Beauty labelling, myths busted!

In recent years, beauty brands have been moving towards being a more conscious choice for skincare users. Despite the buzz, many of us are still confused by the countless claims on our skincare labels: sulphate-free, mineral oil-free, vegan…huh? Say what? What do these labels actually mean and what are their benefits? 

So let us decode the latest buzzwords and shed some light on these claims (especially when they come with so much baffling beauty terminology).

Read on to find out what your labels mean and where we stand on them!

#Buzzword “Paraben-Free”

Widely considered to be detrimental to your health, parabens are chemical preservatives that increase the shelf-life of products.

Surprise-surprise: most issues around parabens stem from fear-mongering! Contrary to the common claim that parabens mimic the human hormone estrogen and consequently harm our reproductive system, they are in fact safe and even FDA-approved to be used in cosmetics.


However, to put consumers’ minds at ease, ést.lab uses alternative preservatives such as Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.

#Buzzword “Phthalate-Free” 

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are mostly used as solvents (i.e. to dissolve certain ingredients). As with parabens, the avoidance of this ingredient is a result of fear-mongering, with there being no known proven association between phthalates and health effects so far.

Again, we avoid this to put consumers’ minds at ease. 


#Buzzword “Sulphate-Free” 

Found in some cleansers and responsible for the products’ ability to foam and lather, they cut through the grease and help your skin feel squeaky clean.

Unfortunately, their strong cleansing properties also mean that they often strip away the skin’s natural moisture, causing dryness, itchiness and inflammation.


Fret not as our ActivCalm Gentle Hydrating Cleansing Mousse is a gentle sulphate-free foam cleanser with dense and soft microbubbles that remove dirt, sebum and impurities without stripping off the skin’s natural layer of moisture. Hence, it is able to soothe, calm and support the skin’s natural barrier while providing a deep cleanse. 

Perfect even for sensitive skin! Yay.

#Buzzword “Alcohol-Free” 

When it comes to skincare, not all alcohols are equal. The “alcohol-free” label you see on your skincare products refers to the absence of a drying alcohol (typically indicated as “denatured alcohol” or “ethanol”), which provides a quick-drying effect that instantly degreases the skin.


These alcohols are mainly used to dry out acne. However, they may also cause stinging sensations as they strip away the skin’s natural moisture and increase oiliness in the long run because the skin compensates the loss of moisture with even more sebum production.

This makes it pretty clear why we don’t have alcohol on our ingredient list! Combat acne with our alcohol-free PurClear Anti-Acne Serum to regulate sebum production, minimise pores and fight breakouts. Moreover, it’s enhanced with advanced water shuttle technology, which slows down the release of water capsules and keeps the skin hydrated for up to 12 hours. 


Who says that acne skincare needs to be drying?

#Buzzword “Vegan”

Did you know that veganism isn’t just about keeping a plant-based diet, but extends to your skincare choices too? Vegan skincare refers to products that do not contain any ingredients derived from animals, and this includes animal by-products.

ést.lab avoids animal-derived ingredients and uses marine (e.g. seaweed, kelp, algae and phytoplankton) and botanical extracts produced via highly sustainable biotechnology instead.


One such ingredient is the Alteromonas Ferment Extract, a powerful anti-pollution ingredient that can be found in the deep blue ocean and in our ActivCalm Anti-Stress Hydra Cream.


Highly known for its water-binding ability, this water-loving ingredient is great for boosting the skin’s hydration. But that’s not all—it soothes sensitivity, reduces skin inflammation and repairs damaged skin as well! Uniquely, it can also form a skin shield layer to dispel and protect the skin against PM2.5 pollutants. 

A special shout-out to our newly launched VitaLift A+ Skin Reboot Serum, which taps on the rejuvenating abilities of the Alpine Rose stem cells. Living in the high altitudes of up to 3,200 m, this exotic botanical plant is able to thrive even in the harsh conditions of extreme coldness, UV exposure and dryness, thanks to its defence mechanisms and rejuvenating abilities.

By tapping on the capabilities of its active stem cells, the VitaLift A+ Skin Reboot Serum can boost the skin’s renewal ability by a staggering 75%, keeping your skin looking young and fresh. 

#Buzzword “Cruelty-Free” 

“Cruelty-free” products are those that have never been tested on animals nor do they include raw materials that contribute to animal cruelty. 


No animals should suffer for the sake of our vanity—hence, we promise that none of our products or ingredients are tested on animals. 

You don’t have to be an animal rights activist to show your support!

#Buzzword “Fragrance-Free”

For most consumers, scented skincare products are essential to the entire experience. After all, who doesn’t enjoy indulging their senses while going through their skincare routine?

Unfortunately, common allergens are present in some fragrances which may cause skin irritation. Therefore, the dosage of fragrances should still be kept to the minimum to ensure a stress-free experience. If your skin is ultra-sensitive, you may want to go one step further and shun them altogether.


With this in mind, we avoid fragrance in our skin calming range of serums – the ActivCalm Quick Soothing SOS Serum designed to calm sensitive skin and the ActivCalm Skin Quenching Serum designed to hydrate parched skin. If you’ve hyper-reactive and delicate skin, this is a sign for you to try these restorative serums. 

#Buzzword “Mineral Oil-Free” 

The primary cause of concern regarding mineral oils is that they are a derivative of petroleum, which is heavier on the skin. While this makes them a good fit for very dry skin, it also means they’re highly unsuitable for acne-prone oily skin. 

As ést.lab skincare is created to be used by all skin types, we stay away from mineral oils. This makes our SunShield SPF 50 ***  and SunShield Aqua SPF 50 *** lightweight that won’t feel tacky, and thus perfect for users with oily and acne-prone skin.

Not only do they keep the skin protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays, they double up as tinted moisturisers that give you a “no make-up” make-up look. 

#Buzzword “Preservatives-Free”

If not for preservatives, your skincare products may become a breeding place for bacteria—but this doesn’t mean you can’t go preservative-free! 

With the advancements made in beauty technology, ést.lab has found innovative alternatives to preserving products.

Look no further than our VitaLift A+ Intensive Youth Restoring Capsules that are encapsulated with just the right dose of age-defying elixir for optimal results. They are thoughtfully designed to be 100% biodegradable, minimise waste for the environment and ensure freshness with no preservatives.

And when your capsules inevitably run out, you no longer have to throw out the entire bottle. Instead, you can go green with our NEW VitaLift A+ Intensive Youth Restoring Capsules refill, which is housed in 100% biodegradable water-soluble pouches for zero waste. 

Kudos for staying till the end! We hope we’ve made conscious skincare a little easier for you to embrace the change. Go forth and join us on this empowering journey as we strive towards becoming a more eco-conscious skincare brand.

In good hands,