Ingredients Demystified

It was only when starting to compile this list that I realised the staggering number of ingredients and chemicals used in beauty products, so this is only a very tiny fraction, concentrating mainly on natural ingredients but including some commonly found chemicals too. If you are concerned about the contents of your beauty product, there are some excellent web resources available with much more comprehensive lists. You can find them on the links page of this blog.

 

  • 1, 2-Hexanediol: a natural ingredient with preservative and humectant properties
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer: a synthetic lotion stabilser
  • Agave Tequilana Leaf Extract (Agave Plant Extract): a natural extract known for skin smoothing properties
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract: a natural ingredient known to moisturize and condition skin
  • Angelica (Angelica archangelica): Relieves nervous exhaustion and stress, revitalizes tired mind and provides mental drive. Invigorates the lymphatic system, increases perspiration, cleansing system of toxins. Aids indigestion, flatulence, dyspepsia, colic. Stimulates appetite. Urinary antiseptic. Provides use as expectorant in colds, bronchitis, pleurisy. Used to relieve asthma, and restore sense of smell.
  • Antioxidants: a molecule that slows or prevents the oxidization of other molecules. Used to promote health and fight ageing and disease.
  • Aqua: Water
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): a natural ingredient known to clarify skin
  • Avena Sativa Kernel Extract: a natural oat extract known to soothe an heal skin
  • Avocado: rich in vitamins A and E and essential fatty acids, this oil aids the natural moisture barrier of the skin. A natural anti-ageing treatment as it is provides a range of phyto-nutrients to help fortify and condition the skin
  • Bamboo Powder: used in toothpaste for its anti-bacterial cleaning properties
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Relaxing to muscles, including smooth muscles (those not subject to our voluntary control, such as the heart and digestive system). It may also be used to soothe insect bites when applied topically. Beneficial for mental fatigue, basil may help stimulate and sharpen the sense of smell.
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia): used in the Middle East for hundreds of years for skin conditions associated with an oily complexion. It soothes insect bites and may serve as an insect repellent. It has about 300 chemical constituents that contribute refreshing, mood-lifting qualities. Bergamot is responsible for the distinctive flavor of Earl Grey Tea. Benefits nervous and digestive system.
  • Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract: a natural ingredient known to calm skin
  • Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green Tea Extract): a natural antioxidant source known to soothe skin
  • Caprylyl Glycol: preservative
  • Caramel: a natural colourant
  • Carbomer: a synthetic lotion stabilizer that prevents oil and liquid components from separating
  • Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil: a natural skin conditioning agent
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica): Recognized historically for its calming, purifying properties and is used to benefit the skin and tissues near the surface of the skin. It also helps calm nervous tension, and benefits the digestive system. The oil with the highest percentage of sesquiterpenes, Cedarwood supplies oxygen to tissues and erases DNA damage; just another weapon in our battle against cancer.
  • Ceteareth-20: a synthetic lotion stabiliser
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: gives lotion a rich, creamy feel
  • Chamomile Extract (Chamomillia Recutita): a natural flower extract that relieves and calms the skin
  • Chelidonium Majus Extract (Celandine Extract): a natural ingredient known to moisturize skin
  • Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum): among the most antiseptic essential oils with a high antioxidant rating. It has been produced in Sri Lanka for over 2,000 years. Invigorates and rejuvenates mind and body.
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea): supports the cells. It contains natural estriol, a phytoestrogen. Relaxing, sweet scent, used as a toning and sedating scent/oil especially for women. Also seems to help digestive and glandular problems.
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): one of the most antiseptic essential oils. Eugenol, its principal constituent, is used synthetically in the dental industry for the numbing of gums. Most powerful of the antioxidants and a wonderful aid to the immune system.
  • Coriander (cilantro) (Coriandrum sativum) oil has been researched at Cairo University for its effects in supporting pancreatic function. It also has soothing, calming properties.
  • Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract: a natural ingredient known to quench dry skin
  • Cylcopentasiloxane: a synthetic silicone that gives lotions and creams a smooth feel
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens): one of the oils most used to support the circulatory system.
  • Diethylene Glycol: An organic, highly toxic compound widely used in solvents. Has been found in some toothpastes.
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens): has been researched at Cairo University for its supportive effects on pancreatic function. It is used in European hospitals.
