Cosmetic Ingredients a-h

 

For easier navigation through cosmetic ingredients, click on a letter :

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H

 

A

 

Acai fruit oil (Euterpe oleracea)

~ An extract of the fruit of Euterpa oleracea.
~ A potent antioxidant.
~ EWG score: 0

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadenis)

~ Aloe vera juice/gel, expressed from the Aloe barbadenis plant’s leaf.
~ Moisturizer. Anti-aging. Blood circulation stimulant. Tightens skin. Rejuvenates skin. For sunburn. Dermatitis treatment. Acne-prone skin.
~ EWG score: 1

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)

~ Derived from plants.
~ Water-binding agents. Exfoliators. AHAs remove dead skin cells, thus promoting smoother, younger and firmer looking skin. For sun-damaged skin. For photo-damaged skin. For hyperpigmentation. Most effective AHAs are glycolic and lactic acids. Also known AHAs are citric, malic and tartaric acids. May be irritating to the skin.
~ EWG score: 2

Alcohol

~ A group of organic compounds.
~ Less dense alcohols (fatty alcohols) may have emollient properties and some are used as detergent cleansing agents. Avoid alcohols with low molecular weights (benzyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, methanol, SD alcohol), especially when among main ingredients (and/or listed at the beginning of the ingredients list), as they can be skin irritants and dry the skin. These bad alcohols also generate free radical damage and cause oily skin to be even greasier than before. Antifoaming agent. Antimicrobial agent. Astringent. Fragrance ingredient. Solvent.
~ EWG score: 3

Algae

~ A plant material obtained from various species of Algae/seaweed.
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Emulsifier. Moisturizer. Detoxifier. Anti-wrinkle.
~ EWG score: 0

Algae extract

~ An unspecified botanical extract of different species of algae.
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Emulsifier. Humectant. Skin conditioning agent. Thickener.
~ EWG score: 0

Allantoin

~ A naturally occurring nitrogenous compound;  usually derived from comfrey.
~ Anti-irritant. Softens and smooths the skin. Healing and stimulating. Skin protectant. Anti-microbial.
~ EWG score: 0

Almond oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis)

~ Extracted from the seed kernels of the sweet almond plant Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis.
~ Emollient. For smooth and soft skin. For itchy, irritated skin. Used in moisturizers, lipbalms, body lotions.
~ EWG score: 0

Alpha lipoic acid (Thiocitic acid)

~ An enzyme.
~ Potent antioxidant. Water-soluble and fat soluble. Anti-inflammatory. Reduces pores and fine lines. Promotes circulation. Skin brightening properties.Used in moisturizers and eye creams.
~ EWG score: 0 

Amino acids

~ Protein is made up of amino acids.
~ Out of around 80 amino acids, 20 are imperative for our bodies to function: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, cystine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine and valine.

Anti-bacterial

~ Ingredients, which destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria (in products for acne-prone skin the bacteria which causes blemishes, acne).

Anti-fungal (Fungicite)

~ Ingredients, used to treat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm etc.

Anti-inflammatory

~ Ingredients, which reduce inflammation (irritation, pain, redness, swelling).

Anti-irritant

~ Ingredients, which reduce irritation and/or inflammation (itchiness, pain, redness). Antioxidants are great anti-irritants (skin’s response to free-radical damage is inflammation and irritation).

Anti-microbial

~ Ingredients, which kill or inhibit growth of microorganism such as bacteria, fungi or protozoans.

Antioxidants

~ Ingredients/substances that lessen and fight the damage caused by free radicals, thus reducing and preventing wrinkles and diseases. Antioxidants: Vitamin A and E (alpha tocopherol, tocotrienols) and Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl palmitate) and B complex, coenzyme Q10, pomegranate, selenium minerals, zinc, green tea, grape seed extract, alpha lipoic acid…

Anti-sebborheic

~ Ingredients, which are effective in treatment of seborrheic dermatitis.

Anti-septic

~ Antimicrobial substances/ingredients that are applied to living tissue/skin  to reduce the possibility of infection, sepsis or putrefaction.

