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Rating Ingredient
Best

Haematococcus pluvialis extract

Poor

Hamamelis virginiana

Poor

hamamelitannin

Tannin that is found in witch hazel. It can be a skin sensitizer but it also has antioxidant...

Categories: Antioxidants, Sensitizing
Good

Haslea ostrearia extract

Extract derived from a water plant also known as blue algae. In pure concentrations this extract...

Poor

hayflower extract

Plant extract that, due to its constricting effect on skin, can be sensitizing There is no...

Good

hazelnut oil

Oil extracted from the hazelnut and that is used as an emollient.

Categories: Emollients
Good

hectorite

A type of clay used in cosmetics that enhances texture by imparting a smooth, silky feel.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Poor

Hedera helix

Poor

hedione

Synthetic fragrant component in products, which also can be a skin sensitizer.

Best

Helianthus annuus seed oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Helianthus oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

hemp seed oil

From the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Because both hemp and marijuana are from the genus Cannabis,...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

hesperidin

Flavonoid found in various plants such as citrus and evening primrose oil. It has potential as a...

Good

hesperidin methyl chalcone

Citrus bioflavonoid often seen in products claiming to improve dark undereye circles. There is...

Poor

hexyl cinnamal

A fragrance ingredient used in many perfumes and often seen in fragranced skincare products...

Good

hexyldecanol

A synthetic, non-drying fatty alcohol used as an emollient and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

hexylene glycol

Categories: Slip Agents
Good

hexyl laurate

Skin-softening agent and emollient that is a mixture of hexyl alcohol and lauric acid.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Average

hexylresorcinol

A synthetic ingredient that has been shown to have skin brightening ability but there is very limited research about it on skin...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

hibiscus

Fragrant plant

Good

Himanthalia elongate extract

Extract of a species of algae.

Good

Hippophae rhamnoides

Good

histidine

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

hoelen

A mushroom that grows underground on the roots of pines and other trees around the world. It has...

Best

homosalate

FDA-approved sunscreen active ingredient that primarily provides UVB protection. Its UVA range is...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Best

honey

Substance produced by bees from the nectar of flowering plants. Composed primarily of the...

Best

honey extract

Best

honeysuckle flower extract

Plant extract that functions as a soothing agent. It is a very good source of flavonoids...

Average

hops

There is no research showing that hops have any benefit for skin. However, components in hops may...

Average

Hordeum vulgare extract

Good

horse chestnut extract

May have soothing properties for skin...

Poor

horse elder

Poor

horseradish

Plant that can sensitize skin and should never be applied to abraded skin.

Average

horsetail extract

Plant extract that has antioxidant and soothing properties, but there's no solid research showing it can and does exert these effects...

Average

Hortonia floribunda leaf extract

No research shows this plant as having any benefit for skin although it and other plant components...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Huang qi

Average

Humulus lupulus extract

Best

hyaluronic acid

Component of skin that is used in skincare products as a good restorative ingredient....

Poor

Hydnocarpus anthelmintica

Poor

Hydrastis canadenis

Best

hydrocotyl extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

hydrogenated coco-glyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

hydrogenated didecene

Skin-conditioning agent derived from didecene, which is a hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons are organic...

Best

hydrogenated lecithin

Categories: Skin-Restoring, Emollients
Best

hydrogenated olive oil

When a plant oil is hydrogenated, it is chemically converted gas from a liquid to a semi-solid or...

Good

hydrogenated palm glycerides

Palm glycerides are the fatty acid component of palm oil. When a plant oil is hydrogenated, it is...

Good

hydrogenated polydecene

Synthetic polymer that functions as an emollient and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Emollients
Good

hydrogenated polyisobutene

Synthetic polymer used as a skin-conditioning agent and emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Best

hydrogenated soybean oil

Non-fragrant plant oil from soy that has been hydrogenated so it retains a semi-solid rather than liquid state.

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Good

hydrogenated starch hydrolysate

The end product of hydrolyzing starch, a polysaccharide carbohydrate...

Good

hydrogenated vegetable glycerides citrate

A hydrogenated blend of vegetable glycerides that functions chiefly as an emollient and emulsifier in cosmetics...

Poor

hydrogen peroxide

There is a great deal of current research showing that hydrogen peroxide is problematic as a...

Categories: Sensitizing
Good

hydrolyzed corn starch

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

Categories: Absorbent
Best

hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans

A skin-restorative ingredient that has been hydrolyzed, which is a chemical process involving the...

Best

hydrolyzed jojoba esters

Essential fatty acids from the jojoba plant, broken down by water to form a new complex with...

Good

hydrolyzed jojoba protein

Protein fraction of seeds from the jojoba plant that has been hydrolyzed, which is a chemical...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

hydrolyzed silk

Categories: Antioxidants, Slip Agents
Best

hydrolyzed soy protein

Good

hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Composed of various protein substances derived from vegetables and broken down by water to form a...

Categories: Miscellaneous, Hydration
Good

hydrolyzed wheat protein

Protein fraction from wheat that has been hydrolyzed, which is a chemical process involving the...

Best

hydroquinone

Hydroquinone has long been established as the most effective ingredient for reducing brown spots.

Good

hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyl dimethyl taurate copolymer

A polymer that functions as a stabilizer, thickening agent, and opacifying agent.

Good

hydroxyethylcellulose

Plant-derived thickening agent typically used as a binding agent or emulsifier. Also used (most...

Poor

hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid

Also known by the acronym HEPES, hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid is a buffering ingredient typically used to...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

hydroxyethyl urea

A synthetic ingredient that serves to hydrate skin and help maintain a normal...

Best

hydroxylated lecithin

Categories: Emollients
Good

hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin

A plant- derived or synthetic carbohydrate that functions as a chelating agent and...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

hydroxypropyl guar

Good

hydroxypropyl starch phosphate

A plant-based or synthetic starch ingredient that functions as a thickener or bulking agent in cosmetics...

Good

Hypericum extract

Average

hyssop

Fragrant plant extract that may have some beneficial properties...

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!