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  Details

Rating Ingredient
Average

bismuth oxychloride

Also known as synthetic pearl, it’s the primary ingredient included in most powders that are referred to as...

Good

boron nitride

Synthetic, inorganic powder, which in cosmetics has absorbent properties similar to those of...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

calcium carbonate

Chalk; used as an absorbent in cosmetics.

Categories: Absorbent
Good

alumina

Aluminum oxide, which is used as an abrasive, a thickening agent, and an absorbent in cosmetics.

Good

Aluminum hydroxide

A synthetic ingredient that functions as an opacifying agent. Secondary uses...

Good

aluminum magnesium silicate

Salt that has absorbent properties.

Categories: Absorbent
Good

aluminum silicate

Salt that has absorbent and abrasive properties.

Categories: Absorbent, Scrub Agents
Good

aluminum starch octenylsuccinate

Powdery thickening agent, absorbent, and anticaking agent used in cosmetics.

Poor

aluminum sulfate

It can sensitizing to skin.

Categories: Absorbent, Antioxidants
Poor

ammonium chloride

Alkaline salt used as a pH balancer in skincare products; it is not used in concentrations that...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

bentonite

Type of clay that is used as an absorbent in cosmetics. It can be drying for skin, though its...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

carnauba wax

Natural, hard wax obtained from the leaves of palm trees. Used primarily as a thickening agent, but...

Good

charcoal

Primarily carbon substance formed by charring organic material in absence of oxygen. One...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

China clay

Categories: Absorbent
Good

clay

Categories: Absorbent
Good

Copernicia cerifera wax

Good

cornstarch

Starch obtained from corn and sometimes used as an absorbent in cosmetics instead of talc.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Absorbent
Good

fuller's earth

Mineral substance that is similar to kaolin (a clay). Composed mainly of alumina, silica, iron...

Good

kaolin

Naturally occurring clay mineral (silicate of aluminum) that is used in cosmetics for its absorbent...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

hydrolyzed corn starch

A form of the natural absorbent corn starch that has been hydrolyzed, which means it has undergone...

Categories: Absorbent
Average

iron powder

Iron powder is, as the name states, a powdered versoin of the mineral iron. A natural ingredient, it's used as an opacifying agent in cosmetics.

Categories: Absorbent
Good

lithium magnesium sodium silicate

Synthetic silica-based clay composed of lithium, sodium, and magnesium. Used as a thickening agent...

Good

magnesium

Earth mineral that has strong absorbent properties and some disinfecting properties…

Categories: Absorbent
Good

magnesium carbonate

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

Categories: Absorbent
Good

magnesium hydroxide

Active ingredient in milk of magnesia. It is an absorbent and has disinfectant properties for skin.

Categories: Absorbent, Miscellaneous
Good

montmorillonite

A type of clay that is a mix of bentonite and fuller's earth, with the latter being a white to brown substance found in sediment...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

nylon-12

Powder substance that is used as an absorbent and texture enhancer...

Good

potassium

Important element in diet that is present in such fruits as bananas and citrus. It is also an earth...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Absorbent
Good

sodium polyacrylate

A synthetic polymer with multiple functions, including film-forming agent, stabilizer, absorbent,...

Good

rice starch

Absorbent substance sometimes included in products rather than talc....

Categories: Plant Extracts, Absorbent
Good

silica

Mineral found abundantly in sandstone, clay, and granite, as well as in parts of plants and...

Good

silicate

Inorganic salt that has potent absorbing and thickening properties.

Good

silk powder

Synthetically derived powder used as an absorbent and slip agent.

Categories: Absorbent, Slip Agents
Good

silt

A sediment obtained from various bodies of water. Silt’s absorbent nature helps it function to...

Categories: Absorbent
Poor

sodium carbonate

Absorbent salt used in cosmetics; it can also be a skin sensitizer.

Categories: Absorbent, Sensitizing
Good

charcoal powder

Primarily carbon substance formed by charring organic material in absence of oxygen...

Categories: Absorbent

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!