Making your beauty products’ ingredient list
easier to comprehend, one letter at a time.
Making your beauty products’
ingredient list easier to
comprehend, one letter at a time.
Named for their ability to “adapt” to your body’s needs, these nontoxic plants have long been used to help with the physical effects of stress. Common adaptogens are aloe vera, cordyceps mushrooms, ginseng & rosemary—ingredients you probably already know & love.
Notice any irritation from your deodorant? Some people with sensitive skin may experience irritation from deodorants & antiperspirants that contain aluminum. If so, just look for the “Aluminum-Free” label.
These water-soluble acids can work well for people with drier skin thanks to their ability to boost skin’s natural moisturizing function. They may also help reduce visible signs of sun damage, which can result in smoother & brighter-looking skin. Popular AHAs are mandelic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid & citric acid.
Antioxidants can help protect against free radicals & environmental factors. Vitamins A, C & E can help to protect your skin, reduce inflammation & brighten the appearance of dark spots.
Avocados are a favorite for a reason—beyond revolutionizing toast. Their oil is rich with vitamins & fatty acids, which nourish the skin & help lock in moisture. It also has antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation of damaged skin.
Originating from the South American Babassu palm fruit, this oil is filled with vitamins & fatty acids. Similar to coconut & avocado oil, it can be used to nourish dry skin & hair—lashes included.
Beeswax can create a barrier that not only protects the skin from environmental pollutants, but also acts as a humectant to seal in moisture. Not to mention, it fights bacteria that can help improve the look of acne-prone skin & its anti-inflammatory properties are soothing.
Benzoyl peroxide is an exfoliating agent that can help improve the look of acne-prone skin by clearing out pores & preventing new breakouts. Slowly work it into your regimen to avoid irritation.
BHAs are going to be your BFFs if you have acne-prone skin. The oil-soluble acid unclogs pores, which may help to reduce breakouts. The most popular type is salicylic acid, which comes from willow bark.
Ceramides are a type of waxy lipid that are insoluble in water, which lets them create a barrier over the skin that not only seals in moisture but also can help protect skin from certain environmental pollutants.
Beyond firing up the grill, charcoal is known to be incredibly absorbent. This makes it great for oilier skin types, as the charcoal can draw out impurities from the pores.
Similar to charcoal, clay is known for its ability to draw impurities out of the pores which may help detoxify the skin. Clay also has minerals that can help to nourish the skin. Pro tip: use clay masks to work on an oily T-zone.
Coconut trees have over 100 uses—skin care being one of them. The coconut’s oil is soothing, nourishing & delicious.
Naturally produced in your body, collagen contributes to skin’s elasticity & smooth texture. Supplementing your natural collagen production with skin care may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles & boost your glow.
These are products that have been manufactured & developed without animal testing.
If you thought cucumber was great in salads, just wait to hear what it does for your skin. Cucumbers contain vitamin C & lipids, which may help to brighten & nourish skin.
Instead of using artificial dyes, these products might be colored with plant-based ingredients you can actually pronounce such as beets or matcha—or not dyed at all.
Enzymes are commonly found in foods like pineapples & pumpkins. They are used in chemical peels to dissolve the surface layer of skin, which isn’t as scary as it sounds. The end result: skin appears clearer & feels smoother.
This doesn’t mean a product is unscented, but rather it’s not made with artificial scents that can irritate the skin.
A common adaptogen, ginseng is a root that helps promote the look of youthful & radiant skin. Bonus: it works for all skin types from sensitive to dry to oily. It may also help protect your skin from certain environmental pollutants.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat & certain grains. If you have a wheat sensitivity, you can rest assured these gluten-free products are safer for you to use.
Glycerin can be used as a humectant, which means it helps to retain moisture in the skin & keeps your skin hydrated.
This type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) is derived from cane sugar. It works to refine & rejuvenate skin & may help to diminish the look of acne scars, unclog pores & improve skin’s brightness.
This acid can absorb the water from moisture in the air & may help bring that moisture to your skin which can increase skin’s elasticity & reveal younger-looking skin. Stressed skin loves this ingredient.
This ingredient is known for its lightening properties, helping to reduce the appearance of pesky dark spots. Always pair it with an SPF for protection.
