eight bucks isn’t a lot, sure, but that’s eight bucks I could have put towards tacos or a sweater for my dog.
Another awesome resource I love and use all the time is the SkincareAddiction Reddit forum. Using Reddit definitely has a learning curve and I find it much easier to navigate on my phone than on a desktop computer. But once you get the hang of it, you find out SO MUCH INFORMATION.
It was on Reddit that I discovered that those little white bumps on my face that aren’t really pimples but are definitely bumps I don’t want are actually called “closed comedones” and are often caused by using products that don’t agree with your skin. They’re like pre-pimples that aren’t really poppable, they aren’t cystic, and aren’t really painful, but are definitely annoying. They eventually become pimples but prefer to hang around for weeks just giving your face a a look similar to that of a topographical map. These are often caused by pore-clogging fatty alcohols (e.g. cetyl alcohol, ceteryl alcohol, stearyl alcohol) which I quickly found out are in A CRAP TON of skincare, especially moisturizers. Not everyone is sensitive to these, but if you’re lucky to be part of that club like me, Reddit is a great place for product recommendations. I’m also sensitive to silicones and silicone derived ingredients, which are also in A LOT of products. Reddit’s SkincareAddiction forum has led me to some of my favorite products that aren’t heavy in the ingredients that don’t agree with me, and has helped me learn so much about skincare on a molecular level and how it all is supposed to work. Did you know there’s a thing on our skin called the moisture barrier? Yeah, me either. And apparently messing with can seriously affect your texture, acne, and overall skin health. I would compare it to something like an ozone layer: it’s there to protect our skin from harsh or potentially harmful outside agents, but if we take it away, our skin is left vulnerable to a lot of damage. If we use too many harsh ingredients on our skin, try to dry out our skin to treat or prevent acne, or don’t moisturize properly, it damages our skin and makes it even harder to repair and regenerate. I had no idea this was a thing and now that I do, I’m extra careful not to strip my skin and even though I’m oily AF I’m obsessive about moisturizing. My skin is nowhere near where I want it to be and Mother Nature is not helping at the moment (WHY DO I NEED A WEEKLONG PERIOD TO TELL ME I’M NOT PREGNANT JUST GIVE ME A ONE HOUR HEADS UP LIKE “HEY YOU’RE GOOD THIS MONTH, CHEERS!” RANT OVER), but I’m getting there thanks to a deeper knowledge of skin and how to care for it.
I’m no skincare expert but thanks to the CosDNA site and Reddit skincare/makeup forums, it’s a lot easier to navigate the endless aisles of products and find things that work without the ugly side effects. If you guys end up using either of these sites in your skincare journeys I would love to hear what you think of them!
With love and (crazy) lashes,
P.S. I had a “pinch me, I’m dreaming” when Suva Beauty featured me on their Instagram page wearing the look you see right up there. I don’t do makeup for anyone but me, I don’t do it to prove anything, I don’t do it because I’m obsessed with my looks. I think makeup is an incredible art form and an amazing way to express your personality. Makeup is something I used to feel insecure about loving because I had friends who didn’t understand and it’s usually considered “silly.” And to be fair, it’s not a life or death endeavor, it IS just fun. But it’s my art therapy and my temporary escape, and for that I will not apologize or feel small. ♥