Also known as AHA’s, these are often derived from fruit and milk sugars, this substance aims to exfoliate the outer layer of dead skin cells. The most common examples are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Both naturally & synthetically derived liquid used in nail polish remover. Excessive use can cause skin and nails to dry, leaving a white, dusty appearance.
Both naturally occurring and synthetic, these chemicals that neutralize free radicals are said to exhibit “antioxidant” properties. They aim to help prevent and/or repair damage. Vitamin C and E are common forms of ingredients that are classified as antioxidants.
Native to Morocco, the oil is derived from the seeds of the fruit that grow on Argan trees. The oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids making it both a powerful antioxidant but also very hydrating.
Also known as Parsol 1789, this synthesized ingredient is used in most sunscreens to block full spectrum UVA rays.
Also known as a “Blemish Balm”, “Blemish Base”or “Beauty Balm”, depending on the market. The formula originated in Germany in the 1960’s and was introduced to Korea and Japan in the mid 1980’s. Promoted as a “wonder product” as, depending on the formula, one product covers multiple needs, such as serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock.
Bacteria-fighting ingredient found in skincare products to treat acne.
BETA HYDROXY ACID (BHA)
Fully dissolvable in oil, these acids target issues like acne and blackheads by exfoliating into the pores to remove dead skin cells, dirt and other buildup. They are often less irritating than alpha hydroxy acids. The most common form is salicylic Acid.
Also known as vitamin H, biotin falls under the vitamin B complex. It helps promote healthy hair, skin and nails through cell growth and fatty acid production.
Found on packages in relation to sunscreens, the term refers to protection from both ultra violet rays, both UVA and UVB.
This plant extract has antioxidant properties and is often used in face and body care products. It’s stimulating properties may help to alleviate puffiness due to inflammation and may help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Also known as “colour correcting” or “colour control” cream, the main aims of these skin care/makeup hybrids are meant to reduce the appearance of redness, correct sallow looking skin and improve uneven skin tone all while offering foundation-like colour coverage. Formulations vary considerably from brand to brand.
Both naturally plant derived and synthesized, these fats boost the skins protective barrier and water-retention abilities.
Naturally occurring protein in the human body as well in animals with some plant derivatives that act like collagen, known as pseudo-collagen. It is responsible for the texture and elasticity of the skin and, with aging and external factors (ie sun damage), breaks down over time.
A form of silicone; used in numerous skin care products to help moisturize and in many hair care products to smooth the appearance of the hair shaft.
Wax-like lubricants and thickening agents that help to prevent loss of water from the skins barrier. Aid in making the skin feel smoother and softer by helping to reduce rough, dry skin but do not penetrate into the skin.
A group of protein molecules that act as catalysts in processes like photosynthesis which can lead to hindering free-radical damage. They appear in skin care ingredients to aid in exfoliation.
Plant-based ingredient with antioxidant properties commonly found in products for the face and often in conjunction with vitamin C and E, boosting their efficacy.
Member of the chamomile family, often used in natural cosmetics.
Also known as glycerine or glycerol, can be both naturally and synthetically derived. It is a humectant, meaning it draws water to it and can help maintain hydration in the outer layers of the skin, preventing dryness.
A naturally occurring ingredient in the body, when found in skin care products, it helps to boost moisture content, reduce inflammation, give the skin a plump appearance and help prevent moisture loss.
A potent antioxidant, this ingredient is found to be effective in halting melanin production and and is used in conjunction with other ingredients to help reduce and possibly eliminate age spots and hyperpigmentation.
A bleaching agent commonly used in teeth whitening products, toothpastes, cold creams, and hair bleaches.
Used when a product is considered unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, however, does not mean the product is more gentle on the skin nor is it allergy-proof.
JASMINE ESSENTIAL OIL
Technically an essence extracted from the jasmine flower, used widely in aromatherpay practices, incense and perfume production.
Non-fragrant emollient used in products to help enhance skins barrier of protection, it may also stimulate collagen production and provide some anti-inflammatory benefits.
Soft clay used in the production of many cosmetics such as powders, foundations and many others due to it’s oil-absorbing abilities.
A strong multi structural protein, it is the building blocks for hair, skin and nails. Hydrolysed keratin is used in many hair care products due to its hydrating properties.
Plant-based hormone that can help reduce signs of againg, sun damage and promote cell turn over.
Naturally derived substance from fungi(mushrooms) and in the process of rice malting. Found in many products who claim “brightening” abilities, as the acid helps to fade spots associated with hyperpigmentation, acne scars and dark spots.
Naturally found in muscle tissue, and in fermented foods like beer and sour milk, this acid is used in cosmetics to make skin smoother.
Contains essential oils with antiseptic properties.
An antioxidant and emollient used in creams (for both face and body) and cosmetics (such as lipsticks and liquid powders)
Light-emitting diode. Used in skin therapies to treat acne and wrinkles by killing bacteria and generating new collagen.
Liquid or water-based gel, typically containing alcohol, that leaves a saturated wash of long-lasting color.
A skin-conditioning agent commonly found in beauty products, particularly in cosmetics, and skin creams. It is mainly used to create a barrier for makeup to stick to.