These products are free of common allergens, whether that be dairy, nuts or soy. However, this is not a catchall term. So, if you have a particular allergy, make sure you check the ingredients
This is a natural protein found in hair, skin & nails—it’s no surprise it’s a sought-after ingredient known to help fortify the skin, smooth & strengthen hair & also nourish & protect your nails.
If you saw “lactic” & thought milk, you were right. This acid, found in milk, fruit, veggies & other farm-grown foods, is commonly used in anti-aging skin care & chemical peels. It’s used to exfoliate & can be gentler than its fellow AHA, glycolic acid.
“Mineral” in the beauty world means your makeup is very ingredient-conscious—less filler ingredients & no chemicals, dyes or fragrances (plus natural minerals). They’re gentler, less likely to clog your pores & may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory benefits.
Aside from being a staple in your fave foods, mushrooms have a lot to offer (especially the most common adaptogens, cordyceps & reishi mushrooms). With roots in Chinese medicine dating back over 2,000 years, their health & skin care benefits are endless. They have antioxidant properties & can help reduce irritation or inflammation.
A key player in your glow recipe, niacinamides are a form of vitamin B3 that can help protect the skin’s natural barrier, reduce visible redness & prevent dehydrated & oily skin. They may also reduce the appearance of dark spots & large pores.
While oil-based beauty products can moisturize dry skin, some skin types do better with oil-free beauty. The lightweight, water-based formulas can hydrate skin without added oils that might contribute to clogged pores & acne.
To be approved for an “organic” label, brands must meet specific criteria mandated by the USDA & show that their products protect natural resources, conserve biodiversity & use only approved substances.
You may recognize this from the labels on your sun-care faves. Oxybenzone is a common chemical filter used in sunscreens to help protect skin from UVA & UVB rays.
Parabens are preservatives used to extend the shelf life of beauty products & prevent the growth of bacteria & microbes. While we all want our skin care & cosmetics to last, some go paraben-free to avoid the synthetic compound.
Peptides are chains of amino acids—building blocks that make up proteins in our bodies & collagen in our skin. When incorporated into skin care products, they can help smooth, energize & hydrate skin.
Phthalates are chemicals used in some beauty products. Certain people prefer to avoid phthalates, which is why you may see some products labeled “Phthalate-Free.”
Probiotics are live bacteria (the good kind) & yeasts that may benefit our digestive system & also are believed to help our skin flourish. They are known for their calming effects on the skin.
A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids expedite cell turnover to reduce the visual signs of aging & even skin tone. Be sure to follow instructions for use as this ingredient may cause irritation. We suggest only using these products at night & always wearing SPF the following morning.
Luxe scent aside, rose may help reduce the appearance of redness & inflammation of the skin. Plus, the natural astringent tones & revitalizes skin.
This type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) could be your BFF if you struggle with blackheads or whiteheads. It acts as a skin exfoliant to help cleanse the skin, reduce excess oils & unclog pores.
While salicylic acid may help reduce the appearance of acne for some people, others may have or may develop an allergy or sensitivity to it & will look for beauty with the “Salicylic Acid-Free” label.
Silicone smooths the look & feel of your beauty products, but some people find that it can diminish the effects of other skin care products & will seek out silicone-free products instead.
Sulfates are a common ingredient in cleansers & shampoos because they lather to clean dirt, oil & debris. They create a clean feel that we all love but have also been known to strip natural oils, which is why some seek the “Sulfate-Free” label.
Got oily skin? Skin care made with sulfur has antibacterial properties which may help cleanse skin & reduce inflammation.
This label means that the ingredients & manufacturing processes don’t contain any animal by-products, nor are they tested on animals.
When paired with other key ingredients, vitamin C is a natural skin enhancer. It can help promote firmness, even your skin’s texture & boost your glow. It is also known for providing antioxidant protection.
A natural component of healthy skin, vitamin E, in conjunction with other skin care products, may help improve skin’s appearance related to the effects of sun damage, scars & burns.
This compound is commonly used in toners & after-shave lotions for its soothing & anti-redness qualities. It tightens skin, minimizes the look of pores & reduces excess oils on the surface (so it’s great for oily & combination skin types).
Unlike chemical sunscreens, zinc oxide forms a physical barrier to block UVA & UVB rays. Physical blockers (minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) are a great way to protect your skin. Plus, they start working as soon as you put them on.
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