Ingredients Glossary: What the Terms Mean
Ever wonder what someone means when they say something is a humectant, or an emollient? We've broken down the most important types of ingredients, explaining what they actually do.
Anti-Oxidant - helps prevent deterioration and rancidity in products, also slows the activity of damaging "free radicals"
Antiseptic - inhibits the growth and reproduction of disease-causing organisms.
Antibacterial - inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Antimicrobial - inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses.
Emollient - softens and soothes skin.
Emulsifier - helps oil and water ingredients blend together without separating.
Hydrating - helps restore or add water
Humectant - helps retain moisture, and helps draw moisture from the environment
Surfactant - helps clean by reducing the surface tension of liquids, and is attracted to both oil and water.
Allantoin - an emollient that keeps your skin moisturized and prevents dryness and irritation.
Aloe Vera (Certified Organic) - Known for its effectiveness in speeding healing on sunburned and irritated skin, Aloe Vera is also a wonderful for hydrating and soothing dry skin and hair.
Ascorbic Acid - Vitamin C - a natural anti-oxidant that helps skin build collagen, and a natural preservative that helps keep products fresh.
Beeswax - produced naturally by bees, is a powerhouse ingredient. It helps form a protective barrier on skin, is an emollient and humectant. It may also have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral benefits.
Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5) - used sometimes in vitamin supplements, this vitamin also may have healing and anti-inflammatory properties that help with scarring, wound healing, and skin conditions.
Carbomer - helps create a gel consistency.
Cetyl Alcohol - a plant-derived emollient and emulsifier.
Comfrey Extract (Certified Organic) - plant-derived and traditionally known to help soothe skin and heal skin irritations.
Disodium EDTA - a crystal salt that binds to minerals in water, helping prevent other ingredients from going bad.
DL Panthenol - long lasting plant-derived moisturizer, that leaves hair and skin feeling silkier.
Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) - relieves pain and pulls toxins from the body. Traditionally used to release muscle soreness.
Essential Oils - "soul of the plant", the plant’s life force, a gift from Mother Nature, extracted and bottled for our help in healing.
Fragrance Oils - a synthetic fragrance that mimics the scent found in nature.
Glycerin - a plant-derived humectant that promotes moisture retention and softens skin.
Hyaluronic Acid - a superior skin replenishing agent, it helps boost skin's moisture content, and works as an antioxidant.
Isopropyl Palmitate - a plant-derived lubricant.
Jojoba Oil (Certified Organic) - cold pressed oil grown seeds from the jojoba desert shrub, it is a humectant, and actually creates a protective film over the skin that helps seal in moisture.
Lemon Oil (Certified Organic) - used for its fragrance, and antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Phenoxyethanol - a mild, yet effective preservative that keeps product safe to use. Most natural personal care products have stopped using Parabens, with many now using Phenoxyethanol instead.
Propylene Glycol - a safe ingredient that helps other ingredients penetrate more deeply into skin, it's also a humectant. Earlier stories about this ingredient being anti-freeze and being harmful have been thoroughly debunked.
Rosemary Extract (Certified Organic) - a plant-derived ingredient that helps revive and invigorate skin. It is also being used as a natural preservative.
Safflower Oil (Certified Organic) - natural emollient, penetrates skin very easily.
Salicylic Acid - a keratolytic which penetrates deeply into skin to help loosen and exfoliate dry, dead skin.
Sea Salt - more natural trace minerals than standard salts
Sesame Oil (Certified Organic) - rich emollient, high in linoleic and oleic fatty acids
Shea Butter (Wild-crafted) - an extraordinary skin moisturizer made from the nuts of the Mangifolia tree in Central Africa, a superb emollient, high in fatty acids.
Sodium Hydroxide - an alkaline ingredient used in very small quantities to help balance and hold the PH of a product.
Sorbitol - a plant-derived humectant that makes skin feel velvety.
Stearyl Alcohol - emollient and emulsifies, derived from Stearic Acid.
Stearic Acid - a plant-derived emollient emulsifier.
Sunflower Oil (Certified Organic) - a rich emollient.
Triethanolamine (TEA Stearate) - an ingredient which works as a pH balancer and emulsion stabilizer. Used in small quantities, this ingredient is also sometimes added to food.
Urea - a synthetically derived ingredient that works as a powerful exfoliant, helping to break down thick skin and nails. Also known to help other ingredients penetrate more deeply into skin.
Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate) - natural preservative and powerful antioxidant it’s also very soothing to skin.