They’re not as difficult to understand as they sound, so let’s start here.

What does hypoallergenic mean?
Hypoallergenic means that the product has been tested for most allergies. After testing each ingredient for allergic reactions, the finest ingredients are used in the foundation formula to ensure allergic reactions are minimized. It is impossible to find a formula that guarantees no allergic reaction; however, hypoallergenic foundations have been tested for most allergies, ensuring that on the majority of sensitive skin types, allergic reactions will be minimized.

What does non-comedogenic mean?
Non-comedogenic cosmetics are products which have been tested on oily skins. These products are less likely to cause blackheads (open comedones) or whiteheads (closed comedones). However, no single product is non-comedogenic for everyone. For example, a person with very oily skin may still get skin breakouts from products that another person with mildly oily skin may find non-comedogenic. It is important to test a new product on the skin, rather than merely rely on the label.

When it comes to foundation, you need to purchase wisely and the above labels are important. Another useful label to look out for, but far less tongue-tying, is oil-free.

What does oil-free mean?
Oil free cosmetics are products that contain little or no ingredients such as lanolin. If your skin is excessively oily, using an oil-free product will lessen break outs and congestion. While if your skin is dry, these ingredients can be useful. If you have oily skin, acne or sensitive skin (especially when you are sensitive on the eyes), avoid products with mineral oil.

What is Mineral oil?
This is a light-weight clear petroleum-based oil. When used in lip products, such as lip balm, it can interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism. When used in eye make-up products, it can aggravate sensitive skin and worsen eczema.

If you are not able to obtain the above information at cosmetic counters, e-mail your favourite brands to their respective companies to investigate more about the product ingredients and product testing. They will be able to advise you on the additional details that is not always displayed on the packaging.

A range of products that offer guarantees to make-up professionals, in terms of minimising allergic reactions, is the PMU range. Visit their website