Cosmetic Ingredients i-p


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Inactive ingredient

~ Part of the ingredient list label. Components which (irrespective of their relative quantity) do not help directly in achieving a product’s performance objectives.


~ Not composed of plants or animal matter.

Iron Oxides

~ Iron compounds.
~ Coloring agents. Pigments. Used in lipsticks, lipglosses, mascaras, blushes, eye-shadows.
~ EWG score: 2




Jasmine essential oil (Jasminum officinale)

~ Extracted from Jasminum officinale blossoms.
~ One of the precious and expensive oils. Anti-septic. Anti-inflammatory. Soothing and toning agent. For dry, tired and aging skin. For sensitive and oily skin. Dermatitis treatment. Used in perfumes due to its rich, floral scent. Could be skin irritant if used in high concentrations.
~ EWG score: 3

Jojoba oil/wax (Simmondsia chinensis)

~ Extracted from Simmondsia chinensis bean.
~ Emollient. Emulsifier. Skin/sebum identical ingredients. Moisture-retainer. Lubricant. Easy absorption and Non-sticky feeling on the skin. Smooths and softens the skin.  Protects the skin. For all skin types, especially for oily and acne prone skin (uncloggs the pores). Used in hair products, body lotions, hand creams.
~ EWG score: 1

Juniper berry (Juniperus communis)

~ Essential oil extracted from Juniperus communis.
~ Anti-inflammatory. Good blood cleanser. For spotty skin. Used in body massage products (anti-cellulite, lymph drainage). Can be skin-irritant. Gentler choice would be Juniper Needle essential oil.
~ EWG score: 0




Kaolin (clay)

~  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: 0-1


~ Keratoliyc therapy is treatment to remove warts and other lesions in which the epidermis produces excess skin. In this therapy, acid medicine, such as salicylic acid is put on the lesion. Keratolytic therapy thins the skin on and around the lesion. It causes the outer layer of the skin to loosen and shed.

Kokum butter (Garcinia indica)

~ Extracted from Garcinia indica kernel.
~ Restores elasticity. Used in lip balms.
~ EWG score: 0

Kukui nut oil (Aleurites moluccana)

~ Extracted from Aleurites moluccana nut.
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Rich in essential fatty acids (linoleic, linolenic and oleic acid). Quickly absorbs into skin. For all skin types, especially for dry and acne prone skin. For treating eczema, psoriasis. Non-comedogenic.
~ EWG score: 0




L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

~ Look under Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
~ Most if not only useful vitamin C derivative in skin care products. Potent antioxidant. Anti-inflammatory.
~ EWG score: 0

Lactic acid

~ Extracted from milk,cane sugar, corn, grape sugar, starch, via bacterial fermentation. Alpha hydroxy acid.
~ Naturally occouring in the skin. Gentle exfoliator. Moisturizer. Smooths the skin. Chemical peel.
~ EWG score: 4

Lavender essential oil (Lavendula angustifolia)

~ Extracted from Lavendula angustifolia.
~ One of the most used essential oils. Antiseptic. Antibacterial. Works well with an array of other essential oils, carrier/vegetable oils, butters… For all skin types. Used in creams, lotions, hair care, perfumes, mouth wash,  gels. Soothing.
~ EWG score: 1


~ Phospholipid found in plant cells, usually in soybeans. (Also found in egg yolks, which would denote a product vegetarian but not vegan. Found in animal cells as well, but natural/organic products must not use animal derived ingredients).
~ Emollient. Emulsifier. Moisturizer. Ingredient carrier agent due to epidermis (look under epidermis) penetration abilities. Promotes cell growth.
~ EWG score: 3-4

Lemon essential oil (Citrus limonum)

~ Extracted from Citrus limonum.
~ Astringent. Anti-irritant. Anti-bacterial. Anti-toxin. Promotes cell regeneration. For cellulite treatment. For dry skin. Widely used in house-cleaning products.
~ EWG score: 0

Lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus)

~ Extracted from Cymbopogon citratus.
~ Antibacterial. For acne prone skin. Reduces pore size. For oily skin. Skin toner. For anti-cellulite treatments.
~ EWG score: 0

Licorice/Liquorice extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

~ Extracted from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra.
~ Emollient. Anti-inflammatory. For dermatitis treatment.
~ EWG score: 0


~ Obtained via steam distillation from citrus fruits.
~ Fragrant. Solvent. May be skin irritant.
~ EWG score: 4


~ Naturally occuring alcohol. Found in flower and spice plants (coriander, lavender).
~ Fragrant. Possible human immune system toxicant or allergen.
~ EWG score: 4

Linden flower extract (Tilia cordata)

~ An extract of the flowers of the linden, Tilia cordata.
~ Antioxidant. Active constituents are flavonoids and glycosides. Soothing. Anti-irritant. Anti-inflammatory. Emollient.
~ EWG score: 0

Linseed oil

~ Look under Flax seed oil.