Anti-viral

~ Ingredients, which inhibit a development of bacteria. Anti-viral ingredients are also antibiotic, anti-fungal and antiparasitic.

Apricot kernel oil (Prunus armeniaca)

~ Cold pressed from Prunus armeniaca fruit.
~ Emollient. Rich with linoleic and oleic acid. For mature and sensitive skin. Used in moisturizers, body lotions, lip balms.
~ EWG score: 0

Arabic gum (Acacia)

~ Plant extract.
~ thickener, emulsifier, film-forming agent
~ EWG score: 0

Argan oil (Argania spinosa)

~ Expressed from the kernels of argania spinosa trees.
~ Antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory.  Rich in essential fatty acids (especially linoleic acid) and Vitamin E (antioxidant). Skin-regenerator. Reduces wrinkles. Great for sensitive skin.
~ EWG score: 0

Ascorbic acid

~ Vitamin C
~ Naturally occurring potent antioxidant. Natural preservative. pH Adjuster. Skin-conditioning agent. Anti-aging. Used in moisturizers.
~ EWG score: 0

Ascorbyl glucoside (Vitamin C)

~ Vitamim C. Condensation of ascorbic acid with glucose.
~ Antioxidant.
~ EWG score: 0

Ascorbyl palmitate

~ A compound composed of of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and palmitic acid; a naturally occurring fatty acid.
~ Antioxidant. Natural preservative. Blending agent of Vitamis A, C and D.
~ EWG score: 1

Astringent

~ Ingredients, which firm and tone the skin; constrict the pores.

Avena sativa (Oat)

~ Oat extract.
~ Anti-irritant. Anti-inflammatory properties. Used in moisturizers, hand creams, soaps.
~ EWG score: 0

Avocado oil/butter (Persea americana or Persea gratissima)

~ Extracted from the fruit of the avocado tree, Persea americana or Persea gratissima.
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Rich in fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, D, E. Nourishing. For dry skin. Eczema.
~ EWG score: 0

Azulene extract

~ Extracted from chamomile.
~ Antioxidant. Skin healing properties.
~ EWG score: none

B

 

Babassu oil (Orbignya barbosiana

~ A fixed oil obtained from the nuts of Orbignya oleifera.
~ Emollient. Soothing.
~ EWG score: 0

Baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate)

~ pH adjuster. Skin protectant. Used in oral care, deodorants, neutraliser when using AHAs.
~ EWG score: 0

Beeswax (cera alba)

~ Purified wax from the honeycomb of the bees.
~ Emollient. Thickener. Binder. Film-forming and viscosity increasing agent.
~ EWG score: 0

Bentonite clay

~ Naturally occurring clay mineral.
~ Absorbent. Emulsifier. For oily skin.
~ EWG score: 2

Bergamot essential oil (Citrus bergamia)

~ Extracted from Bergamont peel.
~ Astringent. Antiseptic. For oily and acne prone skin. For cold sores, eczema and psoriasis. Compatible with an array of scents, it is widely used in men and women’s perfumes. Caution: use bergamot essential oil which does not contain bergapten, as bergapten can be phototoxic.
~ EWG score: 0

beta-Carotene

~ A strongly-colored red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits.
~ Antioxidant. Converted to Vitamin A by body. For sun damaged skin.
~ EWG score: 2

Beta hydroxy acid (BHA; Salicylic acid)

~ Obtained from White willow bark.
~ Antioxidant. Anti-irritant. Anti-bacterial. Anti-microbial. Anti-inflammatory. Extremely potent (leave-on) exfoliant. For acne prone skin. For oily skin. For sensitive skin. For treating breakouts, blackheads, whiteheads and blemishes. It penetrates into the pores (as opposed to AHAs), thus exfoliating on the inside as well. Improves skin’s thickness and promotes collagen production.
~ EWG score: 4

Biotin (Vitamin B7)

~ Produced in the body. Vitamin H. Part of the B complex vitamins.
~ Skin conditioning agent. Hair conditioning agent. Antiseborrhoeic.
~ EWG score: 0

Birch leaf extract (Betula alba)

~ Extracted from the plant Betula alba (White birch).
~ Antioxidant. Astringent. For eczema. May be skin irritant.
~ EWG score: 2

