Ingredient Dictionary

Good

laureth-4

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

Good

laureth-7

A form of lauryl alcohol (a non-irritating fatty alcohol derived from coconut oil) that can... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

laureths

Substances that in various combinations create a wide range of mild detergent cleansing agents... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Best

lauric acid

One of the fatty acids in coconut oil, lauric acid has multiple uses in cosmetics... Read More »

Categories: Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

lauryl alcohol

See surfactant

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

lauryl glucoside

See surfactant

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Poor

lye

See potassium hydroxide , sodium hydroxide

Categories: Irritants, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

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

myristic acid

Detergent cleansing agent that also creates foam and can be drying. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

nonoxynols

Used as mild surfactants. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

oleic acid

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

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

oleth 10

A form of fatty (non-irritating) oleyl alcohol that functions as an emulsifier and surfactant.... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

oleths

Mild surfactants. Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

palm kernel acid

A mixture of fatty acids derived from palm oil. Used as a cleansing agent, emulsifier, or to add... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Emulsifiers

Good

palmitic acid

A fatty acid found naturally in skin and used as the basis for many palmitiate ingredients, such as... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients, Emulsifiers, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

PEG 90M

See PEG compound

Categories: Emollients, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

PEG compound

PEG is the acronym for polyethylene glycol. Various forms of PEG compounds are mixed with fatty... Read More »

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Emollients

Good

PEG-10 dimethicone

See PEG compound , silicone

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

Good

PEG-10 dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer

A synthetic, silicone-enhanced polymer that functions as skin protectant and helps products adhere... Read More »

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

Good

PEG-10 rapeseed sterol

A blend of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and the fatty acid component of the rapeseed plant. Used as a... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

PEG-100 stearate

See PEG compound , thickening agent

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

Good

PEG-12 dimethicone

See PEG compound , silicone

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

Good

PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate

See surfactant

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Good

PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate

A complex mixture of a glycol with a fatty acid and glucose that funtions multiple ways: emollient,... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

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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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