~ Ingredients found in plants, animals, human skin (between epidermal cells and cell membranes). They include fatty acids, fats and sebum.
~ Emollients. Thickening agents. Moisturizers. Reduce moisture loss. Natural barrier protection of the skin.


~ Microscopic lipid fat sacs, made of skin-identical (which make up cell membranes) plant phospholipids.
~ Delivery system which holds and increases penetration of other ingredients into the skin.
~ EWG score: 0




Macadamia nut oil (Macadamia ternifolia)

~ Obtained from the nuts of Macadamia ternifolia.
~ Rich and skin-identical ingredient due to high palmitoleic acid (found in the sebum of human skin). Potent emollient. Skin softener. Protects the skin. Anti-irritant. Quickly absorbs. Used for dry skin, scars, sunburn, wounds.
~ EWG score: 0

Magnesium ascorbyl palmitate

~ Fatty-acid based vitamin C derivate.
~ Antioxidant.

Magnesium phosphate

~ Form of vitamin C (ascorbic acid.)
~ Antioxidant (stable). Increases skin’s hydration and elasticity.
~ EWG score: 0

Magnesium sulphate

~ Epson salt. (look under Epson salt).

Mandarin essential oil (Citrus retilculata)

~ Extract from a Citrus retilculata peel.
~ Water-retention properties. Used in creams and lotions. Lymphatic cleanser.
~ EWG score: 0

Mango (seed) butter (Mangifera indica)

~ Obtained from mango seed kernels.
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Moisturizer. Healing and regenerative properties. Scar and wound healing properties. For dry skin.
~ EWG score: 0

Manuka oil (Leptospermum scoparium)

~ Extracted from the New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium) leaves amd branches.
~ Similar in fragrance and properties as Australian Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), but of a softer and more honey-like consistency. Antibacterial. Anti-fungal. Antiviral. Anti-irritant. Natural sanitizer. Toner. For sensitive skin. For oily and acne pron skin. For fungal infections, athletes foot. Used in hair products (itching scalp, dandruff).
~ EWG score: 0

Marshmallow root (Althaea Officinalis)

~ Extracted from dry roots of Althaea Officinalis.
~ Rich content of flavonoids. Emollient. Anti-inflammatory agent. Softening and soothing properties. Sores, burns, blemishes and wounds healing properties. Cell immunity booster.
~ EWG score: 0


~ Earth mineral.
~ Coloring agent. Mineral pigment. Used in products to give them sparkle and shine.
~ EWG score: 2

Myrrh essential oil (Commiphora myrrha)

~ Obtained from a resin/myrrh gum of the Commiphora myrrha tree.
~ Anti-fungal. Anti-inflammatory. Anti-septic. Astringent. Revitalizes and soothes the skin. Fragrant properties. Toner. Skin rashes and irritations healing properties. Anti aging and anti-wrinkles properties. Used in toothpaste, mouthwash. For fungal infections (athlete’s foot). Used in perfumes.
~ EWG score: 1

Myrtle essential oil (Myrtus communis)

~ Obtained from the leaves of Myrtus communis
~ Astringent. Balances and revitalizes the skin. For oily and acne prone skin. Reduces open pores.
~ EWG score: 0




Neem oil (Melia azadiracta/Azadirachta Indica)

~ Extracted from the seeds of Melia azadiracta/Azadirachta Indica.
~ Contains an active ingredient called azadirachtin. Antibacterial. Anti-fungal. Antiseptic. Natural insecticide. For dry and sensitive skin. For fungal nail infections. For split nails healing. For dry hair. Should be used in small quantities and blended with other ingredients (essential oils, carrier oils, butters etc).
~ EWG score: 0

Neroli essential oil (Citrus aurantium)

~ Extracted from the flowers of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange tree).
~ Precious, delicate and expensive essential oil.Astringent. Moisturizer. For mature skin. For sensitive skin. Balances sebum production, thus great for oils skin as well. Reduces wrinkles. Calming and soothing properties. It normalizes the skin and promotes skin cell regeneration. Toner. Used in creams, lotions and face masks. Does not irritate the skin. For stretch marks and scars. Pleasant and refreshing floral and citrus scent, thus used in perfumes.
~ EWG score: 0