Bisabolol

~ Constituent of chamomile (Matricaria chamomile).
~ Antibacterial. Antifungal. Anti-inflammatory. Skin protector (against stress). Soothing. For acne prone skin. Used in moisturizers, body lotions and scrubsm shaving products.
~ EWG score: 0

Black raspberry fruit extract (Rubus occidentalis)

~ An extract of the fruit of Rubus occidentalis.
~ Astringent. Skin conditioning agent.
~ EWG score: 0

Black tea extract (Camellia oleifera)

~ An extract of the seeds of Camellia oleifera.
~ Astringent. Toner.
~ EWG score: 0

Blackberry extract (Rubus fruticosus)

~ An extract of the fruit of the blackberry, Rubus fruticosus.
~ Astringent. Toner. Fragrance ingredient.
~ EWG score: 0

Borage seed oil (Borago officinalis)

~ Extracted from the seeds of Borago officinalis plant.
~ Emollient. Skin conditioning agent. Antioxidant. High content of gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). Anti-aging. Used in moisturizers.
~ EWG score: 0

Broccoli seed oil (Brassica oleracea italica)

~ Extracted from the seeds of Brassica oleracea italica.
~ Emollient. Skin conditioning agent. Hair conditioning agent.
~ EWG score: 0

C

 

Caffeine

~ Alkaloid (found in coffee, tea and kola nuts)
~ Antioxidant. May reduce redness.
~ EWG score: 1

Calcium ascorbate

~ Calcium salt of Ascorbic Acid. Form of Vitamin C
~ Antioxidant. Stable form of Vitamin C.
~ EWG score: 0

Calcium carbonate

~ An inorganic salt. Chalk.
~ Absorbent.
~ EWG score: 0

Calendula flower extract (Calendula officinalis)

~ Extracted from a pot marigold plant.
~ Emollient. Antioxidant. Antibacterial. Anti-inflammatory. For sensitive skin. For eczema, acne-prone skin, burns, cuts. Soothing.
~ EWG score: 0

Caprylic/capric triglyceride

~ Extracted from coconut.
~ Emollient. Thickening agent.
~ EWG score: 1

Carrot seed oil (Daucus carota sativa)

~ An oil obtained from the seed of the carrot (Daucuscarota sativa).
~ Emollient. Skin conditioner. High content of vitamins (Vitamin A and carotenes). Anti-aging. Anti-septic. Smooths and tones the skin. For eczema and dermatitis treatment.
~ EWG score: 0 

Carrot root extract (Daucus carota sativa)

~ An extract of the roots of the carrot, Daucuscarota sativa.
~ Natural fragrance.
~ EWG score: 0

Castor seed oil (Ricinus communis)

~ Extracted from the seeds of Ricinus communis.
~ Emollient. Thick oil, with high fat content. Water binding agent, thus ideal for very dry skin. Used in lipbalms, cleansers.
~ EWG score: 2

Cedarwood essential oil (Cedrus atlantica)

~ Cedar wood.
~ Astringent. Antiseptic. Natural insect repellent. Anti-fungal. Dandruff treatment. Eczema and dermatitis treatment.
~ EWG score: 1

Ceramides

~ Naturally occuring skin lipids (fats).
~ Skin water-retention. Restore skin’s barrier function.
~ EWG score: 0

Cetearyl alcohol

~ Usually derived from coconut.
~ Fatty acid. Emollient. Emulsion stabilizer. Foam booster. Viscosity controlling agent. Thickener. Used in shampoos, conditioners, lipsticks, moisturizers.
~ EWG score: 1

Cetyl alcohol

~ Fatty alcohol. Derived from coconut fatty alcohol.
~ Emollient. Emulsifier. Thickening agent. Carrying agent (for other ingredients).
~ EWG score: 1

Chamomile flower essential oil (Anthemis nobilis)

~ Oil extracted from camomile, Anthemis nobilis.
~ Antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory. Antiseptic. Astringent. For dry and sensitive skin. Acne-prone skin. Eczema treatment.
~ EWG score: 0

Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract

~ Extract of the camomile (Chamomilla Recutita) flowers.
~ Antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory. Azulene compound (skin healing). For sensitive skin. Eczema treatment.
~ EWG score: 0

Chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris)

~ Algae
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Emulsifier. Humectant. Skin conditioning agent. Thickener.
~ EWG score: 0

Cholesterol

~ Part of the stratum corneum extracellular lipid matrix (with ceramides and free fatty acids), which skin’s barrier function depends on.
~ Emollient. Water-binging agent. Stabilizer.
~ EWG score: 1

Citral

~ Naturally occurring scent ingredient (although manufactured synthetically on a large scale).
~ Flavoring agent. Fragrance ingredient. Can cause allergies and contact dermatitis.
~ EWG score: 6

Citric acid ( Sodium citrate)

~ Clear powder, extracted from citrus fruits.
~ Antioxidant. Toner. pH adjuster. Buffering and masking agent. Fragrance ingredient. AHA. Skin peeling agent. Skin growth promotion. Anti-aging.
~ EWG score: 2

Clay (Kaolin)

~ Naturally occurring clay mineral.
~ Fat absorbent. Abrasive agent. Tones the skin. Cleans the skin of toxins. Promotes circulation. French green clay is used for oily skin. Pink clay is used for dry skin. White clay is a mild clay and used for sensitive and dry skin. Rhassoul (Moroccan clay) is the finnest of the clays, used for all skin types; it is rich in silica mineral, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Used in peeling creams, face masks (with hydrolates or tea) and toothpaste.
~ EWG score: 0

Cocoa seed butter (Theobroma cacao)

~ Extracted from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao.
~ Emollient. Fragrance.  Skin conditioning and protecting. High in Vitamin E. Promotes collagen production. Quickly absorbs. For dry skin. Not for acne prone skin. Used in moisturizers, body lotions, lipbalms, soapbars.
~ EWG score: 0

Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera)

~ Extracted from the kernels of the seeds of coconot palm, Cocos nucifera.
~ Emollient. Skin conditioner. Solvent. Emulsifier. Fragrance. Rich in vitamins and fatty acids. For smooth skin. May be comedogenic (not for acne prone skin). Used in soaps, lipsticks, body lotions, hair conditioner.
~ EWG score: 0

CoEnzyme Q-10 (Ubiquinone)

~ Vitamin-like, fat soluble. Present in all human cells. Protects cells. Produces body’s energy.
~ Potent antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory. Reduces appearance of wrinkles. Reduces UV damage.
~ EWG score: 0

Collagen

~ Protein. Found throughout the body. Derived from plants (used in natural organic products).
~ Water binging agent. With elastin, collagen is resposible for texture and elasticity of the skin.
~ EWG score: 1

Comedogenic

~ Ingredients, which exacerbate or contribute to acne; clog the pores. More info on comedogenic ingredients.

Comfrey leaf extract (Symphytum officinale)

~ An extract of the leaves of the comfrey, Symphytum officinale.
~ Emollient. Anti-inflammatory. Astringent. Anti-aging. Soothing. Skin healing properties (due to allantoin). For dry skin and eczema. Anti-dandruff.
~ EWG score: 1 

Corn starch (Zea mays)

~ A starch obtained from corn.
~ Skin protection. Thickener. Abrasive. Absorbent. Can be used instead of talc.
~ EWG score: 0

D

 

d-alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E)

~ Most active form of Vitamin E.
~ Potent antioxidant.
~ EWG score: 1

Dermis

~ A layer of skin between the epidermis (with which it makes up the cutis) and subcutaneous tissue.
~ Consists of connective tissue and cushions the body from stress and strain. The dermis is composed of three major types of cells: fibroblasts, macrophages and adipocytes. Apart from these cells, the dermis is also composed of matrix components such as collagen (which provides strength), elastin (which provides elasticity), the epidermis, and glycosaminoglycans.

Disinfectants

~ Substances/ingredients that are applied to non-living objects to destroy microorganisms that are living on the objects. Natural disinfectants: alcohols, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and lactic acid.