  • DMDM Hydantoin: a synthetic antimicrobial preservative
  • DBP (Dibutyl Pthalate): a chemical plasticizer used commonly in nail polishes, now banned in Europe in the use of cosmetics
  • Ethanolamine: A chemical used in the purification of petroleum, as a solvent in dry cleaning, and as an ingredient in paints, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: a synthetic preservative used as an alternative to parabens, can cause eye irritation
  • Eucalyptus Globulus: Contains a high percentage of the compound eucalyptol, a key ingredient in many antiseptic mouth rinses. Often used for the respiratory system. Has a pungent, camphor-like aroma used traditionally to expel mucus and fortify the respiratory system. DO NOT use with children under 5 or asthmatics.
  • Eucalyptus Radiata: One of the most versatile of the eucalyptus oils, is suitable for topical use, diffusing, and even direct inhalation. Relatively gentle and nonirritating.
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is antiseptic and stimulating to the circulatory and respiratory systems.
  • Formaldehyde: a chemical used in many nail polishes. Exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health due to it’s toxicity in large quantities
  • Frankincense: now being researched and used therapeutically in European hospitals. High in sesquiterpenes, it is stimulating and elevating to the mind and helps in overcoming stress and despair as well as supporting the immune system. Comforting, centering, and elevating; long associated with spirituality, the sesquiterpenes help to erase DNA damage and supply oxygen to tissues
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens): used for centuries for skin care. Its strength lies in the ability to revitalize tissue. It is excellent for the skin, and its aromatic influence helps release negative memories. Also used for glandular and reproductive systems, with some benefits to the nervous system. Used by skin care specialists in restoring balance between oily and dry skin and hair.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale): used to combat nausea, vomiting, or dizziness associated with motion sickness and has been studied for its gentle, stimulating effects.
  • Glyceryl Stearate: a natural ingredient derived from palm kernal or soy oil that gives lotions and creams a lasting, stable consistency
  • Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil: a natural ingredient that maintains moisture balance in the skin
  • Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis): supports the circulatory system, urinary tract, and liver function. It has relaxing and calming effects.
  • Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi): works as a mild disinfectant. Especially helpful for the urinary system, and when trying to lose weight. Benefits the nervous system during stressful situations. Diffuse for a refreshing, uplifting aroma. Like many cold-pressed citrus oils, it has unique fat-dissolving characteristics.
  • Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum): studied in Europe for regenerating tissue and improving skin conditions, nerves, and circulation. It is best known for its effect on bruises, wounds and other injuries, as well as for reducing pain. Also, known as an excellent cell regenerator and helps reduce formation of scar tissue.
  • Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil: a natural ingredient that softens, moisturises and promotes healthy skin
  • Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil: maintains moisture balance in the skin
  • Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides: a natural conditioning ingredient
  • Hyrdogenated Palm Kernal Glycerides: a natural skin conditioner
  • Hydroxyethyl cellulose – a modified cellulose polymer, cellulose is a naturally occurring component found in the cell walls of plants, used as thickening agent
  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale): an “absolute” extracted from the flower and is an essence rather than an essential oil. It is good for sensitive skin and can also be uplifting and stimulating. Considered an aphrodisiac for centuries, Jasmine supports the nervous system and is helpful for women going through menopause.
  • Jojoba Esters (Jojoba Oil): a natural moisturiser
  • Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma): may work as a detoxifier and cleanser that also benefits the skin. It has also been used to support proper nerve function.
  • Laminaria Digitata (Sea Kelp): a natural source of iodine, promotes healthy skin and hair, prevents moisture loss
  • Lanolin: a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep and used extensively in products designed for the protection and treatment of human skin. Can contain high levels of pesticides. However medical grade lanolin is deemed to be one of the most suitable ingredients to add to babycare products thanks to it’s natural lipids which help regulate the rate of trans-epidermal water loss and govern the hydration state of the skin.
  • Laurus Nobilis: An essential oil used for fragrance in cosmetics and perfumes. Ancient Greeks and Romans used leaves of the laurel tree to crown their victors. Both leaves and berries were used to improve appetite and calm digestion. Laurus nobilis has antiseptic properties.