Nettle leaf extract (Urtica dioica)

~ Extracted from the stems and leaves of the Urtica dioica weed.
~ Rich content  in minerals and vitamins (Vitamin A, B, C, K; flavonoids,sterols, phenols, zink, silicic acid, calcium, ). Especially high content of soluble vitamin C. Astringent. Toner. Emollient. Revitalizes the skin. Soothing properties. For sensitive skin. For oily skin. Eczema treatment. For burns and wounds healing. Used in hair care products.  Stimulates hair growth. Prevents and cures dandruff. Stimulates the scalp. For dry hair.
~ EWG score: 0

Niaouli essential oil (Melaleuca vividiflora)

~ Extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca vividiflora.
~ Antiseptic. For acne prone skin. Improves circulation.
~ EWG score: 0




Oatmeal (colloidal)

~ Finely ground oatmeal.
~ Protein source. Anti-irritant. Anti-inflammatory. Binding and thickening properties. Oil absorbent. Gentle exfoliant.
~ EWG score: 0

Oats extract (Avena Sativa)

~ Extracted from Avena sativa.
~ High content of salicic acid. Anti-irritant. Antioxidant. Emollient. Emulsifier. Soothing properties. Revitalizes hair.
~ EWG score: 0

Olive oil (Olea Europaea)

~ Pressed from Olea Europaea fruit.
~ Antioxidant. High content of essential fatty acids (linoleic, oleic, palmitic), thus great for dry skin. Emollient. Contains squalene (emollient), which quickly absorbs into the skin and spreads easily. Anti-inflammatory. Anti-aging. Soothing and healing properties. Moisturizer. For smooth skin. For dry and damaged hair (hair masks). For dermatitis and eczema treatment. For irritated skin. Make up remover. Excellent carrier oil for blending with other ingredients. Widely used in creams, lipbalms, hair products, body lotions. May offer UVB-damage protection.
~ EWG score: 0

Orange (sweet) essential oil (Citrus sinensis)

~ Extracted from Citrus sinensis peel.
~ Antiseptic. Anti-toxin (releases the toxins from the skin). For dry wrinkled skin. For dull skin. For oily skin. Rejuvenates the skin. Natural exfoliator. Stimulates circulation. Should be used in small amounts and/or blended with carrier oils, butters (citrus oils cause photosensitivity).
~ EWG score: 1

Oleic acid

~ Naturally occuring fatty acid. In natural organic products, it must be obtained from vegetable fats and oils.
~ Emulsifier. Emollient. Surfactant. Detergent cleansing agent. Used in creams, lipsticks, nail polish, bar soaps.
~ EWG score: 1




Palm kernel oil (Elaeis guineensis)

~ Obtained from the seeds of Elaeis guineensis.
~ Emollient. Moisturizer. Used in soaps as it saponifies easily.
~ EWG score: 0

Palm stearic acid

~ Obtained from palm tree.
~ Fatty acid. Emulsifier.
~ EWG score: 0

Palmitic acid

~ Naturally occurring fatty acid (in skin). The one used it natural products is usually obtained from olive oil.
~ Emollient. Moisturizer. Smooths the skin.
~ EWG score: 1

Panthenol (Provitamin B5)

~ Alcohol form of Vitamin B. In natural products it must be plant derived.
~ Moisturizer. Lubricant. Thickening agent. Stimulates healing of the skin.
~ EWG score: 1

Papaya fruit extract (Carica papaya)

~ An extract of the fruit of the papaya, Carica papaya.
~ An enzyme peeling (peels away dead skin cells) due to papain, which is a protein-dissolving enzyme. Softening and smoothing properties. Promotes renewal of the top layer of the skin. Anti-wrinkles. For dry and flaky skin. Minimizes skin’s discoloration. Unblocks pores.
~ EWG score: 0

Papaya seed oil (Carica papaya)

~ An oil expressed from the seeds of Carica papaya.
~ Emollient. Anti-fungal. Anti-inflammatory. Softens and smooths the skin. Rich in omega 9 essential acid; high content of oleic acid. For eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes.
~ EWG score: 0

Passionflower seed oil (Passiflora edulis)

