Ingredients Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

 

ALCOHOL DENAT.

Produced by the fermentation of starch or other carbohydrate sources, this ingredient is used as a solvent for extracts and various ingredients. It has a refreshing, astringent effect that promotes clarity in skin care products, including aftershaves and perfumes. It also is used medicinally as a topical antiseptic, astringent and anti-bacterial.

ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE/ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT (ALOE BARBADENSIS)

This mucus-like gel is cold pressed or mechanically extracted from the leaves of the aloe vera plant, a member of the desert lily family indigenous to East and South Africa. It is a good source of fatty acids, polysaccharides, salicylic acid, saponins, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. With a long history of medical uses, the gel is antibacterial, antiseptic, emollient, healing, moisturizing and soothing. When applied to cuts, burns, lesions and abrasions, this anti-irritant oxygenates the skin, allowing rapid healing, reducing inflammation and soothing the skin. Aloe vera is used in shampoos, hair setting lotions and conditioners, with remarkable results for both the hair and scalp.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Apple Cider Vinegar is made in a two step process, which involves exposing crushed apples to yeast. The yeast then ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol. Bacteria are added, which continue to ferment the alcohol. Apple Cider Vinegar’s soothing qualities can help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. It can also kill many types of bacteria, making it ideal for cleansing.  

AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL FLOUR (AVENA SATIVA)

Common oat kernels are ground to produce this ingredient rich in moisturizing, humectant and ant-oxidant properties. In bath products, oat kernel flour helps soothe irritated or chafed skin. In hair care products, it helps condition and improve manageability.

 

B

 

BEESWAX

One of the oldest and purest waxes, this substance derived from the honeycomb of the bee is commonly named white wax when bleached and yellow wax when unbleached. It is a natural emulsifier that produces few allergic reactions on skin. Beeswax is widely used in the cosmetics industry as an emulsifier, emollient and thickener, giving rich texture to creams, lotions, lipsticks, mascara and salves, and forming a protective barrier between your skin and the environment. Beeswax can be added to soap as part of the oil content to increase hardness of the final bar. Its high melting point makes it a popular material for candles, as it burns slowly.

BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE

BETAINE

This nitrogenous compound, similar to an amino acid, is found in the roots of sugar beets (Beta vulgaris), native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. Applied to the skin, it is cooling and anti-inflammatory. It also increases skin’s moisture retention, because of its unique water binding and cell membrane protective properties.

BUTTERMILK POWDER

Buttermilk is the liquid left after hand churning butter, following the reaction with naturally occurring airborne bacteria. The powder formed when buttermilk is dehydrated is soothing and moisturizing when used alone as a bath soak or included in milk baths, bath salts or other formulations. Some formulas combine buttermilk powder with other skin-soothing natural powders like cornstarch, powdered herbs, oatmeal or rice bran.

BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER) (BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII)

This fat obtained from the fruit of the African karate tree, has moisturizing and healing properties. It has been used for centuries in Africa to protect and condition skin damaged by the sun and wind. It is naturally rich in vitamins A, E, and F, as well as a number of other vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, which help soothe, balance and hydrate the skin. Shea butter is an intense moisturizer and is great for revitalizing dull, dry or chapped skin on the body or scalp. It is known to promote skin renewal, help increase circulation and accelerate wound healing.

 

C

 

CALENDULA OFFICINALIS (CALENDULA) FLOWER EXTRACT/OIL (CALENDULA OFFICINALIS)

This extract is derived from the Marigold flower, a healing plant with stimulating, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Good for sensitive skin, this ingredient is an emollient with softening and soothing effects on hair and skin. It is also cleansing and astringent. In a hair rinse, it soothes irritated scalp and improves scalp conditions, as well as enhances the color of yellow and light red hair. When added to skin care formulas, calendula helps soothe and aids irritated skin.

CAMELLIA SINENSIS (GREEN TEA) LEAF EXTRACT (CAMELLIA SINENSIS)

The extract of the leaves of a perennial evergreen shrub native to Asia, this ingredient has a long history of therapeutic use, dating back to China approximately 5,000 years ago. Green tea extract is a rich source of anti-oxidants, such as vitamins C and E and is valued for its stimulating, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging (anti-oxidant) activity. Green tea extract is said to help repair the effects of aging and environmental factors on skin. It is also believed to help rejuvenate skin, prevent sun damage and promote elasticity. When used in hair care products, green tea extract tones and protects the scalp. This extract is also often found in energizing or revitalizing spa products.

CETYL ALCOHOL

This natural nonionic surfactant is derived from coconut and palm oils. While it’s a fatty alcohol, it is not an “alcohol” like ethyl or rubbing alcohol. Cetyl alcohol widely used as a softener, emulsifier and thickener in skin creams and lotions, as well in shampoos and conditioners.

 

CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT (CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA)

Steam distilled from the flower heads of German Chamomile, this essential oil has a high content of azulene, which gives it a deep blue color and makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is soothing, calming and balancing, both psychologically and physically, and provides an effective treatment for skin allergies, such as eczema and other rashes. The gentle action of the herb calms, heals and soothes skin conditions.

