- Feb 17, 2004
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Acetic Acid Found in vinegar, fruits, dairy products, and cocoa, this astringent -- when diluted -- has bleaching properties and is used in whitening lotions and haircolor formulas. Acrylates Copolymer An acrylic acid derivative, this fake nail component is also used as a binder and suspending ingredient in nail polishes and hair fixatives. It also is used in skin cleansers and makeup for its oil-absorbing properties. Alcohol Denat (aka Denatured Alcohol) The European name for SD alcohol, it is ethyl alcohol made undrinkable for legal use in cosmetics. It acts as a solvent, disinfectant, and freshening agent in skin care products and a solvent in fragrance oils. Algae A mineral-packed simple seaweed, algae is often included in skin care products as a potential moisturizer and wrinkle prevention treatment. Allantoin These crystals are diluted into skin creams and lotions for their ability to heal by stimulating tissue growth. Almond Oil Extracted from the nut, this oil is a common moisturizer in skin care products. Aloe Vera Frequently applied to burns, this super-healing plant extract has been used for generations to moisturize and soften skin. Alpha Hydroxcy Acid (AHA) Active exfoliators that remove the top, dead layer of skin cells, thus increasing your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Althea This soothing plant root derivative is used as an emollient and moisturizer in skin care products. Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate This pink powder is an antiseptic used in lotions, astringents, and deodorants. May cause allergic reactions. Aminomethyl Propanol This alcohol-based ingredient is used in creams and lotions as an emulsifier. Ammonium Cocoyl Isethionate A natural coconut oil derivative, this mild surfactant creates the bubbles in bubble baths and lather in body wash. Ammonium Hydroxide This pungent liquid is used to balance the acidity of hair treatments and skin creams. Also known as Ammonia Water. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate This salt compound breaks down impurities for easier cleaning from skin and hair. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate This salt, a natural coconut alcohol derivative, is a mild surfactant used in rinseable skin cleansers Ammonium Persulfate This ammonium salt is used as a bleach in hair dyes and skin whitening products. Avocado Oil< This organic emollient and carrier oil is used in makeup, moisturizers, and creams for its high levels of fat and vitamins A and C. It is also among the most effective naturally-derived sunscreens. Balm Mint Extract This soothing tree extract, used in skin care products and cosmetics, has antibacterial and healing benefits. Also used for its strong aroma in other beauty products Beeswax Yellow or white, it is derived from virgin bees and is primarily used in skin care products and makeup as an emulsifier. Behentrimonium Chloride This synthetic ammonium compound is used in skin care, hair care, and cosmetic products as a preservative, deodorant, or antiseptic. Bentonite This white clay is an important makeup ingredient -- it absorbs oil and reduces shine. It is also used to thicken cosmetics and skin care products and to emulsify oils and masks. Benzophenone Frequently used as a fixative in fragrances, soaps, sunscreens, and hairsprays, its ability to absorb UV rays helps prevent other cosmetic ingredients from deteriorating. Benzoyl Peroxide This antibacterial is the active ingredient in anti-acne treatments, physically forcing clogs and infections from the pores. BHT An antioxidant and preservative in cosmetics. Short for Butylated Hydroxytoluene. Bismuth Oxychloride This chemical is a coloring and pearlizing agent in makeup and nail polishes. Burdock The roots, seeds, and leaves of this plant contain an essential oil used in beauty products for its soothing effects on the skin. It is also an astringent and antibacterial agent. Butane This gas is used as an aerosol or propellant in sprays and mousses to even out their dispersal. Butyl Acetate This colorless liquid solvent is commonly used in nail polish and nail polish remover. Butyl Stearate This synthetic acid is used as a binding ingredient as well as a wetting agent in makeup and nail care products. Butylene Glycol This humectant is used in hairsprays for its resistance to humidity. C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate A derivative of benzoic acid and alcohol, this chemical is a fatty acid that is frequently used in soaps, bubble baths, and cosmetics. Calcium Carbonate Otherwise known as chalk, this acid-balancing ingredient is used in cosmetics to de-shine talc, and add white to makeup and face powder. Calcium Hydroxide Also known as limewater or lye, this chemical astringent is used for its alkalinity in depilatories, skin creams, and hair relaxers. Camphor This tree distillate is a common preservative in cosmetics, hair care products, emollients, and astringents. Another use: It leaves the skin feeling cool and fresh. Candelilla Wax This derivative of the candelilla plant prevents moisture loss in emollients and gives body to liquid and solid cosmetics. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Occuring naturally in coconut oil, these emollient glycerin mixtures are used in cosmetics, hair products, and bath oils to evenly spread pigment. Carbomer This family of acidic powders works as an emulsifier and thickener in cosmetics. Carnauba Wax from this Brazilian palm is widely used in cosmetics and deodorants as a firming and texturizing agent. It also can form a protective layer on the skin's surface. Castor Oil Extracted from beans of the castor oil plant, this is a highly common ingredient in lipsticks, bath oils, nail care products, and fragrances. Ceresin This beeswax substitute is used in cosmetics and protective creams to regulate viscosity. Cetearyl Alcohol This alcohol derivative is an emollient and emulsion stabilizer used in skin lotions, hairstyling creams, and deodorants. Cetearyl Isononandate A synthetic wax, this emollient is used in shampoos, hair treatments, makeup, and skin care products as an emulsifier and texturizer. Cetearyl Octanoate This palm kernel or coconut oil derivative is an emollient used for its high water repellency. Cetyl Acetate This alcohol derivative is an emollient and emulsion stabilizer used in skin lotions, hairstyling creams, and deodorants. Cetyl Alcohol An emollient, waxy solid used in lotions, creams, hair care products, nail care products, and oils. Cetyl Dimethicone This silicone-based emollient is frequently used in moisturizers as well as foundations, lipsticks, and eye makeups for its skin conditioning potential. Cetyl Esters Commonly found in shampoos, hair dyes, cosmetics, hand creams, and lotions, these waxes act as stabilizers and thickeners. Cetyl Octanoate This alcohol and acid compound is used as a moisturizer in emollients and cosmetics, especially lipsticks. Chamomile Extracts from this plant are used in skin care products for their moisturizing, antiseptic, and refreshing benefits. The flower is used in hair care products and skin fresheners for its essence, and is also added to blond color-enhancing products as a brightener. Chitosan Found in shellfish shells, algae, and yeast, it is used as an anti-aging agent in skin care because of its remarkable skin-healing abilities, and as a colorant in tanning and hair care products. Citric Acit It makes sense that this fruit acid is among the most widely used acids found in cosmetics -- it is an antioxidant, astringent, and preservative. Citric acid frequently appears in makeup, bleach, bath product, cleansing cream, and hair product formulas. Cocamide This coconut oil fatty acid is commonly used as a thickener and foam regulator in shampoos and bath and shower products. Cocamidopropyl Betaine Frequently used in hair conditioners, this salt is derived from fatty acids and actually repels static as it cleans hair. Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine This common skin cleanser and hair care product ingredient is a blend of coconut oil, a natural ingredient effectively used for lathering and cleansing. Cocoa Butter This lotion and cream ingredient softens and lubricates the skin and may prevent and improve stretch marks if applied regularly. Also used as a moisturizer in soap to counteract drying effects. Coconut Oil This coconut kernel extract is a natural lathering and cleansing ingredient, and is often blended with other fats. Frequently found in skin cleansers, oils, and moisturizers, as well as hair care and nail care products. Corn Oil This moderately emollient vegetable oil is used as a carrier in nail care and hair care products and moisturizers. Corn Starch This water-absorbent corn kernel derivative is used as a thickener in cosmetics and skin care products. Another benefit: It can soothe your skin. Cyclomethicone A form of silicone widely used in hair and skin care products, deodorants, lotions, gels, and cosmetics for its smooth consistency Decyl Glucoside This sugar-based compound is a surfactant used as a mild foaming agent in soap. Decyl Oleate An emollient in manicure products, cosmetics, and lotions, it penetrates easily and increases the spreadability of products. Decyl Polyglucose This mild foaming ingredient is also used in skin care products to encourage water absorption. Denatured Alcohol Otherwise known as Alcohol Denat or SD alcohol, this undrinkable version is used as a solvent, disinfectant, and freshening agent in skin care products and as a fragrance oil solvent Dibutyl Phthalate This colorless liquid, which denatures alcohol for cosmetic use, is a plasticizer in manicure products, an emollient in hair resins, and an antifoam ingredient in other cosmetics. Dicetyldimonium Chloride Used as a preservative in cosmetics, skin care, hair care, and nail care products. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) Used in sunless tanning lotions, this chemical color additive is the magical one that "tans" your skin upon application. Dimethicone This silicone derivative is an oil used as a protectant in skin care products and a detangling and shining agent in hair care products. Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate Used in cosmetics as a surfactant, this mild ingredient makes skin care formulations suitable for sensitive skins DMDM Hydantoin This synthetic preservative is used to lengthen the life of hair care products and bath and shower gels. Emulsifying Wax NF An ingredient in moisturizers, skin creams, and sunscreens, this emulsifying wax has the NF (National Formulary) abbreviation denoting quality compliance. Essential Oil The oily liquid obtained from plants through a variety of processes. The essential oil usually has the taste and smell of the original plant. The use of essential oils as preservatives is ancient. A large number of oils have antiseptic, germicidal, and preservative action when used in fragrances and skincare products. No known toxicity when used on the skin, but essential oils can cause illness, perhaps even death, if ingested. Ethanol This antibacterial and antiseptic -- also called ethyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol -- is commonly used in nail polishes, face masks, body washes, astringents, hair care products, and other beauty products. Can be used as a preservative in high concentrations. Ethoxydiglycol This water absorbent liquid solvent is used in nail polish thinner, hair lighteners, conditioners, and in some makeup. Ethyl Acetate Naturally found in berries and tropical fruits, this ingredient is used in perfumes for its fruit essence and in nail care products as a solvent.Naturally found in berries and tropical fruits, this ingredient is used in perfumes for its fruit essence and in nail care products as a solvent. Ethyl Alcohol This antibacterial and antiseptic, also called rubbing alcohol, is commonly used in nail polishes, face masks, body washes, astringents, hair care products, and other beauty products. It is also a preservative when added in high concentrations. FD&C Yellow No. 5 This coal tar derivative is a colorant in hair products and bath salts. Glycerin Absorbs moisture from the atmosphere to help keep moisture in creams and other cosmetics. Glyceryl Stearate A glycerin-based emulsifier, this conditioning ingredient is common in skin care products, makeup, and manicure products. Glycol Distearate This glycerin derivative is widely used to make cosmetics opaque. Glycolic Acid Derived from sugarcane juice and fruit, this exfoliant is used in anti-wrinkle products as a skin peel and helps to balance pH in skin creams and cosmetics. Grape Seed Oil This natural antioxidant is an anti-aging moisturizer in skin care, hair care, and nail care products. Hibiscus Flower Extracts from this botanical -- all 200 varieties -- are highly astringent ingredients in skin care products used to tighten skin without stripping it of natural oils. Homosalate Short for Homomenthyl Salicylate. This chemical UV absorber is frequently used in suntan oils and sunscreens. Hydrated Silica The most common use of this white powder, combined with water, is to prevent caking in loose powders. Hydrogen Peroxide This ingredient is frequently used in skin care products as an antiseptic, in hair care products as an oxidizing agent, and in cosmetics as a skin-bleacher. Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides These hydrogen-infused palm kernel oil derivatives are frequently used in makeup and hair care products as emulsifiers and consistency regulators. Hydrolyzed Collagen This processed protein is a beauty super-ingredient. It is used in skin creams, nail care products, and hair treatments as a hydrator. It forms a film on the skin, preventing natural water loss for soft, smooth effects. Isobutane This colorless natural gas constituant is used as a cosmetic spray propellant. Commonly found in hairsprays Isodecyl Oleate An emollient, this acid/alcohol compound is used in skin care products for its potential to moisturize away fine lines. Isononyl Isononanoate This acid/alcohol compound is used as a fruit flavoring in lipsticks. Isopropyl Alcohol An antibacterial used in lotions and makeup. It is also a common solvent in hair care products and deodorants. Isopropyl Isostearate Frequently used in skin care products and makeup, this acid-based emollient adds oil for spreadability and can leave the skin smooth. Isopropyl Lanolate This skin-softening lanolate derivative effectively encourages water penetration and pigment dispersion in cosmetics, nail care products, and emollients. Isopropyl Myristate Fatty lubricant and emollient used for its spreading ability in lotions, bath oils, sunscreens, and aerosols. Also used in fragrances for its solubility. Isopropyl Palmitate This emollient is commonly used in lotions, fragrances, cosmetics, and nail and hair care products as a binding agent. Jojoba Oil This penetrating oil extracted from the American desert shrub is versatile. It is a conditioner in hair care products, a moisturizer in anti-aging and anti-stretch mark creams, and a spreading agent in makeup and nail care products. Kaolin This white clay powder is used in face, baby, and bath powders as well as cosmetics for its absorbency and high degree of coverage. Lanolin Widely used as a natural emulsifier in eye and face makeup, lipsticks, and skin and hair care products, this absorbent wax derives from the oil glands of sheep. Lanonlin Alcohol This lanolin derivative (that's less of an allergen than pure lanolin) is an effective emulsifier