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract: the most versatile of all essential oils. Therapeutic-grade lavender has been highly regarded for the skin. The French scientist Rene Gattefosse was the first to discover these properties when he severely burned his hands in a laboratory explosion. Lavender has also been clinically evaluated for its relaxing effects. It may be used to cleanse cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. The fragrance is calming, relaxing, and balancing — physically and emotionally. Makes an excellent rub for sprains, strains, and sore muscles (used in a carrier oil) and goes well mixed with Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca). Can be taken internally (1 to 3 drops in a cup of water) for headaches and even migraines.
  • Lecithin: a natural emulsifier and lubricant
  • Lemon (Citrus limon): has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and contains compounds that have been studied for their effects on immune function, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems. Diffuse or add a few drops to a spray bottle to deodorize and sterilize the air. Add two drops to soy or rice milk for purification or combine with peppermint (Mentha piperita) to provide a refreshing lift. Use for removing gum, oil, or grease spots. CAUTION: Citrus oils should NOT be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight or ultraviolet light within 72 hours.
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) is used for purification and digestion.
  • Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil: a natural binding agent and moisturiser
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is used for supporting the muscles and the respiratory system. It assists in calming the nerves and is antiseptic.
  • Melaleuca (Alternifolia) Highly regarded as an antiseptic essential oil. Has high levels of terpinenol, which is the key active constituent. Famous for its beneficial effects on immune system; excellent disinfectant and cleaners. Tea tree oil has been highly praised for a wide variety of healing uses. Some people find the oil irritating when used full strength and need to dilute it with oil, but many people use it straight on athlete’s foot, insect bites, arthritis pain, burns, cuts, nail fungus warts and sprains. You might wish to first test your sensitivity. If a rash develops using a small amount, you can dilute with a carrier oil (olive, almond, etc) Diffuse or apply topically. Safe for use on children and pets.
  • Melaleuca (Ericifola) (formerly known as Australian Rosalina) is a relatively unknown essential oil with antiseptic and calming properties. This variety of melaleuca oil is exceptionally gentle and nonirritating to the skin and is used by the well-known essential oil researcher Daniel Penoel, M.D., to support the respiratory system. Diffuse or apply topically on location or to the temples, wrists, throat, face, and chest. For a whole body massage, dilute four to eight drops in 30 ml of carrier oil. Add several drops to bath water.
  • Melissa Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Water: a natural ingredient known to refresh skin
  • Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Water: a natural ingredient that gives a refreshing cooling sensation
  • Menthol: an organic compound derives from peppermint that provides a cooling, refreshing sensation
  • Mineral Oil: a low- toxicity by-product of petroleum. Widely used in skin care, baby lotions and make up. A common concern regarding it use it that it is comedogenic (blocks pores) so it not suitable for use on acne prone skin.
  • Myristyl Myristate: a natural vegetable derived ingredient that enhances the silky feel of lotions and creams
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha): has one of the highest levels of sesquiterpenes, a class of compounds that has direct effects on the hypothalamus, pituitary, and amygdala, the seat of our emotions. Myrrh is widely used today in oral hygiene products. It is emotionally strengthening and empowering; prized since ancient times; antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory; has traditionally been used for aging skin (not for use during pregnancy).
  • Myrtle (25% monoterpenes) has been researched by Dr. Daniel Penoel for its effects on hormonal imbalances of the thyroid and ovaries. It has also been researched for its soothing effects on the respiratory system. Myrtle may help with chronic coughs and respiratory tract ailments. Apply topically, diffuse, or use in a humidifier. Suitable for use on children.
  • Neroli Fresh, floral aroma brightens spirits and clears the mind. Supports the body under stress and enhances skin tone.
  • Nutmeg (Myristic fragrans) helps support the adrenal glands for increased energy. Historically, it has been used to benefit circulation and muscle aches and pains. It also helps to support the nervous system and may assist in overcoming nervous fatigue. Apply topically mixed with Massage Oil Base.
  • Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil: a natural skin conditioning agent
  • Opuntia Vulgaris Extract (Cactus Extract): a natural extract known to nourish and enrich skin
  • Orange (Citrus sinensis): brings peace and happiness to the mind and body. It has been recognized to help a dull, oily complexion. Diffuse or apply topically on location, or add to food or soy or rice milk as a dietary supplement or flavoring. CAUTION: Citrus oils should NOT be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight or ultraviolet light within 72 hours
  • Padina Pavonica (brown algae): a natural algae, has properties similar to those of young human skin. Boosts the protective action of anti-oxidants and anti-irritants as well as helping maintain cell vitality (for firmness and suppleness).
  • Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5): a natural ingredient that moisturizes and smoothes skin
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin): beneficial for the skin and may help prevent wrinkled or chapped skin. It is a general tonic and stimulant, helps the digestive system, fighting candida (yeast) infections, and benefits the nervous and glandular systems. It has antiseptic properties and helps relieve itching.
  • PEG-100 Stearate: a natural fatty acid that cleans the skin and hair by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed away.
  • Pentylene Glycol – Organic compound. Humectant with moisture-binding and antimicrobial properties
  • Pepper, Black (Piper nigrum): a stimulating, energizing essential oil that has been studied for its effects on cellular oxygenation. It has been used for soothing deep tissue muscle aches and pains.
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita): one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for soothing digestion. Jean Valnet, M.D., studied peppermint’s effect on the liver and respiratory systems. Other scientists have also researched peppermint’s role in affecting impaired taste and smell when inhaled. Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati studied peppermint’s ability to improve concentration and mental accuracy. Alan Hirsch, M.D., studied peppermint’s ability to directly affect the brain’s satiety center, which triggers a sense of fullness after meals. It is beneficial to the sinuses and muscular system, and especially useful for women during monthly cycles or menopause. Diffuse. Massage on the stomach or add to water or tea for supporting normal digestion. Apply to bottom of feet to cool off on a hot day. Rub on temples for a calming effect, or place several drops on the tongue as an invigorating pick-me-up. A wonderful flavoring and preservative. Avoid contact with eyes, mucous membranes, or sensitive skin areas. DO NOT apply neat to a fresh wound or burn.
  • Phenoxyethanol: an organic compound used as a preservative & bactericide
  • Phytosterols: are a group of steroid alcohols, phytochemicals naturally occurring in plants. There is research showing that the high lipid content of phytosterols can make the skin extremely sensitive to light
  • Polyglyceryl-10: a synthetic polymer used as a moisturizing ingredient
  • Polysorbate 20 – An emulsifier and surfactant derived from coconut oil, but chemically processed.
  • Propylene Glycol: A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In the skin and hair, propylene glycol works as a humescent, which causes retention of moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
  • Punica Granatum Extract (Pomegranate Extract): a natural ingredient known to fight skin damaging elements that promote ageing
  • Retinol: the animal form of vitamin A, can also be produced synthetically. Used widely in anti-ageing products.
  • Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A): a natural ingredient known to nourish skin
  • Rosa Canina Fruit Extract (Rosehips Extract): a natural ingredient known to clarify skin
  • Rose (Rosa damascena): has a beautiful fragrance that is intoxicating and aphrodisiac-like. Rose helps bring balance and harmony. In his clinical practice, Dr. Penoel uses this oil for the skin. It is stimulating and elevating to the mind, creating a sense of well-being. It has been called the Queen of oils for women’s concerns, establishing harmony throughout the body no matter what life brings. It is also great for circulation and skin care.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been researched for its antiseptic properties. It may be beneficial for the skin and for helping overcome mental fatigue. Beneficial for the circulatory, nervous, and muscular system. Has a history of use over the centuries for hair and skin. NOT TO BE used with high blood pressure or epilepsy.
  • Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) is soothing and nourishing to the skin. It has been researched at Weber State University for its inhibition rate against gram positive and gram negative bacterial growth.
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been used in Europe for numerous skin conditions. It has been recognized for its benefits of strengthening the vital centers and supporting metabolism. It may also help coping with despair and mental fatigue.
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album): high in sesquiterpenes and has been researched in Europe for its ability to oxygenate a part of the brain known as the pineal gland, the seat of our emotions. The pineal gland is responsible for releasing melatonin, a powerful hormone that enhances deep sleep. Sandalwood is similar to frankincense oil in its support of nerves and circulation. It was used traditionally for skin revitalization, yoga, and meditation, and has been found to help remove negative programming from the cells. Also traditionally used for urinary and respiratory systems.
