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The Truth Behind Ingredient Percentages

At Glow Recipe, we’re always looking at the bigger picture, whether that’s about caring for pores or putting together a skincare routine. Even our Take It Day by Day, Skin by Skin™ philosophy is rooted in the idea of a holistic approach to your skin, one that entails looking at it, touching it, and taking note of how it feels before you slather on products and go about your day. We believe that putting your skin — and your skincare routine — into context can help you take better care of it, giving you the healthiest, happiest version of your skin.

The same goes for your skincare products, too. It can be all too easy to reduce a skincare product down to its parts, like a vitamin C serum, a retinol eye cream, or a hyaluronic acid moisturizer. But there’s more than just the vitamin C, retinol, and hyaluronic acid (respectively) in those examples that help deliver their incredible results, which is why it’s essential to look beyond the individual ingredients and their percentages. Rather, seeing a formula as a whole — and contextualizing your skincare – can give you a better understanding of what it’s doing for you and your skin. Here’s why.

Beyond the Percentage

Okay, so your face toner contains 2% beta hydroxy acid. Cool — but what exactly does that mean? In the case of our Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner, it doesn’t factor in the PHA, nor the cactus water, nor the other ingredients that make it so special. Plus, this approach totally overlooks the smart synergistic combinations in the skincare world, such as vitamin C and sunscreen; these combinations make each ingredient work better, so to isolate one can leave out that important piece of the puzzle.

Another key point to consider is the quality of the ingredient. Is the Kakadu plum sourced from an industrial farm or is it, like ours in Plum Plump, harvested from a family-owned organic farm? Then, there’s the fact that ingredients can contain multitudes. In our Plum Plump range, for instance, you’re getting not one, not two, but five different forms of hyaluronic acid — but the percentage or single mention on the ingredient list wouldn’t exactly show that.

Finally, there’s the advantage of encapsulated ingredients. Encapsulation — meaning the ingredient in question is suspended in a “capsule” of another material — allows for the ingredient to be time-released, so it’s both gentler and lasts longer. That’s how our Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask delivers retinol sans irritation, and the Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum features encapsulated vitamin C in an oil to both make it less irritating for sensitive skin types and prevent oxidation, keeping it fresh.

Ultimately, percentage can be helpful but it’s a simplified version of an otherwise more complex story.

Contextualizing Skincare

Whether we’re talking about acids, niacinamide, or tranexamic acid, keep in mind that while knowing about the specific ingredients are good, it’s way more important to view the formulation as a whole. Skincare is sophisticated stuff, and it requires a strategy and experts to create a good one.

The same goes for what it does for your skin. We always formulate our products to ensure that they’re taking a gentle yet effective approach to addressing your skin type and concerns (which, by the way, are two very different things). It’s all about what your skin can tolerate, and how you can find the balance for you and your skin — which, incidentally, is why Taking It Day by Day, Skin by Skin™ is so important. After all, you don’t want to sacrifice your all-important skin barrier health for a product that, at the end of the day, may do more harm than good.

Contextualizing skincare can give you a better understanding of (and appreciation for!) the formulas you use on a daily basis. Not only that, but it can give you — as a consumer and skincare buff — the ability to make the right product picks for yourself when you’re putting together your skincare wardrobe, so you can get the skin you want.

Read more about contextualizing your skincare:


Glow Recipe

Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream


Glow Recipe

Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner


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