CITRIC ACID

This natural alpha hydroxy acid, derived from various citrus fruits, is used in cosmetics to adjust the pH level to prevent personal care formulas from becoming too alkaline. It also acts as a mild acidic preservative and gentle exfoliant for skin.

CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) FRUIT EXTRACT

This essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of the fruit of the grapefruit tree, native to India. It has antiseptic properties and a fresh aroma. This oil relieves congested, oily skin and has a toning effect on skin and tissues.

D

DECYL GLUCOSIDE

This gentle, non-irritating glucose-based surfactant is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Decyl Glucoside is commonly used in products for people and pets with sensitive skin. It is produced by the reaction of glucose from corn starch, combined with the fatty alcohol decanol, which is derived from the coconut.

DISODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE

This cleansing agent is derived from coconut oil. It is especially useful in cleansing sensitive skin, as it is a mild surfactant with great detergency. Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate works by helping water mix with oils and dirt, making it easier to rinse them away.

G

 

GLYCERIN

This sweet-tasting, clear, syrupy liquid is made by combining water and fats derived from vegetable oil. Glycerin is used in moisturizers due to its water binding capabilities that allow it to draw and absorb water from the air helping skin retain moisture. Non-irritating and soothing, it can be used on even the most sensitive skin, and is a common ingredient in clear soaps.

GLYCERYL OLEATE

Used as an emulsifier, this natural surfactant made from sunflower oil is an extremely mild and effective.

 

H

 

HAMAMELIS VIRGINIANA (WITCH HAZEL) BARK/LEAF/TWIG EXTRACT (HAMAMELIS VIGINIANA)

Derived by maceration or steam distillation from a shrub indigenous to North America and cultivated in Europe, this extract has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, healing and soothing properties. It has a long history of use in oral health care. One of nature’s best astringents, it is frequently used in products like after shave lotions, where it shows mildly styptic properties and helps to reduce razor burn and swelling. It also can be used as a toner or in place of a cleanser, where it is particularly beneficial in clearing oily skin. The extract is also beneficial in treating skin irritations and can be used to wash wounds and calm the itch of bug bites and stings.

HONEY

This sweet, viscous fluid produced by honeybees is one of the oldest natural skin care ingredients. It has been used in skin care for its antimicrobial, healing and skin softening properties. Honey is rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. As a natural cleanser, honey attracts dead cells from the surface of the skin. Honey powder is used in creams, lotions, soaps, scrubs, facials, masks, body wraps, bath teas, milk baths, bath salts and bath bombs.

HYDRASTIS CANADENSIS (GOLDEN SEAL) EXTRACT (HYDRASTIS CANADENSIS)

Steam distilled from the root of a bush that grows wild in mountainous areas of North America, this herb’s name comes from the golden color on the root of the plant. The extract is high in vitamins A, C and E, as well as B complex. With anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent and tonic properties, it has long been used in salves and balms to help treat skin disease and inflammation.

 

L

 

LECITHIN

This naturally occurring group of phospholipids can be found in plant and animal cells and is frequently obtained from common egg yolks and soybeans. It is very rich in the B complex vitamins and is highly nutritive for the skin and hair. A natural emulsifier and spreading ingredient, the natural antioxidant and emollient is often used in eye creams, lipsticks, liquid powders, hand creams and lotions, soaps and many other cosmetics.

LINUM USITATISSIMUM (LINSEED) OIL

Linseeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which help increase the speed at which wounds heal. It helps treat skin irritation, rashes, and other inflammation. The fatty acids in linseed also promote healthy hair growth by nourishing and strengthening follicles.

 

M

MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA (TEA TREE) LEAF OIL (MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA)

Derived from the leaves of trees native to Australia, this essential oil has gained recognition as the strongest antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial essential oil. It is a popular addition to skin care formulas for its germ-killing properties and is often used in wintertime cold formulas to keep germs from spreading. The cleansing agent helps combat foot odor and athlete’s foot, and is helpful in treating cold sores, wounds, warts, burns and acne.

MENTHA PIPERITA (PEPPERMINT) OIL (MENTHA PIPERITA)

Derived from the leaves of a plant commonly found in Europe and North America, this essential oil is known for its soothing, as well as stimulating properties. Its aroma is believed to help relieve headaches, indigestion, nausea and itching, reduce mental fatigue and increase alertness. It is sometimes used to repel insects. The fresh-smelling, cooling oil is commonly used in soaps and skin creams, and has a warming effect that can help relax sore tire muscles.

 

O

 

OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL (OLEA EUROPAEA)

Pressed from the pulp of fully ripe olives, this oil is high in oleic acid and is believed to be a good skin cell regenerator. It attracts external moisture to the skin while still permitting the skin to properly release sweat, shed dead skin and release sebum. This oil is good for treating mature, inflamed or dry skin. It also makes an excellent conditioner for hair and nails. In soaps, this oil creates a long-lasting, non-drying mild product with creamy lather.

