Ingredient Dictionary

Poor

acne soap

Soaps that often contain anti-bacterial ingredients, and they are often overly drying and... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Average

alcohol

A group of organic compounds that have a vast range of forms and uses in cosmetics. In some benign... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Irritants, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Absorbent

Good

ammonium laureth sulfate

Can be derived from coconut; used primarily as a detergent cleansing agent and is considered gentle... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

ammonium lauryl sulfate

Can be derived from coconut; used primarily as a detergent cleansing agent and is considered gentle... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

arachidyl glucoside

A mild surfactant (cleansing) and emulsifying agent, made from... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

behenic acid

Fatty acid used as a thickening agent and surfactant. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane

A synthetic skin conditioning agent and surfactant belonging to the chemical class of siloxanes and... Read More »

Categories: Slip Agents, Emollients, Silicones, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

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

Good

cocamidopropyl betaine

One of the more gentle surfactants used in skin-care products. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

cocamidopropyl dimethylamine

An antistatic agent derived from coconut oil, though it may be produced synthetically, too... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Miscellaneous

Good

cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine

Mild surfactant. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

coco-glucoside

A mixture of fatty alcohol from coconut and glucose. Chiefly functions as a cleansing agent. May be... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

coconut

Has degreasing and cleansing properties, which is why detergent cleansing agents are frequently... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Plant Extracts

Good

decyl glucoside

Used as a gentle detergent cleansing agent. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

detergent cleansing agent

See surfactant

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

dicetyl phosphate

A mix of portions from cetyl alcohol and phosphoric acid that functions as surfactant and emulsifier. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Emulsifiers

Good

dihydrocholeth-30

A synthetic ingredient that functions as an emulsifier... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Emulsifiers

Good

disodium cocoamphodiacetate

Mild detergent cleansing agent. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

disodium cocoyl glutamate

A cleansing agent derived from coconut. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

disodium lauraminopropionate

A mild surfactant. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

glyceryl behanate

A simple mixture of glycerin and the naturally-occuring fatty acid behenic acid. Glyceryl behenate... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

isohexadecane

Used as a detergent cleansing agent, emulsifier, and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

isostearamide DEA

Used as a surfactant, water-binding agent, and thickening agent. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

lauramphocarboxyglycinate

Mild detergent cleansing agent. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

laureth-23

Derived from lauryl alcohol and used either as a surfactant or emulsifier (or, in many cases, as... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

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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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