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emollient

Supple, waxlike, lubricating, thickening agent that prevents water loss and has a softening and soothing effect on skin. Examples of emollients are ingredients like plant oils, mineral oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, petrolatum, and fatty acids (animal oils, including emu, mink, and lanolin, the latter probably the one ingredient that is most like our own skin’s oil). More technical-sounding emollient ingredients, such as triglycerides, benzoates, myristates, palmitates, and stearates, are generally waxy in texture and appearance but provide most moisturizers with their elegant texture and feel.

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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!