Before the 2010’s, you wouldn’t have had many options to decipher a list of ingredients at the back of a shampoo bottle. You would have very little access to information regarding what actually went into the formulas of your creams and lotions - most of it written in Latin anyway. You could have either trusted your close friends’ advice and splashed your hard earned money on some expensive anti-age serum they swore by ; or blindly followed women’s magazines recommendations based on freebies gifted by powerful brands to beauty writers. Meanwhile, half-used microplastic-based body scrubs would pile up on your bathroom shelves.
Fast forward to today and valuable information you actually need to know before purchasing a cosmetic product can be instantly available at your fingertips. In the age of transparency and public call-outs, a culture Netflix cemented in its ‘Broken’ docu-series, the possibility that shady chemicals and dubious ingredients might sneak into your products is quickly dwindling.
In the space of two years, French app Yuka gained 15.5 millions users in 8 countries. It offers consumers the option to scan products’ barcodes (from food to cosmetics) in order to receive a detailed analysis of their composition and accurate assessment of their impact on human health. When the product is deemed bad for you (meaning endocrine disruptors, allergens or carcinogens are to be found in their composition), Yuka suggests healthier alternatives for the same category of product.
Casting aside marketing and so-called social media beauty influencers whose opinion is often fueled by ad money, the app aims to provide the most transparent feedback on any given product. For food, the rating is based on nutritional quality, the presence of additives and of organic ingredients. Data is analyzed using standards defined by the European Food Safety Authority, French Agency for Food Safety (ANSES), IARC as well as independent studies.
To maintain a strict impartiality, advertising is obviously not allowed on the app. Funding comes from its paid version (€15/year), which offers premium features and a nutritional program sold for €59 through the blog (in French only). No wonder, being highly rated on the app is now a badge of approval and potentially means big business for cosmetic brands. With many of them jumping on the “organic” bandwagon, using all sorts of wording to woo us into believing they’re good for both body and mind, an app such as Yuka is more relevant than ever.
Reaching out to them, we managed to get our hands on a list of the best French cosmetic products currently rated 100/100 on the app. Out of the 300 000 beauty products listed by consumers, less than 5% made the cut. Here are our favourites under £10:
- Cattier, Beurre de Karité 100% Bio and Vegan, £4,30
- SO’BiO étic, 5 in1 Organic Aloe Vera Dermo-Defense Cream, £11,70
- L’Arbre Vert, Deodorant Argan & Hamamelis, €3,30
- Dermophil Indien, hand cream, £6,56
- La Roche Posay, Tolériane Dermo-Cleanser, £8,80
- Le Petit Olivier, Moisturising Body Lotion with Olive Oil, €4,20
- Cattier Soin des lèvres, £3,45
Yuka is available in the UK. Find out more on the website.