 

P

 

PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL

Cold-pressed from the avocado, this unique oil has a rich green color and high content of vitamins A, D, E, and Omega 9 fatty acids. This hair and skin conditioning agent penetrates into the skin to promote healing and protection from pollution.

PHENOXYETHANOL

This alternative to parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives is known for its stability, as it does not react with other ingredients, air, or light. Phenoxyethanol is used in a very low concentration, making it a safe way to preserve other ingredients in the product's formula.

POTASSIUM SORBATE

This salt is naturally found in certain berries, and has been used as for decades as a way to preserve foods like cheese and dried fruits. It is approved by the Natural Products Association, whose standards are among the highest and strictest.

PYRUS MALUS (APPLE) FRUIT EXTRACT

Apples have long been touted for their health benefits — we’ve all heard someone say “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” They contain vitamins A and C, fiber, and more. Apples, the origin of Apple extract, are also beneficial to the skin and hair when used in products like shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. Apple Extract is made by peeling an apple, removing its core, drying the fruit, and then forming a powder of it.

R

 

ROSEMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF OIL/EXTRACT (ROSEMARINUS OFFICINALIS)

Derived from the leaves of the evergreen rosemary shrub, this ingredient has an herbaceous, woody, sharp, camphor-like scent. It balances intense emotions, controls mood swings, counters depression and can help manage stress, as well as ease muscle and joint pain. Its best-known use as a facial oil for extremely dry skin, but it is also found in products for oily skin and acne. In hair products, it is known to nourish the scalp, keep hair looking healthy and shiny and improve scalp problems, particularly dandruff and seborrhea. Rosemary is also believed to be helpful in treating cellulite.

RUBUS IDAEUS (RED RASPBERRY) SEED OIL (RUBUS IDAEUS)

Cold pressed from the tiny seeds of raspberries, this oil has an exceptionally high proportion of alpha and gamma tocopherols (vitamin E), vitamin A and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It has strong antioxidant properties and contains ellagic acid, which is anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, antibacterial and antiviral. It is believed to provide broad-spectrum protection from damaging UV-A and UV-B rays. Highly moisturizing and emollient, it has stronger anti-inflammatory properties than other similar oils, and may be the most effective oil for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. It is a nourishing and healing addition to balms, creams, sun protection and other skin care products, including acne formulations.

 

S

 

SILICA

This white powder, which is slightly soluble in water, occurs abundantly in nature and is an absorbent material for skin creams.

SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL (SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS)

Expeller pressed from the nuts of a plant found in the deserts of the U.S. and Mexico, this essential oil contains protein and minerals, as well as a waxy substance similar to collagen. It has antioxidant properties and contains a natural anti-inflammatory called myristic acid. Offering the traits of both an oil and a wax, it is an ideal ingredient in soap, cream, lotion, balm and massage oil formulations. It is highly penetrating and closely resembles skin’s natural sebum. In facial products, it helps to remove excess oils and to help balance the skin’s natural oil. This oil can also help lighten and heal scars and reduce wrinkles and stretch marks.

SODIUM CHLORIDE

This concentrated mineral salt derived from the sea is non-toxic and non-irritating. It is commonly used to thicken personal care product formulas and to help draw impurities out of the body through the skin.

SODIUM COCOYL HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN

Derived from sun-ripened soya beans and stripped coconut fatty acid, this ingredient provides mild, gentle conditioning and generates a rich, natural lather. It is often used as a hair and skin conditioner.

SYMPHYTUM OFFICINALE (COMFREY) EXTRACT (SYMPHYTUM OFFICINALE)

Derived from plants native to Europe and Asia, this extract is astringent and offers exceptional medicinal properties for external use. It is believed to be a cellular regenerator with anti-scarring properties. The extract has been used to treat sunburns, sprains, cuts, abrasions, bruises, swelling, boils and abscesses. In skin care products, it known to be effective in treating eczema and dry skin, and is beneficial for all skin types.

 

V

 

VACCINIUM MYRTILLUS (BILBERRY) FRUIT/LEAF EXTRACT (VACCINIUM MYRTILLUS)

Derived by maceration from the berries and leaves of a perennial shrub native to northern Europe, North America and Canada, this extract has been used for centuries for its many medicinal properties. Rich in vitamins A and C, highly astringent and loaded with antioxidant bioflavinoids, bilberry has traditionally been used to help improve vision, protect capillary structures, strengthen veins and prevent bruising. Naturally rich in alpha hydroxyl acids, bilberry extract offers gentle exfoliation as well. It is believed to help promote collagen synthesis and is often found in skin care products, as well as shampoos and conditioners.

W

 

WATER

Aqua is the Latin and eau is French for water. “Purified water” and “distilled water” are terms describing the highest quality used in personal care products. These terms describe water that has been stripped of ionic contaminants such as metals, carbonates, bicarbonates and other free radicals that may interfere with chemical reactions in the products and in the body system.

 

X

 

XANTHAN GUM 

This polysaccharide, or sugar polymer, is a natural thickener derived from corn sugar by a fermentation process. It is a common food additive and is also used to thicken and add volume to lotions, creams and gels. It also works as a suspension agent.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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