Acetate: an acetic acid salt, the word that follows or precedes acetate on an ingredient list determines the function

Acetone: solvent commonly used in fingernail polish removes and toners. It can be drying and irritating depending on the concentration.

Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol: an alcohol that is not drying. Helps soften skin but is highly comedogenic (causes blackheads/whiteheads)

Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 (Argirilene): amino acid that helps relax muscle tension

Acrylates Copolymer: active ingredient in an oil absorbing gel

Acrylates/Octylpropenamide Copolymer: creates a water repelling base/matrix for cosmetics claiming water proof properties

Alcohol SD-40: sometimes listed as SD Alcohol 40 and is synonymous with alcohol SDA-40, it is a high grade purified cosmetic alcohol. Evaporates instantly, so it is used as a vehicle to transport important ingredients to the skin’s surface and then leave them there; gentler to the skin than ethyl(rubbing) alcohol. May help kill bacteria.

Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) Leaf Extract: botanical extract rich in nutrients such as Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, amino acids and beta carotene.

Algae/Seaweed Extract: an emollient, restoring moisture content to the skin, claims to have antioxidant properties

Algin: also known as potassium or sodium alginate, this derivative of brown seaweed is used as a gelling and thickening agent

Allantoin: a botanical thought to have skin calming properties, possibly reduces irritation

Almond (Prunis Amygdalus) Oil: serves as an emollient and a carrier, providing an elegant skin feel and promoting product spread-ability. Very similar in composition to olive oil.

Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Lead Extract: derives from the aloe vera (true aloe) plant, one of the oldest medicinal plants known. Widely revered and used by the ancient Egyptians and Native Americans, it has remarkable healing abilities because it is a natural oxygenator (drawing and holding oxygen to the skin). For this same reason, it is one of the most effective cellular renewal ingredients available for use in cosmetics. It has a composition similar to that of human blood plasma and sea water, and because its pH is the same as human skin, it is extremely soothing and protective, and very effective in replenishing lost moisture. It is also a natural astringent.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid: an active ingredient derived from fruit acids. Helps exfoliate the top layers of the epidermis: promotes moisture restoration and helps penetration of other ingredients; highly sought after for use in anti-aging and bleaching skin care products. Buffering the pH helps make them less irritating to the skin, but also reduces exfoliating effect. AHAs include: citric acid (citrus fruit), glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk) and the less common AHAs used in cosmetics malic acid (apples) and tartaric acid (wine). AHAs increase sun sensitivity due to their exfoliant behaviour.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: an antioxidant, is both water and fat soluable so it can protect many areas of a cell. Also has anti inflammatory properties.

Amazonian Fruit (Astrocaryum Murumuru) Butter: from the seed of the Brazilian Amazon tree. Emollient rich in oleic acid with excellent moisture binding properties.

Aminomethypropanolol: a neutralizing agent

Ammonium Laureth Sulfate: a surfactant with emulsifying capabilities; used as an anionic surfactantcleanser

Aniseed (Pimpinella Anisum) Fruit Oil: fragrant essential oil with excellent antioxidant and purifying properties

Apple (Pyrus Malus) Cider Vinegar: a mild acetic acid solution with mild disinfecting and antifungal properties

Apricot (Prunus Armeniaca) Kernel Oil: an emollient with a non greasy feel; excellent moisturising and softening abilities. Rapidly absorbed by the skin, has a high Vitamin E content that can help the skin retain elasticity, clarity and suppleness.

Arbutin: naturally occurring plant compound and effective tyrosinase inhibitor for reducing hyperpigmentation. A good natural alternative to hydroquinone.

Arnica (Arnica Montana) Extract: a botanical extract credited with a wide variety of properties including anti inflammatory, circulation stimulating, healing, anti microbial and anti irritant. Promotes the removal of wastes from the skin and aids in the promotion of new tissue growth. It is effective in creams designed to treat damaged, reddened or tired skin.

Ascorbic Acid: Vitamin C, an antioxidant and stimulant of collagen synthesis by skin cells (fibroblasts). Can also have skin lightening effects in certain preparations. Only L-ascorbic acid (as opposed to D-ascorbic acid) is effective.

Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide: a highly stable and effective form of Vitamin C. Also known as a Vitazyme C, the ascorbic acid attaches to an enzyme which allows for rapid absorption into the skin.

Ascrobyl Palmitate: fat soluble Vitamin C derivative. Good antioxidant effect but less effective than Vitamin C for stimulating collagen synthesis.

Avobenzone: UV radiation blocker used in sunscreens

Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil: natural oil from avocados that is rich in vatmins, minerals and linoleic/oleic acids. An excellent skin conditioner and moisturiser that readily penetrates the skin; nonocclusive.

Azulene (Matricaria Chamomilla) Oil: a deep blue essential oil distilled from flowers of Matricaria Chamomilla, or German Chamomile. One of its major components, chamazulene, is an effective anti inflammatory that encourages healing. Another component, bisabolol, is a powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial. This oil also contains flavonoids, plant acids, fatty acids, amino acids, polysaccharides, salicylate derivatives, choline and tannin. Azulene is extremely soothing to the skin and has a distinctive smell, much like fresh hay. Only tiny amounts of this powerful essential oil are needed for product effectiveness. Aromatherapists use it as an anti fungal, anti inflammatory and disinfectant. Excellent for treatment of dry, reddened, burned or sensitive skin.


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