~ Expressed from the seeds of the passionfruit, Passiflora edulis.
~ Antibacterial. High cintent of essential fatty acids (up to 80%). Contains omega 3, 6 and 9. For dry skin. For itchy and irritated skin. For dry and itchy scalp.
~ EWG score: 0

Passionfruit extract (Passiflora incarnata)

~ An extract of the fruit of the passionflower, Passifloraincarnata.
~ Anti-inflammatory. Soothing for the skin.
~ EWG score:

Parsley extract (Carum petroselinum)

~ An extract of the herb, Carum petroselinum.
~ Antioxidant. Anti-septic. Anti-inflammatory. Soothing. Promotes circulation.
~ EWG score: 0

Patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon patchouli)

~ Obtained from Pogostemon patchouli leaves.
~ Antiseptic. Anti-fungal. Anti-bacterial. Fragrance ingredient. Toner. Reduces wrinkles. For cracked skin. Soothing and calming for dermatitis.
~ EWG score: 0

Peach kernel oil (Prunus persica)

~ Expressed from the kernels of Prunus persica.
~ Emollient. For dry and mature skin. For inflamed skin. Excellent for sensitive skin. Promotes ski elasticity. For smooth and soft skin. Rejuvenates the skin. Anti-wrinkle. Widely used in massage/body lotions.
~ EWG score: 0

Peanut oil (Arachis hypogaea)

~ Obtained from the seed kernels of Arachis hypogaea.
~ Emollient. Solvent.
~ EWG score: 0

Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)

~ Extracted from the leaves of Mentha piperita.
~ Antimicrobial properties. Anti-inflammatory. Anti-fungal properties. Antiseptic. For oily skin. For acne and blackheads prone skin. Toning and cleansing properties. Cooling and refreshing for body massages. Soothing for itchy scalp. May be skin irritant so it should be used in small quantities (up to 1%).
~ EWG score: 0


~ Collagen structural unit. Peptides promote skin firmness and reduce appearance of wrinkles.


~ Naturally occurring complex lipids which contain glycerol, two fatty acids and a phosphate group. Phospholipids are the primary constituents of cell membranes. Lecithin is a phosopholipid (look under lecithin).
~ EWG score: 0

Pine essential oil (Pinus pumilionissyn)

~ Extracted from the needles of Pinus sylvestris.
~ Antibacterial. Antiseptic. Anti-acne. Anti-fungal. Disinfecting properties. Should be used in small amounts as it can cause dermal  irritation.
~ EWG score: 0

Pink clay

~ For dry and sensitive skin.
~ EWG score: 0

Plum extract (Prunus domestica)

~ An extract of the fruit of the plum, Prunus domestica.
~ Moisturizer. Promotes smooth skin.
~ EWG score: 0

Pomegranate see extract (Punica granatum)

~ Extracted from the pomegranate fruit seeds, Punica granatum.
~ High in ellagic acid, a potent antioxidant (fights free radicals and increases body’s own built-in antioxidants). High in essential acids and Omega5. Protects the skin from UV damage and photo-aging. Anti-cancer properties. Anti-wrinkle.
~ EWG score: 0

Potassium Sorbate

~ A potassium salt of sorbic acid, a naturally occuring antimicrobial compound.
~ Anti-fungal. Anti-bacterial. Anti-microbial. Preservative.
~ EWG score: 3


~ Tree sap gathered by bees and used as a sealant in beehives.
~ Anti-bacterial. Anti-viral. Anti-inflammatory. Antioxidant. Moisturizer. Promotes and stimulates cells and tissue formation. For acne prone skin, eczema, sores. For smooth skin.
~ EWG score: 0


~Enzymes. Break down amino acids and proteins in skin.
~ For dry skin. For flaky skin.
~ EWG score: 0


~ Fundamental components of all living cells (enzymes, hormones, and antibodies).
~ Emollient. Water-binging properties.
~ EWG score: 0

Pumpkin seed oil (Cucurbita pepo)

~ Expressed from the seeds of the pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo.
~ Antioxidant. Emollient. Rich with essential fatty acids. Rich with vitamins (Vitamin A, B2, B3, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium and zinc) Rich with minerals and omega 3, 6 and 9.For dry and mature skin. For damaged skin. Firming and lifting properties.
~ EWG score: 0


~ Derived/naturally occurring in/from apples, cocoa beans, French Maritime pine tree bark, grape seeds (red wine), peanut skins, strawberries.
~ Flavinoids substance. Very potent antioxidant. Strong free radicals scavenging properties.
~ EWG score: 0