The 6 Resources You need to Check Before Buying Skincare


When I started becoming obsessive about skincare my junior year of college, I read through hundreds of blogs posts and articles desperately looking for one “trusted resource.” Trying to figure out what ingredients to use… what ingredients not to use… in what order… is dizzying. While I never found one place that I felt thoroughly answered all my questions, (hence why I started Mirra), I did find myself referencing the same, few websites over and over again.

I’m a total nerd in that I obsess over the science behind skincare products, which is why I choose mostly “sciency” resources below. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading Into the Gloss, Goop, or Allure... It just means that when it comes down to really understanding which products I should actually incorporate into my routine, I do my homework. To me, the “homework “ consists of truly understanding your skin type, its needs, and then thoroughly understanding the formulations you choose to incorporate.

Below, I list my go-to resources. I use a combination of these sites when making a purchasing decision because none of the sites completely share my personal skin care philosophy which is to find super effective, science based formulas that are both non-irritating and  non-toxic.

1. Skindeep

Skindeep is a resourced created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) with the mission to protect you from everyday exposure to chemicals. The scientists at Skindeep thoroughly examine the toxicity of cosmetic and personal care items, and create easy to understand online profiles for each of the products.

Cosmetic companies are virtually allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish in their formulations -- the industry has notoriously unregulated by the government. People apply an average of 126 unique ingredients on their skin daily, so these chemicals, whether they seep through the skin, rinse down the drain, or flush down the toilet, cause concern for human health, and for the impact they may have to wildlife, rivers and streams (EWG).

After using Skindeep for a few years, one of the most interesting things I found was that the same brand may carry some products that are totally clean, and some that contain a high concentration of toxins. That’s why I always check the toxicity of each product before purchasing. And of course, a lot of the time, the product that I’m thinking of buying isn’t listed here. Even if you’re thinking of buying a product that isn’t included in their database, you can still derive a lot of value from reading through their educational material to help you make a decision.

2. Think Dirty app

Think Dirty has essentially the same mission as Skindeep --- to help you learn about the potential toxic ingredients in your cosmetic and personal care products.

Their product takes a slightly different approach. First off, it’s mobile app, which makes it handy for evaluating products in store. You just have to scan the barcode with the app to see easy to understand info on the product, its ingredients, and cleaner alternatives.  

3. Beautypedia

Beautypedia is a product review site created by well-renowned beauty expert, Paula Begoun (founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare).

The team assigns products a rating of 1-5 based on “published scientific research.” Each product has an “expert rating” from the Beautypedia team, in addition to a “community rating” from people who have tried the product.

Beautypedia’s rating system is sometimes seen as controversial. For example, they believe that any source of fragrance - whether from a natural or synthetic source - is irritating and bad for skin. Essential oils are hated on a lot here. Whatever your belief may be, we think this site an awesome way to filter through the thousands of cosmetic products on the market today. There’s really no other website like it.

4. Futurederm

Futurederm is a skincare blog written by Nicki Zevola Benvenuti, a blogger that seriously takes the term “skincare nerd” to a new level. She details the technical science behind ingredients and formulations, and busts a lot of myths through a research first, scientific lens.

Nicki was one of my favorite bloggers for a really long time. I really appreciate how she takes the time to cite her sources, and make sense of clinical trials and scientific papers. Overtime, I realized that although I love coming to her site to learn more about the science behind skincare, I don’t always trust her product recommendations. One reason is because all the products I’ve tried from her line have left me with extremely irritated skin. I think it’s because she, as a blogger, has very resilient skin, so us sensitive folk have to take her recs with a grain of salt. Also, whether or not a product is cruelty-free or non-toxic isn’t really a priority for her. Nonetheless, I love reading through her content, and highly recommend you take a peek at her blog.

5. Trunk Tales by Drunk Elephant

I mention Drunk Elephant’s blog, Trunk Tales, with a little bit of hesitation. The blog is sparse, and mostly contains promotional pieces for their products. However, they do occasionally write some well-researched pieces that are definitely worth a read. It’s no secret that we love Drunk Elephant’s mission to bring clean and clinical products into the world (we believe in doing the same) so it’s no wonder we love their more educational pieces.  

6. Mirra

Oh hey👋! We’re a new company with a mission to empower you with the resources you need to make educated, and informed skincare decisions that fit your unique lifestyle. We share interviews with experts, decode ingredients, and demystify the latest trends, and seek to create the next generation of innovative skincare products.

Let us know what topics you want us to cover! Email us at with suggestions :)