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Rating Ingredient
Good

talc

Naturally occurring silicate mineral (any group of substances containing negative ions composed of...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

tallow

Substance extracted from the fatty deposits of animals, especially from suet (the fat of cattle and...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

tamanu oil

From a tree native to Polynesia. It is reputed to have wondrous skin-restoring properties, as well…

Average

Tanacetum parthenium

Poor

tangerine oil

Fragrant, volatile citrus oil that can be a skin sensitizer…

Best

tannic acid

Polyphenol that's considered a very good antioxidant…

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

tapioca starch

A natural thickener and texture enhancer derived from the roots of Manihot...

Good

tartaric acid

A naturally-occurring crystalline organic acid found in many plants, including grapes and tamarinds. It is one...

Categories: Exfoliant
Good

TEA

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

TEA-lauryl sulfate

While there is abundant research showing sodium lauryl sulfate is a sensitizing cleansing agent,...

Average

tea tree oil

Also known as Melaleuca, from the name of its native Australian plant source, Melaleuca alternifolia.

Best

terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

tetradibutyl pentaerithrityl hydroxyhydrocinnamate

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate

Stable form of vitamin C that is considered an analogue of L-ascorbic acid. Unlike pure vitamin C...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

tetrahydrobisdemethoxycurcumin

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.

Best

tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane

A synthetic antioxidant derived from curcumin.

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

tetrahydrodemethoxycurcumin

Best

tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane

A synthetic antioxidant that provides the effects of the antioxidant curcumin but...

Best

tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.

Best

tetrahydromethoxycurcumin

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.

Good

tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

tetrasodium EDTA

Chelating agent used to prevent minerals present in formulations from bonding to other ingredients.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

tetrasodium etidronate

Used as a chelating agent in cosmetics to prevent varying mineral components from binding together...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Best

Theobroma cacao seed butter

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

thiamine HCL

Vitamin B1. There is no research showing this to be effective when applied topically on skin.

Categories: Vitamins
Good

thickening agent

Substances that can have a soft to hard waxlike texture or a creamy, emollient feel, and that can...

Best

thioctic acid

Technical name for the antioxidant alpha lipoic acid. Unlike many antioxidants that are either...

Categories: Antioxidants
Average

thiodipropionic acid

Acid-based synthetic antioxidant. There is no research pertaining to its benefit for skin, but in...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

thiotaurine

Amino acid. Potentially, it can have antioxidant properties for skin...

Good

threonine

Average

thyme extract

Extract derived from the leaf or flower of the thyme plant. It can have potent antioxidant...

Poor

thyme oil

The most concentrated part of the thyme plant, and a source of antioxidants, some of which...

Average

thymus hydrolysate

Form of animal thymus derived by acid, enzyme, or other methods of hydrolysis. It can have...

Categories: Miscellaneous, Hydration
Poor

Thymus serpillum extract

Extract of wild thyme.

Average

Thymus vulgaris

Poor

Thymus vulgaris oil

Thymus vulgaris oil is more commonly known as thyme oil.

Best

Tilia cordata

Best

titanium dioxide

Inert earth mineral used as a thickening, whitening, lubricating, and sunscreen ingredient in...

Best

tocopherol

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

tocopherol acetate

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

tocopheryl acetate

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

tocopheryl lineolate

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

tocotrienols

Potent forms of vitamins E that are considered stable and powerful antioxidants. These forms of...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Average

tomato extract

Extract that has weak antioxidant properties...

Poor

tormentil extract

Plant that can be irritating due to its tannin content, which causes skin constriction.

Good

tragacanth

Natural gum used as a thickener in cosmetics.

Best

tranexamic acid

A synthetic amino acid that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and astringent.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

trehalose

Plant sugar that has hydrating properties for skin.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Hydration
Best

tremella fuciformis sporocarp extract

Good

tribehenin

Also known as glyceryl tribehenate, a skin-conditioning agent that is a mixture of glycerin and...

Good

tribehenin PEG-20 esters

A complex mixture of tribehenin and PEG-20, this ingredient has multiple functions in cosmetic...

Good

tricaprylin

Mixture of glycerin and caprylic acid. Has emollient properties and is used as a skin-softening...

Categories: Emollients
Good

tridecyl salicylate

Salt form of salicylic acid (BHA). When it is no longer an acid (as in this case), salicylic acid...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

tridecyl stearate

Used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

Good

tridecyl trimellitate

Used as a skin-conditioning agent and thickening agent. 

Good

triethanolamine

Used in cosmetics as a pH balancer. Like all amines, it has the potential for creating...

Categories: Miscellaneous, Emulsifiers
Good

triethoxycaprylylsilane

Silicone that functions as a binding agent and emulsifier. 

Categories: Silicones, Slip Agents
Good

triethoxycaprylylsilane crosspolymer

A silicone polymer used to enhance a product's texture.

Good

triethoxysilylethyl polydimethylsiloxyethyl hexyl dimethicone

A silicone polymer that has multiple functions in cosmetic products, including skin-conditioning...

Categories: Emollients
Good

Trifolium pratense

Good

triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Average

trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract

Latin name for the fenugreek plant. The seeds are used most often, and their fiber content helps...

Good

trihydroxystearin

Mixture of glycerin and fatty acids that is used as an emollient and thickening agent.

Good

triisocetyl citrate

A trimester of the fatty alcohol isocetyl alcohol and citric acid. It is used as on occlusive agent.

Categories: Emollients
Good

trilaurin

Group of ingredients that are triesters of glycerin and aliphatic acids, and known generically as...

Good

trimethylsiloxysilicate

Used as a skin-softening and occlusive agent.

Good

trioclanolin

Derived from lanolin and used as a texture enhancer, most commonly in powder-based products such as...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

trioctanoin

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

trioctyldodecyl citrate

Mixture of octyldodecanol and citric acid used as a skin-softening agent and emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

tripeptide-32

A synthetic peptide with the "tri" (meaning three) designation referring to this peptide's mix of the amino acids proline, serine, and threonine.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Good

Tripleurospermum maritimum extract

Also known as false mayweed or sea mayweed, this plant extract encompasses the entire plant. Raw material...

Good

trisodium EDTA

Similar to tetrasodium EDTA. Used as a water-softening and chelating agent (a compound that binds...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract

Extract from the germ portion of the wheat plant. In cosmetics, this ingredient functions as a...

Good

Triticum vulgare oil

Best

troxerutin

A flavonoid ingredient that's extracted from the Japanese plant Sophora japonica.

Good

tryptophan

Good

turmeric

Spice made from the dried, ground root of a plant; its extract is called curcumin. A natural yellow...

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!