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Rating Ingredient
Good

faex

A type of yeast.

Categories: Antioxidants
Average

farnesol

Extract of plants that is used in cosmetics primarily for fragrance. A few animal studies and some...

Average

farnesyl acetate

Best

fatty acid

Substance typically found in plant and animal lipids (fat). Fatty acids include compounds such as...

Good

fatty alcohol

Made from fatty acids; fatty alcohols are used in cosmetics as thickening agents and emollients....

Good

FD&C

Type of coloring agent. According to the FDA, when FD&C is followed by a color, the color is...

Good

FD&C colors

General term for any color additive deemed to be safe and FDA-approved for use in foods, drugs, and...

Poor

fennel oil

Volatile, fragrant oil that can cause skin sensitivity.

Poor

fennel seed extract

Can have antioxidant properties, but on skin it can be a skin sensitizer (Source:...

Good

ferric ammonium ferrocyanide

Inorganic salt of ferric ferrocyanide. 

Good

ferric ferrocyanide

Also known as Iron Blue, a coloring agent used in cosmetic products, including those designed for...

Poor

Ferula galbaniflua

Best

ferulic acid

A plant-based antioxidant. Research suggests that it provides antioxidant...

Good

feverfew extract

A plant that can be very soothing but also potentially sensitizing to the skin...

Good

fibronectin

Type of protein found in the skin....

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Poor

Ficus carica fruit extract

Poor

fig

Fruit that contains psoralens, which are compounds that may cause sensitizing reactions...

Best

Filipendula glaberrima

Also known as Nakai, the root of this plant extract has been shown to be an antioxidant…

Best

Filipendula rubra

Good

film-forming agent

Large group of ingredients that are typically found in hair-care products, but that are also widely...

Best

fireweed extract

Extract from the Epilobium angustifolium plant; also known as willow herb.

Poor

fir needle oil

Volatile, fragrant oil that can cause skin sensitivity.

Average

fish cartilage extract

May have water-binding properties, but there is no research showing that this has any benefit for...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Best

flavonoid

Categories: Antioxidants
Average

flavor

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the term "flavor" on a product label signifies...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Best

flax

Plant source of linen and edible seeds. Flax seeds and seed oil have antioxidant properties...

Best

flaxseed oil

From seeds of the flax plant; a source of fatty acids, particularly omega-3.

Poor

floralozone

One of a number of synthetic fragrant components.

Poor

Foeniculum vulgare extract

Good

folic acid

Part of the B-vitamin complex; when taken orally, it is a good antioxidant. That benefit has not...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Average

formaldehyde-releasing preservative

Common type of preservative found in cosmetics...

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

fragrance

One or a blend of volatile and/or fragrant plant oils (or synthetically derived oils) that impart...

Poor

frankincense extract

Fragrant component used in skincare products; it can be a skin sensitizer...

Good

fructose

Often called fruit sugar, fructose is a type of sugar composed of glucose. It has water-binding...

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Average

fruit acid

Best

Fucus vesiculosus extract

Best

Fu ling

Good

fuller's earth

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

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!