Cosmetics mainly comprising minerals like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica and iron oxide; usually free of dyes, preservatives and fragrance.
A form of Vitamine B3 which is used in hair cleansing agents and also to lighten the colour of the skin.
Term for products tested to to not block or clog pores.
Synthetic fibre often found in the manufacture of mascara and false eyelashes. Also used to thicken the viscosity of cosmetics.
Term for products with at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients, excluding water and salt.
Preservatives in cosmetics that increase shelf life; FDA-approved at low levels (0.01 to 0.3 percent).
Skin sagging, wrinkles and sunspots resulting from exposure to the sun’s UVA rays that penetrate deep into the dermis and damage collagen fibers.
Water- or silicone-based cream or lotion for the face that creates a smooth, even surface for makeup and improves wearability.
Derivative of vitamin A and milder form of retinoic acid; widely considered the most important ingredient in anti-aging skincare.
Used topically to treat acne by reducing swelling and redness and unplugging skin pores; also treats skin conditions like psoriasis by loosening dry or thickened skin.
SERUM / FACE SERUM
Oil- or water-based product with high concentration of active ingredients, including nutrients, ceramides, glycerin and vitamins, that penetrates deep into the skin.
Sheer loose or pressed powder used after foundation or base makeup to extend wear and control shine.
Applied after makeup to set products for extended wear, especially in hot, humid or windy conditions.
Sun protection factor, a measurement of how well a sunscreen protects skin against the sun’s UVB rays.
Products that do not contain sulfates, which lift dirt and create lather in shampoos. Often recommended for fighting frizz and extending the benefits of chemical treatments like hair color and keratin.
Products that filter a percentage of the sun’s rays, depending on their Sun Protection Factor of SPF.
Also referred to as a clarifying lotion, this liquid is often applied to the skin after the use of a cleanser to help balance the PH levels of the skin and also remove any dirt or oil that may have been left behind by a cleanser.
Ultraviolet A. Less intense than UVB but much more prevalent and more penetrating through skin. These long-wave rays are the main rays in tanning, and the main reason for skin damage associated with photoaging.
Ultraviolet B. Strongest during summer, these short-wave rays are the chief culprit behind sunburn, freckles and sunspots, and play a key role in skin cancer and premature skin aging.
Vitamin A also goes by another name, retinol. Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can reduce free-radical damage that causes skin to look and act older.
A water-soluble vitamin that is a potent antioxidant to fight free radicals. It can increase collagen production, reduce skin discolorations, strengthen skin’s barrier, enhance skin’s repair cycle ,and reduce inflammation.
Powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage.
Natural skin protectant mineral in ointments, creams and powders to treat dryness and irritation, as well as in sunscreens to shield UVA and UVB light.
Oxybenzone: Organic compound used in sunscreens to absorb UVA rays.
Parabens: Found in makeup, lotion, shampoos, and shaving creams, parabens (methyl-, propyl-, and parahydroxybenzoate) are the most common preservatives in the United States, though they have been scrutinized for their possible link to cancer and infertility.
Peptide: Anti-aging buzzword; chain of amino acids that that boost collagen.
Phenols: Carbolic acid; found in shaving creams and hand lotions.
Petrolatum (Also: Vaseline, Petroleum Jelly, and Paraffin Jelly): Locks in moisture, giving cosmetics their shine and creams their smoothness.
Quinoline: Derived from coal tar and used to make dyes.
Resveratrol: An antioxidant produced by grapes and used in cosmetics to reduce inflammation and lighten skin.
Retinol: Derived from vitamin A, retinol promotes skin cell turnover, which boosts collagen production and smooths wrinkles. The prescription form is referred to as a “retinoid.”
Rose Hips Extract: Derived from wild roses, this vitamin C-rich ingredient is used in anti-aging products to smooth and hydrate skin.
Salycilic Acid: A beta hydroxy acid found in many acne-fighting products because of its ability to penetrate (and clear) pores to reduce breakouts.
Soy: Believed to have wrinkle-reducing, antioxidant properties, soy bean extract is appearing in more and more skin care products.
Sulfates: Derived from sulfuric acid and commonly added to shampoos for a lathering effect. May cause irritation.
Silicone – needs anchor tag within definition of Dimethicone
Toluene: Solvent used in nail polish, which has been criticized for its link to dizziness and eye and nose irritation.
Triclosan: Used in many soaps and household products as an antibacterial ingredient, triclosan is being reviewed by the FDA, as studies have found it to be a hormone disruptor.
Vitamin C (Also: Ascorbic acid): An antioxidant found in many anti-aging creams and serums, as it boost collagen and protects against photo-damage.
Vitamin E (Also: Tocopherol): Used as a moisturizing antioxidant in many skin care products.
Willow Leaf Extract: Used in acne-fighting products since it contains salicylic acid (see above).
Witch Hazel: Astringent made from the witch hazel shrub, used in toners to reduce oil and minimize pores.
Zinc Oxide: Used medicinally as an antiseptic and cosmetically to whiten and thicken makeup.
A Consumer’s Dictionary Of Cosmetic Ingredients