and emollient commonly used in cosmetics, cleansers, depilatories, and moisturizers. Lauramide DEA Used in soaps to increase foam and in cosmetics as a thickener, this lauric acid mixture is derived from coconut oil fatty acids. Laureth-23 This skin gel ingredient acts as an emulsifier, emulsion stabilizer, and agent to help water penetrate the skin's surface. Lauroyl Lysine This skin conditioner is used in powders, foundation, and lipsticks. Linseed Oil A flaxseed derivative, this oil is added to creams, emollients, and soaps to make them soothing. Macadamia Nut Oil This gentle oil derives from the nut of this evergreen tree. It is used as a spreadable emollient in skin care products, and replaces oils that have naturally decreased with time to aged or dry skin. Mica Crystallized mineral frequently ground into cosmetics to add a pearly glow to skin and nails. Microcrystalline Wax This petroleum-based beeswax substitute is a common emulsifying ingredient in nail polishes, moisturizers, and cosmetics. Mineral Oil This emollient, petroleum-based lubricant is widely used in hair and skin care products, cosmetics, and sun lotions. Myristyl Myristate This absorbent coconut oil derivative is used in moisturizers, creams, and makeup -- particularly foundations and lipsticks -- for its spreadability. Nitrocellulose Frequently used in skin creams and nail care products, this natural solid originates from the cell walls of plants. Nylon This versatile synthetic -- the same as the one in your stockings -- is common in mascara to thicken and lengthen the appearance of eyelashes. Also added to cosmetics as an opacifier. Octyl Methoxycinnamate A UV light absorber, this oil-soluble chemical is frequently used in sunscreens and other skin and hair care products. Octyl Palmitate This alcohol and acid compound is a common emollient in shaving creams, moisturizing creams, and makeup, especially lipstick. Octyl Salicylate Salicylates are antiseptic salts that protect against the sun. They are found naturally in nuts, fruits, and vegetables. This one is used as a sunscreen in cosmetics and hair and skin care products. Octyldodecanol This emollient alcohol is a common ingredient in cosmetics, moisturizers, deodorants, and nail care products as an emulsifier, opacifier, and water absorption agent. It is also a hair conditioner. Oxybenzone This UV absorber is used in sunscreens and protective lip balms as well as anti-aging creams and lotions. Ozokerite This waxy mineral is a common emulsifier and thickener in cosmetics, especially lipstick and liquid blush. Panthenol This super-ingredient is a derivative of vitamin B5. It moisturizes the skin, thickens, shines, and detangles hair, and even strengthens nails. Paraffin This waxlike ingredient is commonly used to regulate consistency in oils, creams, depilatories, and cosmetics. PEG-100 Stearate Common in scrubs, masks, depilatories, and emollients, this acid derivative stabilizes, emulsifies, cleanses, and allows water to easily penetrate the skin's surface. PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil This waxy ingredient is used as an emulsifier and softener in liquid cosmetics like fragrances, nail products, lipsticks, and creams. It is a version of Polyethylene Glycol. Petrolatum Also known as petroleum jelly, this water-retentive ingredient makes lipsticks shiny and skin creams smooth. Also used in many other makeup, skin care, and body products Phenyl Trimethicone This silicone oil is used as a gloss and protectorant in skin and hair products, also acting as a detangler for hair. Polybutene This petroleum derivative is used in cosmetics as a lubricating oil. Polyquaternium Formulations in this family of ammonium compounds are frequently used in hair products for several reasons: They reduce static, texturize, increase body, detangle, and add elasticity. Polysorbate An entire family of emulsifiers, the polysorbates are frequently found in cosmetic creams, sunscreens, and lotions and are commonly used to stabilize essential oils in water. Polysorbate 60 This compound is used as an emulsifier and wetting agent in cosmetics, lotions, creams, and hair care products. Propane This gas is a common propellant in hairsprays and cosmetic aerosols. Propylene Carbonate This clear liquid, commonly found in makeup and nail care products, is an effective solvent and diluting agent. Propylene Glycol This fluid is the most common carrier of moisture in cosmetics besides water. Also used in deodorants, suntan lotions, and hair and skin care products. PVP This ingredient is used as a carrier base in emollient skin care products and cosmetics and is used in hair care products to volumize, texturize, give hold, and increase elasticity. Short for Polyvinylpyrrolidone. PVP/VA Copolymer</TD> This vinyl derivative is used in hairsprays to add shine, hold, and elasticity to hair. Quaternium-18 Hectorite This thickening gel is used in skin care products to improve the feel of skin creams. Rosemary This herb is used in skin care products as an astringent and in hair care products to stimulate growth. It is also used for its natural essence in fragrances. Safflower Oil This oil is added to cosmetics, nail care products, and hair care