  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii): a natural ingredient that provides an occlusive barrier to protect and revitalise dry, rough skin
  • Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil: a natural moisturiser
  • Sodium Bicarbonate: a non toxic chemical compound used in toothpastes, neutralises and remineralises
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: the salt of hyaluronic acid which is found naturally in the skin. Helps skin absorb more water more effectively and reduces any sort of trans-epidermal water loss.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: a synthetic ingredient that maintains pH levels in lotions and creams
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: a foaming agent used in cleaning products, body and skin care, toothpastes. Can cause skin and eye irritation and mouth ulcers.
  • Soy Extracts: contain a high concentration of vitamin E. Non-toxic, but some people highly allergic to soy extracts.
  • Soy Lecithin: often found in eye drops as a lubricant.
  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata): helps support the respiratory and nervous systems. It may help open and release emotional blocks and bring about a feeling of balance.
  • Tangerine (Citrus nobilis) is a calming essential oil. It helps with anxiety and nervousness.
  • Tapioca Starch: a natural ingredient that gives skin a soft feel
  • Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter: a natural moisturiser and skin softener
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is one of the most antiseptic essential oils and very high in antioxidant rating. It contains thymol, which has been studied for its effect on gingivitis and plaque-causing organisms in the mouth. It may be beneficial in helping to overcome fatigue and exhaustion. Sharp and woody aroma, helps improve circulatory, immune, skeletal, respiratory and nervous systems; anti-microbial use for infections and disinfectant use; dilute with water to clean and disinfect surfaces; especially good to use in a sickroom; makes a good massage oil as it stimulates circulation and can be used to clean burns and wounds; inhaled, it aids in asthma attacks and is a good choice if you are recovering from pneumonia.
  • Tocopherol: an organic compound with vitamin E properties
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate): antioxidant which helps improve skin appearance
  • Toluene: a toxic solvent used in many nail polishes
  • Trideceth-9: gives lotion a rich creamy consistency
  • Triethanolamine – A strongly alkaline substance used as surfactant and pH adjusting chemical.
  • Vaccinium Angustifolia (Blueberry) Fruit Extract: a natural, powerful source of antioxidants
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a root that has been used for thousands of years for its calming, relaxing, grounding, and emotionally balancing influences. During the last three decades, it has been clinically investigated for its tranquilizing properties. Researchers have pinpointed the sesquiterpenes valerenic acid and valerone as the active constituents that exert a calming effect on the central nervous system. German health authorities have pronounced valerian to be an effective treatment for restlessness and for sleep disturbances resulting from nervous conditions.
  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zanioides): has a heavy, earthy fragrance similar to patchouli with a touch of lemon. Young Living’s vetiver oil is hydro-diffused under ultra-low pressure. Vetiver oil is psychologically grounding, calming, and stabilizing. Vetiver may help us cope with stress and recover from emotional traumas and shocks.
  • Vitamin E: a powerful natural antioxidant
  • Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil: a natural ingredient known to relieve stressed skin and improve skin moisture barrier
  • Western Red Cedar Referred to as the “Tree of Life.” It has antiseptic properties, is nourishing to the skin, and helps promote a sense of calmness.
  • White Fir (Albies grandis) is an essential oil with antiseptic properties.
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria prcumbens) contains the same active ingredient (methyl salicylate) as birch and is beneficial for massage associated with bone, muscle, and joint discomfort.
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) may be extremely effective in calming, balancing (the nervous system) and bringing about a sense of relaxation. Its soft, floral scent is often used in men’s fragrances as an alternative to the sweeter and more feminine rose. Ylang Ylang affects the glandular system, great for hair and skin, stimulates adrenal glands, but at the same time can be used for insomnia and pain. Has been known to have good results for impotence and frigidity. Taken internally, it has been said to lower blood pressure, alleviate problems with PMS, and ease intestinal infections. For depression, rub a drop or two between your palms and inhale the warm aroma.
  • Yogurt: softens skin and rebalances natural pH levels
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gawain November 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Hi,
I’m glad I found your article. I know you add a lot of time and energy into them. The written ideas you shared have expanded my knowledge and inspired me to learn more about the subject.

Mlle Nature November 23, 2012 at 7:07 am

Hello,

Nice blog… i am also a fan of orhanic skincare beauty products. Great attempts for this post but many of the coumpounds your have listed are not that “natural”…….

Have a nice day.x

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