Skincare Ingredient Glossary

Here’s the A to Z organized list of all the skincare ingredients that we’ve covered in great detail. When clicking into any of the following ingredients you get a full overview of uses, benefits, and safety information for each ingredient. You’ll find all types of ingredients too. Whether they are good or bad, natural or synthetic, we cover it all.

These ingredients are used in product formations as emulsifiers, humectants, surfactants, skin conditioners, and thickening agents. You’ll find they offer a wide range of skin benefits such as hydration, anti-aging, exfoliation, brightening, even tone, and soothing.

We’re constantly adding to our skincare ingredient glossary so be sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for. Have an ingredient that you’d love to see covered in detail? Let us know!

A

Acacia Farnesiana Extract – POOR

Acacia farnesiana extract is derived from the flowers and stems of the Acacia farnesiana plant. It’s commonly added as a fragrance.

Acacia Senegal Gum – GOOD

Acacia Senegal Gum is derived from the Acacia Senegal tree. This ingredient can help soothe skin and it also acts as a thickening agent.

Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract – GREAT

Lady’s Mantle comes from the alchemilla herb. It’s used for it’s exfoliating and antioxidant properties.

Algin – FAIR

Algin or alginic acid comes from brown seaweed. It’s used in skin care for its emulsifying benefits and thickening properties.

Alpha Bisabolol – GREAT

Bisabolol is a type of alcohol found in the Chamomile plant. It is used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties.

Alpha Lipoic Acid – GREAT

Alpha lipoic acid is produced in the body naturally, but it is synthetically created for use in skin care. It’s a powerful anti-aging, antioxidant-rich ingredient.

Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract – GREAT

Also known as Roman Chamomile flower extract, this non-irritating ingredient can help soothe and condition skin.

Argan Oil – GREAT

Argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. It fights free radicals, hydrates, and has a wide range of anti-aging benefits.

B

Bakuchiol – GREAT

Bakuchiol is a plant-based alternative to retinol. It offers anti-aging and skin restoring benefits.

Beech Tree Extract – GOOD

Beech tree extract is made from the buds of the beech tree. It’s primarily used for its anti-aging benefits. It can help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and improve cell turnover.

Betaine – GOOD

Betaine is a natural ingredient derived from sugar beet used for its anti-aging and hydrating skin benefits.

Benzyl Salicylate – POOR

This ingredient is derived from salicylic acid and benzyl alcohol. It is added as a fragrance to cosmetics and skincare products.

Beta-glucans – GREAT

Beta-glucans are forms of fiber found in the cell walls of plants, bacteria, and fungi. It’s used in skincare for its anti-aging, hydrating, and skin soothing benefits.

Buddleja Davidii Extract – GREAT

Buddleja davidii extract is obtained from the buddleja davidii shrub, which is also called the summer lilac. This ingredient is used for its antioxidant and skin soothing properties.

C

Carrageenan – FAIR

Carrageenan comes from a red seaweed referred to as Irish Moss. It is used in food, skincare, cosmetics, and shampoo for its thickening, emulsifying, and moisturizing benefits.

Cera Alba (Beeswax) – GOOD

Beeswax is the natural wax created by honeybees. It is used in skincare products as a soothing and protecting ingredient that is rich in antioxidants.

Cetearyl Olivate – GOOD

Cetearyl olivate is an oily, waxy ester made from cetearyl alcohol, a type of fatty alcohol, and fatty acids derived from olive oil.

Cetyl Palmitate – GOOD

Cetyl palmitate is made from the combination of a fatty acid with an alcohol. It helps condition the skin and is used as a thickening agent.

Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract – GREAT

Also known as German Chamomile, this ingredient comes from the Chamomilla recutita plant. It’s used for its skin soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Chrysanthemum Extract – GREAT

Chrysanthemum extract is derived from the chrysanthemum flower. It’s used as a natural astringent, skin revitalizer, and anti-irritant.

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil – FAIR

This ingredient is derived from the peel of the sweet orange. It’s mainly used in skincare for it’s fragrance and brightening benefits.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine – FAIR to GOOD (depending on use)

Cocamidopropyl betaine is a natural surfactant that’s derived from the mixture of a betaine and coconut oil.

Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine – FAIR to GOOD (depending on use)

This ingredient comes from a reaction of coconut oil and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. It is used in skincare for its cleansing and foaming properties.

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine – GOOD

This ingredient is derived from coconut oil for its foaming, cleansing, and thickening benefits.

Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter) – GOOD

Cocoa butter comes from the beans of the cacao plant. This rich butter is used to nourish and hydrate dry, flakey skin.

Corallina Officinalis Extract – FAIR

Corallina officinalis is a red seaweed that grows in tide pools. It’s used in skincare to exfoliate the skin and increase cell turnover.

Coumarin – POOR

Coumarin is used in cosmetics, skincare, and personal care products to add fragrance. But it may lead to irritation and poses other health risks.

Cucumis Melo Melon Fruit Extract – GREAT

This natural ingredient is derived from melon fruit. It can help repair damaged skin, smooth, tone, and help fight the signs of aging.

E

Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil – GREAT

This seed oil comes from the purple viper’s bugloss plant native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. This rich oil is used for its skin soothing, anti-aging, and moisturizing benefits.

Enteromorpha Compressa Extract – GOOD

Enteromorpha compressa is a green-colored seaweed (macroalga), which commonly grows throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It is used as a natural thickening agent and emulsifier.

G

Geraniol – FAIR

Geraniol is a plant-derived fragrance made from Roses, Geraniums, and more. It is often added to skincare and cosmetics for it’s sweet, floral scent.

H

Hyaluronic Acid – GREAT

Hyaluronic can be derived from animal and plant-based sources. It offers hydration, promotes skin health, and can help ward of the signs of aging.

Hydroxyethylcellulose – GOOD

Hydroxyethylcellulose is a synthetic ingredient derived from cellulose, a natural polymer. It’s used as a thickening agent, binding agent, and film former.

J

Jojoba Oil – GREAT

Jojoba oil is derived from the jojoba plant for its wide range of skincare benefits. It hydrates, supports collagen production, and soothes skin.

L

Laminaria Digitata Extract – GOOD

Laminaria digitata extract is derived from the Laminaria digitata algae (seaweed). It is used in skincare for its moisturizing and skin soothing properties.

Limonene – FAIR

Limonene is one of the largest components in citrus peels. It is used in skincare as a fragrance and for its penetration-enhancing capabilities.

Linalool – POOR

It is a terpene alcohol used in skincare and cosmetic products for fragrance.

Linolenic Acid – GREAT

Linolenic acid is a fatty-acid that naturally occurs in the skin. It has skin soothing and skin repair benefits.

O

Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables – GREAT

Made from part of the processed oil from olive trees. This ingredient is a great moisturizer for dry, flaky skin.

P

Palmaria Palmata Extract – GOOD

Palmaria palmata is a type of red seaweed that grows in the Atlantic ocean. It is used in skincare as an emollient, film former, and even skin texture.

Phenoxyethanol – FAIR

This synthetically produced ingredient mimics a naturally occurring ingredient. It is used in skincare and cosmetics as a preservative.

Phytic Acid – GOOD

Phytic acid is an AHA that is derived from grains, rice, and legumes. It’s used in skincare for its exfoliating and antioxidant properties.

Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax – GOOD

Cera bellina is a modified version of beeswax that mixes with water better. This makes it a better option than typical beeswax for many skincare formulations.

Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate – GOOD

This synthetic ingredient combines stearic acid and polyglycerin-6 for this emulsifying, moisturizing skincare ingredient.

Potassium Sorbate – GOOD

Potassium sorbate is a type of salt used as a preservative in skincare products. This ingredient inhibits microorganism growth to extend the shelf-life of products.

Purslane – GREAT

Purslane may be classified as a weed but it’s rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. It can help even tone, reduce appearance of aging, and it helps soothe skin.

R

Rosehip Oil – GREAT

Rosehip oil comes from the seeds of different types of rose bushes. It’s used for its anti-aging and skin soothing benefits.

S

Sodium Chloride – GOOD

Also known as salt, this ingredient is used in skincare as a preservative, thickening agent, and an exfoliant.

Sorbitol – GREAT

Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is naturally occurring but usually synthetically produced. It’s used as a thickening agent and for it’s skin moisturizing benefits.

Spirulina – GOOD

This superfood ingredient comes from a type of blue-green algae. It is used in skincare for its skin toning, anti-aging, and antioxidant benefits.

Swertia Japonica – GOOD

This ingredient comes from a flower native to East Asia and Japan. It has antioxidant and flavonoid properties that can help soothe skin and even tone.

X

Xanthan Gum – GOOD

Xanthan gum is produced from a variety of simple sugars. It is used as a thickening agent and emulsifier.

Z

Zea Mays Starch – GOOD

Also known as corn starch, this ingredient comes from corn. It can absorb moisture and emulsify products for a smooth even texture.