Posted by Megan Hatch

What is an MSDS?

What is an MSDS?
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Lately I’ve felt like there’s a hip new lotion and skin care product coming out every other week. I never really thought that much about my skin, and suddenly commercials and posts have me buying the store. But what makes all these skin care products better than others? 

Sometimes I joke that a product is only as good as its marketing and advertising department, because these departments make the product desirable. But no matter how good an advertising department may be, they don’t change the integrity of the product. It’s important to be able to determine a product’s quality based on its composition.

When I want to compare hard facts and be familiar with a product, like we should all be with our lash products, I look at its material safety data sheet (MSDS) or safety data sheet (SDS)*. SDS’s are provided for all chemicals/chemical mixtures and most products on the market. They contain the substance’s ingredients, weight percent, physical and chemical properties, hazards, reactivity, flammability, and first aid precautions. They also tell you how to store the product and dispose of the substance properly.

For example, the SDS for Dove bar soap instructs individuals on how to take care of a soap spill (as if we need help with that). But the point is, SDS’s are very thorough. According to the SDS, you should, “Clean up spillage with a brush and shovel. Thoroughly wash down the affected area to remove residue that may cause the floor to be slippery.” Nice and safe.

Although reading SDS’s surely won’t take the place of your favorite TV shows or novels, they provide useful information about products you interact with daily. Most SDS’s are available online and are easy to access, but it’s important to make sure you are getting your data from a reliable source—the company’s actual site or an affiliated link. You can even request to see an SDS if you cannot access it online. A big part of my job is being able to accurately evaluate these safety sheets and make decisions based on the information provided. This obviously has taken much practice and a little education in chemistry, but everyone can be familiar with these documents to better communicate their knowledge about lashes to clients.

Look up the MSDS for water (specifically under spills/leaks). There are some pretty funny ones out there. Tell me what you find. As always, leave any questions or comments below.



*SDS’s were formerly known as MSDS’s until December 2013 – both acronyms are commonly used. For more information on SDS’s refer to OSHA’s site.



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