E

 

Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

~  Tocopherols (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-alpha-tocopherol acetate) are a class of naturally occurring chemical compounds related to Vitamin E
~ Extremely potent antioxidant. Skin conditioning agent. Prevents water loss. Moisturizer. Protects skin from ultraviolet light damage. Sunburn reduction. An efficient ingredient in sunscreen products. Skin healing properties. Fat soluble. Natural preservative. Used in moisturizers, anti-aging products, lip balms and many other products.
~ EWG score: 2

Echinacea extract (Echinacea purpurea)

~ An extract of the coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.
~ Skin conditioner. Moisturizer.
~ EWG score: 0

Elastin

~ Skin component that gives the skin flexibility. Can be derived from plants.
~ Water-binging agent.
~ EWG score: 0

Emollient

~ Supple and wax-like. Thickening agent. Helps keep other ingredients in formulation intact. Water-loss preventing agents. Lubricants. Soothe and soften the skin.

Emulsifier

~ Keeps together and blends unlike ingredients (such as oil and water) from separating.

Epidermis

~ Composed of the outermost layers of cells in the skin.
~ Serves as a barrier to protect the body against microbial pathogens, oxidant stress (UV light) and chemical compounds and provides mechanical resistance. Most of that function is played by the stratum corneum, which also has an ability to contain skin’s water.

Epsom salt

~ Magnesium salt.
~ Used in moisturizers, bath soaps, bath bombs, body peelings.
~ EWG score: 0

Essential oils

~ Concentrated hydrophobic liquids. Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation. Steam distillation is often used. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.
~ When applied topically, essential oils must be diluted with carrier oils/vegetable oils, body butters and/or hydrolates. The only essential oils, which can be applied directly to the skin, are lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil.
~ Anti-bacterial. Anti-fungal. Anti-inflammatory. Antiseptic. Anti-toxic. Antiviral, and much more.

Ethanol

~ Look under Alcohol.

Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis)

~ Extracted from Oenothera biennis seeds.
~ Emollient. Skin conditioning agent. Rich with essential fatty acids. Moisturizer. Nourishes the skin. Skin regenerating properties. For sun-damaged skin. Used in moisturizers, lipbalms, around the eye products.
~ EWG score: 0

Exfoliant

~ A product or ingredient that is used to remove dead skin cells or smooth rough areas from the skins surface. The gentle abrasive action of an exfoliant removes dirt and sloughs off dead skin cells leaving the skin soft and radiant, and prepares the skin for maximum absorption of skincare products. Made from many different types of ingredients they have various levels of roughness.

 

F

 

(Essential) Fatty acids

~ Oils found in plant and animal fats (lipids). Natural components of skin. Vitamin F.
~ Emollient. Thickening agent. Cleansing agent. Part of the outermost layer of the skin which protects the skin/body from free-radical damage. Rich in essential fatty acids: borage, evening primrose and flax seed vegetable oil.

Film-forming agent

~ Film-forming agents include crylates, acrylamides, copolymers and PVP.
~ Ingredients that leave pliable, cohesive and continuous covering over the hair or skin when applied to the surface. Used in skin care (moisturizers) and hair care

Flax seed oil/Linseed oil (Linum usitatissimum)

~ Extracted from dried ripe seeds of the Linum usitatissimum plant.
~ Extremely high content of essential fatty acids (particularly omega-3). Rich in Vitamin E. Antioxidant. Rejuvenates the skin. Softens the skin.
~ EWG score: 0

Flavonoids

~ Diverse group of substances. Components in many fruits and vegetables.
~ Antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory. Anti-carcinogenic.

Floral water

~ Look under Hydrolates/Hydrosoles

Fragrance

~ Blends of herbs, spices and plants.
~ Produce odor/smell. When listed on ingredients list in natural/organic cosmetics/products, fragrance must denote natural/organic source (usually essential oils).
~ EWG score: 8 (high hazard score in regards to an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants, which must not be used in natural organic products)

Frankincense essential oil (Boswellia carterii)

~ Extracted from Boswellia carterii bark.
~ Astringent. Anti-inflammatory. Anti-aging. Anti-wrinkle. Softens and smooths the skin. Renews and rejuvenates the skin.
~ EWG score: 1

Frankincense hydrolate

~ By-product of the frankincense essential oil distillation.
~ Toner. Astringent. Anti-inflammatory. Rejuvenates skin. Softens and smooths the skin.
~ EWG score: /

Free Radicals

~ Very reactive atoms/molecules. Cause damage to our skin. Impair immune system. Cause premature aging. Usual causes of free-radical damage of the skin: cigarette smoke, herbicides, pollution, solvents (alcohol), sunlight.
~ Antioxidants (Vitamin E etc) minimize, reduce, neutralize free radicals.

