Ingredient Dictionary

Good

macadamia nut oil

Used in cosmetics as an emollient for dry skin. Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients

Poor

Mad cow disease

Technically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, mad cow disease is a chronic... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous

Best

madecassoside

One of four principal bioactive compounds in the plant extract Centella asiatica. One double-blind... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts

Good

magnesium

Earth mineral that has strong absorbent properties and some disinfecting properties. Magnesium... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Absorbent

Good

magnesium aluminum silicate

Powdery, dry-feeling, white solid that is used as a thickening agent and powder in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

magnesium ascorbyl palmitate

Fatty acid-based derivative of vitamin C that can be an effective antioxidant. There is some... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins

Best

magnesium ascorbyl phosphate

Form of vitamin C that is considered stable and an effective antioxidant for skin (Sources:... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins

Good

magnesium carbonate

Inorganic mineral salt used as an absorbent, opacifying agent, coloring agent, or to adjust the pH... Read More »

Categories: Absorbent

Good

magnesium gluconate

Magnesium is an essential mineral the body uses to maintain circulatory and nervous system... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Good

magnesium hydroxide

Active ingredient in milk of magnesia. It is an absorbent and has antibacterial properties for skin. Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Absorbent

Good

magnesium laureth sulfate

Mild detergent cleansing agent. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

magnesium oleth sulfate

Mild detergent cleansing agent. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

magnesium stearate

Used as a thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

magnesium sulfate

Commonly known as Epsom salt, a magnesium salt used as a thickening agent. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

malic acid

See AHA

Categories: Leave-On Exfoliant

Best

mallow

Can be used as a thickening agent in cosmetics and may have anti-inflammatory and soothing... Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Plant Extracts, Anti-Irritants

Good

Malva sylvestris extract

Extract from the blue mallow flower, it may have some anti-inflammatory and soothing properties for... Read More »

Categories: Anti-Irritants, Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Average

malvaceae extract

Extract from plants of the Malvaceae family, which includes over 1,000 species, found in tropical... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts

Poor

mandarin orange oil or extract

Primarily used as a fragrance; it can be a skin irritant. There is no research showing it has any... Read More »

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

Average

mandelic acid

Alpha hydroxy acid, also known as amygdalic acid. There is scant research showing this to be an... Read More »

Categories: Leave-On Exfoliant

Average

manganese gluconate

Mineral found in trace amounts in tissues of the body. While manganese plays a vital role in the... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants

Good

manganese violet

Coloring agent/additive permanently listed (as of 1976) by the FDA for use in cosmetic products,... Read More »

Categories: Coloring Agents/Pigments

Best

Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter

More commonly known as mango butter, this ingredient is a very good plant-based... Read More »

Categories: Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients, Emollients, Plant Extracts

Good

Mangifera indica root

Extract derived from the mango tree; it can have antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Good

manuka oil

Extract derived from the New Zealand tea tree; the oil is similar to that of the Australian tea... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

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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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