products for its skin softening abilities. Salicylic Acid This natural or synthetic antiseptic is commonly used in exfoliants and cleansers -- especially anti-acne and anti-aging products. SD Alcohol Used as a liquifier in hair care products such as gels, mousse, and hairspray. Sesame Oil Sesame seeds, harvested from an East Indian herb, yield an oil that is used in cosmetics as a skin softener and hair conditioner. Shea Butter This super-moisturizing natural fat -- also known as karite butter -- is used in emollients and cosmetics to protect the skin from weathering and dehydration. It is also a hair treatment ingredient. Silica This white powder, the origin of silicone, is used as an absorbent in skin creams and a volumizer and thickener in hair care products. Silicone A water-repellant oil, this silica derivative is used in hair products to coat the hair shaft, in skin products as a lubricant, and in nail products to add shine. Sodium Bicarbonate This inorganic alkaline salt -- also known as baking soda -- is often used as a skin smoothing ingredient, buffering agent, and acid neutralizer in bath products and antiseptics. Sodium Chloride Otherwise known as table salt, it is also used as a preservative, astringent, and antiseptic in bath salts, soaps, and some hair and skin cleansers. It increases a liquid's viscosity. Sodium Laureth Sulfate This salt is commonly used in shampoos as a lathering and cleansing ingredient. Sodium Frequently used in cleansers and moisturizers, this surfactant is an especially mild wetting agent that is common in products for sensitive skin. Sorbitol Found naturally in fruits, this humectant is common in hairsprays, nail products, and face masks, and sometimes replaces glycerin in skin creams. Squalene This liquid, present in olive oil, grain oils, and shark oil, is used in creams, lotions, and cosmetics as a potent moisturizer. Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine This conditioning compound is used in cleansers for its mildness. It is a surfactant that helps the skin absorb moisture Stearic Acid A common ingredient in deodorants, soaps, and skin and hair care products, this fatty acid exists naturally in butter acids and animal fats. Sunflower Seed Oil This natural oil, full of vitamin E, which helps build skin tissue, is used in soaps and other skin care products as a potential anti-aging ingredient and carrier oil with smoothing properties. Talc The main ingredient of many liquid and powder cosmetics and skin care products, talc texturizes and absorbs moisture. It is the powderized form of mineral magnesium silicate. Tea Tree Oil It does a bit of everything. Considered a natural preservative in beauty products, it is used frequently as an antiseptic and an acne remedy in skin treatments and a camphor-like ingredient in aromatherapy products. TEA-Stearate A moisture absorber, this Triethanolamine cream is used in a range of mattifying liquid makeups and lotions, hair care products, and baby preparations. Titanium Dioxide Mineral with two common cosmetic uses: as a UVA and UVB block in sunscreens and as a white pigment in eye makeup, face and bath powders, and nail polish. Tocopherol Otherwise known as vitamin E, this vegetable oil derivative is included in essential oils, creams, sunscreens, anti-aging serums, and lotions as an antioxidant and preservative. Toluene This common nail polish ingredient, used mainly as a solvent, is extracted from petroleum or balsam. Tridecyl Trimellitate This ingredient is used as a skin conditioner in concealers, foundations, powders, lotions, and oils. Triethanolamine This acid-neutralizing ingredient is a detergent used in shaving creams, soaps, and bath powders. Trimethylsiloxysilicate A waterproofing agent in sunscreen, it decreases the greasy feel and helps to counteract the skin whitening tendency of high SPF formulations. Vitamin A This source of retinol regulates keratin to smoothe and firm skin. As a natural exfoliator, it prevents dryness, and may have anti-aging benefits in skin care, hair care, and nail care products. Vitamin B1 Also known as thiamine HCL, it is used as an emollient in beauty products. Vitamin B2 This ingredient, otherwise known as riboflavin, accelerates chemical reactions, enhancing the performance of tan accelerators in tanning lotions. Vitamin E This favorite ingredient in essential oils, depilatories, creams, lotions, and cosmetics, improves the appearance of dry skin and is considered among the most important antioxidants and photoprotectants. It is also a preservative. Vitamin H Used in manicure and hair care products, this ingredient, also known as biotin, is claimed to have healing properties useful in fighting acne. Wheat Germ Oil This hair conditioner and skin emollient has been found to encourage collagen and elastin production and is also commonly used in manicure and lip care products. Yeast Extract Seemingly a skin care miracle, this plant- and animal-derived ingredient is claimed to moisturize skin, heal sunburns and chapped skin, restore elasticity to skin, and reduce facial lines. Zinc Stearate A mild antiseptic and coloring agent, this mixture of zinc salts is frequently used in soaps, deodorants, and skin moisturizers.