French Clay

~ Look under Clay (Kaolin).

Fruit Acid Extracts

~ Extracted from fruits. Grapefruit acid extract, Lime acid extract, Pineapple acid extract.
~ Anti-wrinkle. Collagen and elastin formation stimulants. For rejuvenated, refreshed looking skin.
~ EWG score: 2

G

 

gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)

~ Fatty acid. Primarily found in vegetable oils (black currant oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil).
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Anti-inflammatory. Regulates skin. Promotes skin growth.
~ EWG score: 0

Geraniol

~ A naturally occurring scent ingredient found in various essential oils such as rose oil and citronella oil.
~ Fragrance ingredient. Masking agent. Can be skin irritant. May cause contact dermatitis.
~ EWG score: 5

Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)

~ Extracted from Pelargonium graveolens.
~ Anti-inflammatory. Astringent. Antiseptic. Toner. Balances and regulates oil and sebum, thus great for oily and acne prone skin, as well as dry and mature skin. Promotes skin circulation and is a good lymphatic cleanser (used against cellulite). Heals wounds. For broken capillaries and veins. Due to sweet rose-like scent, it (Pelargonium roseum) is often used as a substitute for very expensive Rose essential oil.
~ EWG score: 0

Gingko Biloba extract

~ Extracted from gingko tree.
~ Antioxidant. Improves blood flow and stimulates circulation, thus often used in anti-cellulite products.
~ EWG score: 0

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

~ Derived from the root of Panax ginseng plant
~ Anti-inflammatory. Antiseptic. Anti-aging. Collagen production stimulant.
~ EWG score: 0

Glucose

~ Monosaccharide
~ Water-binding properties.
~ EWG score: 0

Glycerin (vegetable)

~ Derived from olive oil or by sugar fermentation.
~ Humectant (water-absorbing). Emollient. Skin protectant. Hair conditioning agent. Lubricant. Solvent. A substance, which is also a natural part of our skin. Potentially comedogenic (if used in high concentrations).
~ EWG score: 0

Glyceryl palmitate

~ A monoester of glycerin and palmitic acid.
~ Emollient. Emulsifier.
~ EWG score: 2-3

Glyceryl cocoate

~ Derived from coconut.
~ Emollient. Thickening agent. Skin conditioning agent. Cleansing agent.
~ EWG score: 3

Glyceryl distearate

~ Natural fatty compound of plant origin (corn).
~ Emollient. Emulsifier. Stabilizer. Viscosity-builder. Biodegradable.Used in mascara, shampoo and as cuticle softener.
~ EWG score: 1

Glyceryl laurate

~ Derived from vegetable oils (canola, corn, soybean).
~ Surfactant. Emollient. Emulsifier.
~ EWG score: 3

Glyceryl oleate

~ Derived from glycerin and oleic acid (vegetable oils extracted fats; look under oleic acid and glycerin).
~ Emollient. Emulsifier. Thickening agent.
~ EWG score: 1

Glycolic Acid

~ Fruit acid (look under alpha-hydroxy acids/AHA). Derived from sugar cane. Citric acid (look under citric acid) from oranges. Other citrus fruits.
~ Gentle peeling, leave-on exfoliator. Also known as chemical peel (exfoliates skin without scrubbing), it can be used in low concentrations (5-20%) daily and at home; in high concentrations (40%+) used by dermatologists only. Leaves the skin smooth, radiant. Anti-wrinkle.
~ EWG score: 4

Grapefruit seed extract (Citrus Grandis)

