Ingredient Dictionary

Best

C10-30 cholesterol/lanosterol esters

A blend of cholesterol and fatty acid ester from lanolin. Functions as a skin conditioning agent. Read More »

Categories: Emollients

Good

C12-15 alkyl benzoate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Emollients

Good

C12-18 acid triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Emollients

Good

C13-14 isoparaffin

A petroleum-derived ingredient whose wax-like texture functions as a thickening or gelling agent. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

C18-36 acid triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

C20-40 pareth-40

Mixture of polyethylene glycols of various molecular weight that can function as stabilizing... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Best

caffeic acid

Potent antioxidant that may have some anticarcinogenic properties (Sources: Toxicology, January... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants

Good

caffeine

Alkaloid found in coffee, tea, and kola nuts. It’s often included in skin-care products with claims... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Poor

cajeputi oil

See Melaleuca cajeputi oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

calamine

Preparation of zinc carbonate, colored with ferric oxide (a form of rust). Zinc carbonate is a... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous, Irritants

Best

calcium ascorbate

Form of vitamin C; other forms include ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins

Good

calcium carbonate

Chalk; used as an absorbent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Absorbent

Good

calcium d-pantetheine-s-sulfonate

See calcium pantetheine sulfonate

Categories: Miscellaneous

Good

calcium gluconate

Calcium is an essential mineral for the body. A small amount of research shows calcium gluconate... Read More »

Categories: Anti-Irritants

Good

calcium pantetheine sulfonate

There is a small amount of in vitro research showing that this may have melanin-inhibiting... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous

Good

calcium pantothenate

Also known as pantothenic acid. Read More »

Categories: Vitamins

Good

calendula extract

Extract derived from the plant commonly known as pot marigold, there is little research showing... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Anti-Irritants

Good

Calendula officinalis flower extract

See calendula extract

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Best

Calluna vulgaris flower extract

Also known as heather extract, this plant has anti-inflammatory properties. Heather is considered a... Read More »

Categories: Anti-Irritants, Plant Extracts

Good

Calophyllum inophyllum seed oil

See tamanu oil

Categories: Plant Extracts

Best

Camellia japonica

The leaf has been shown in vitro to be potent antioxidant and also able to inhibit the expression... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Best

Camellia oleifera

See green tea

Categories: Plant Extracts, Antioxidants

Best

Camellia sinensis

See green tea

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Poor

camphor

Aromatic substance obtained from the wood of a tree common to Southeast Asia, Cinnamomum camphora,... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

cananga extract

Fragrance used in cosmetics; it can be a skin irritant, much like ylang ylang. Read More »

Categories: Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts, Plant Extracts

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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