~ Extracted from the seeds of citrus grandis.
~ Antioxidant. Antiseptic. Antibacterial. Antimicrobial. Astringent. Preservative.
~ EWG score: 3

Grape seed extract (Vitis vinifera)

~ Obtained from the seeds of grape plant, Vitis vinifera.
~ Potent antioxidant (contains flavonoids). Antimicrobial. Anti-dandruff agent. Antifungal agent. Effective as sunscreen agent. Ultraviolet light absorber. Promotes production of collagen and skin elasticity. For younger looking skin.
~ EWG score: 1

Grape seed oil (Vitis vinifera)

~ Obtained from the seeds of grape plant, Vitis vinifera
~ Emollient. Potent antioxidant. Skin conditioning agent. Light, quickly absorbed oil. Rich with Vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
~ EWG score: 0

Green tea leaf extract (Camellia sinensis)

~ Produced from the tea plant, Camelia sinensis
~ Potent antioxidant. Skin conditioning agent. Emollient. Astringent. Antimicrobial. Skin protector. UV absorber. Humectant. Anti-aging.
~ EWG score: 2

Guar gum (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba)

~ A resinous material derived from the Cyanopsis tetragonoloba.
~ Thickening agent, binding agent. Emulsion stabilizer. Viscosity increasing agent. Film-forming agent.
~ EWG score: 2-3

H

 

Hazelnut seed oil (Corylus avellana)

~ Expressed from the nuts of the hazelnut tree Corylus avellana.
~ Emollient. Mild astringent. Contains antioxidant Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. For acne prone skin as well as dry skin.
~ EWG score: 0

Hemp seed oil (Cannabis sativa

~ Derived via cold expression from cannabis sativa plant.
~ Extremely high in polyunsaturated fatty acids; rich with linoleic acid and omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Closely mirrors skin’s lipid profile. Regulates skin’s moisture.  promotes skin’s elasticity. Absorbs quickly. Emollient.
~ EWG score: 2

Hesperidin

~ Flavonoid found in plants (citrus, evening primrose oil).
~ Antioxidant. Reduces sun damage. Flavoring agent. Emollient.
~ EWG score: 0

Honey

~ A substance produced by bees.
~ Rich with amino acids, peptide and vitamins. Antioxidant. Antibacterial. Anti-inflammatory. Wound-healing (attracts/absorbs bacteria from a wound). Skin softener.  Widely used in lipbalms, as well as creams, lotions, soaps.
~ EWG score: 0

Honeysuckle flower extract (Lonicera caprifolium)

~ Extracted from a plant.
~ Anti-inflammatory. Antioxidant. Astringent. Rich in flavonoids and saponins.
~ EWG score: 0

Horse chestnut extract (Aesculus hippocastanum) 

~ Extracted from the seeds of Aesculus hippocastanum.
~ Potential antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory.
~ EWG score: 0

Horsetail extract (Equisetum arvense)

~ An extract of the whole herb of Equisetum arvense.
~ Antioxidant. High silica mineral content. Works against eczema, acne, dandruff. For damaged hair. May be skin irritant.
~ EWG score: 0

Humectant

~ A cosmetic ingredient which retains moisture.

Hyaluronic acid (Sodium hyaluronate)

~ extracted from natural sources
~ very potent humectant, hailed for its great water-binding properties. It creates a non-sticky film on the skin, retaining the moisture in the skin. When mixed with active ingredients, Hyaluronic acid drives them deeper into the skin. Smooths the skin. Natural substance found in our skin, preventing the skin from water loss. Used in moisturizers, eye creams.
~ EWG score: 0

Hydrolates/hydrosoles (herbal/flower waters)

~ By-products of the essential oils making process (hydrodistillation).
~ Hydrolates contain a small quantity (around 10%) of the essential oils. Aside from witch hazel (retains natural alcohol), hydrolates should not contain any other additives. Be careful of cheap “hydrolates” which are nothing but water mixed with a few drops of essential oils.
~ Excellent skin toners. Cleansers. Hair rinses. Skin refreshments/spritzers. Better substitute for water in face masks, creams, lotions, shampoos.

Hydrophilic

~ Cosmetic ingredients which attract moisture to the skin.