Rating Ingredient
Good

10-Hydroxydecanoic Acid

A synthetic ingredient that functions as a skin-conditioning and occlusive agent.

Categories: Emollients
Good

4-T-butylcyclohexanol

A synthetic fatty alcohol that functions as an emollient and soothing agent...

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Soothing
Good

acetyl glyceryl ricinoleate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

acetylated castor oil

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

acetylated hydrogenated cottonseed glyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

acetylated lanolin

Emollient derived from lanolin.

Categories: Emollients
Good

acetylated lanolin alcohol

An ester of lanolin alcohol uses as an emollient and occlusive agent. An ester is a compound formed...

Categories: Emollients
Good

acetylated palm kernel glycerides

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate

A synthetic ingredient used in skin care products that enhances texture and has emollient properties.

Good

bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane

A synthetic wax-like skin conditioning agent and surfactant belonging to the chemical class of siloxanes and silicones.

Best

borage seed oil

Non-fragrant plant oil that contains gamma linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids for skin.

Best

Borago officinalis extract

Best

Borago officinalis seed oil

Best

Brassica campestris

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Best

Butyrospermum fruit

Fruit from the karite tree, scientific name Butyrospermum parkii, from which the fat is obtained to...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Butyrospermum parkii

Best

Buxus chinensis

Best

C10-30 cholesterol/lanosterol esters

A complex mixture of fatty acids from lanolin and cholesterol that conditions skin and helps create thicker textures in cosmetics.

Categories: Emollients
Good

C12-15 alkyl benzoate

Synthetic ingredient used as an emollient and texture enhancing agent in cosmetics.

Good

C12-18 acid triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

C18-36 acid triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

agar

An algae-based natural ingredient that serves as a thickener in cosmetics.

Good

Ahnfeltia concinna extract

Good

ahnfeltia extract

Good

Alaria esculenta extract

A type of brown seaweed also known as badderlocks, used topically as an antioxidant and hydrating agent due to its mix of replenishing fatty acids.

Average

alcohol

A group of organic compounds with a vast range of forms and uses in cosmetics...

Best

algae

Algae are very simple, chlorophyll-containing organisms in a family that includes more than 20,000...

Best

algae extract

Good

algin

Brown algae.

Best

almond oil

Non-volatile oil extracted from the seeds of almonds and used as an emollient.

Best

alpha glucan oligosaccharide

Emollient used in cosmetics that also has water-binding properties.

Categories: Emollients
Good

amodimethicone

Good

Anacystis nidulans extract

Best

apricot kernel oil

Emollient plant oil pressed from the seeds of apricots, and similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

arachidic acid

Derived from peanut oil and used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

arachidyl alcohol

A wax-like substance that serves as a thickening agent and moisturizing ingredient in cosmetics.

Good

arachidyl propionate

Waxy substance used as a thickening agent and emollient in cosmetics.

Best

Arachis hypogaea extract

Extract of the plant commonly known as the peanut. It can have emollient and skin soothing...

Best

argan oil

Non-fragrant plant oil expressed from the kernels of argan trees. Argan oil contains several beneficial lipids and fatty acids for skin...

Good

artemia extract

Good

Ascophyllum nodosum

A type of cold water brown seaweed that has antioxidant properties and serves as a texture enhancer in cosmetics.

Good

Asparagopsis armata extract

Extract derived from seaweed.

Good

Astrocaryum murumuru seed butter

A non-fragrant vegetable fat that's nearly solid at room temperature (much like dairy butter). It functions as an emollient ingreident that works to keep...

Categories: Emollients, Plant Extracts
Best

avocado oil

Emollient oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils. It has antioxidant properties.

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Best

babassu oil

Babassu oil comes from the seed of the Orbignya oleifera plant, which is native to Brazil.

Good

batyl alcohol

A non-drying fatty alcohol used as a stabilizing and skin-conditioning ingredient in skin care products. It is derived from glycerin.

Categories: Emollients
Good

beeswax

Substance made by bees to build the walls of their honeycomb. It is a thickening agent that has...

Good

behentrimonium chloride

A synthetic or plant-derived skin- and hair-conditioning agent and emulsifier.

Good

candelilla wax

Extract derived from candelilla plants; used as a thickening agent and emollient to give products...

Best

Cannabis sativa oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

caprylic/capric triglyceride

Emollient and skin-replenishing ingredient derived from coconut oil and glycerin. Contains fatty acids that help skin resist moisture loss.

Good

caprylyl methicone

A synthetic or plant-derived silicone polymer that conditions skin and provides a permeable barrier that helps prevent moisture loss.

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Best

carrot oil

Emollient plant oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.

Best

Carthamus tinctorius oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Carya illinoensis oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

castor isostearate succinate

Derived from castor seed oil, this ingredient conditions and moisturizes skin.

Categories: Emollients
Good

castor oil

Vegetable oil derived from the castor bean. It is used in cosmetics as an emollient, though its...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Caulerpa taxifolia extract

Best

cephalin

Phospholipid.

Good

cera microcristallina

Used as a thickener and to give products a semi-solid to solid smooth texture. Utilized most abundantly in lip care products.

Categories: Emollients
Good

disodium glyceryl phosphate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

docosahexaenoic acid

Good

Dromiceius oil

Categories: Emollients
Good

dulse

Good

Durvillaea antarctica extract

Extract derived from a species of algae (Durvillea antarctica).

Best

Echium plantagineum seed oil

A novel, non-fragrant plant oil that's a rich source of saturated fatty acids...

Categories: Emollients
Best

ectoin

Ectoin is a synthetic ingredient that serves as an emollient on skin and can also have a buffering effect in cosmetic formulas.

Categories: Emollients
Best

egg yolk

Egg yolk is mostly water and lipids (fats), especially cholesterol, which makes it a good emollient...

Best

eicosapentaenoic acid

Fatty acid derived from salmon oil; it is a good emollient and replenishing ingredient for skin.

Best

Elaeis guineensis oil

A soothing source of antioxidants, including vitamin E. As an oil, it also has emollient properties for skin.

Good

emollient

Supple, waxlike, lubricating, thickening agents that prevent water loss and have a softening and...

Good

emu oil

The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is a large, flightless bird indigenous to Australia. The oil...

Categories: Emollients
Good

ester

A compound formed from the reaction between an alcohol and an acid via the elimination of water....

Categories: Emollients
Good

ethyl macadamiate

Mixture of fatty acids from macadamia nut oil.

Good

ethylhexyl palmitate

A blend of non-drying ethylhexyl alcohol with palm-derived palmitic acid. Uses include emollient, solvent, and skin conditioning.

Good

ethylhexyl stearate

Commonly used as an emollient to deliver skin-softening properties and a smooth afterfeel.

Good

Euphorbia cerifera wax

A type of wax derived from candelilla plants, often used in lip care products for barrier protection and emollience. Also contributes to the product's solid consistency.

Best

evening primrose oil

Can have significant soothing and emollient benefits for skin.

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

cetearyl alcohol

Beneficial emollient for skin (completely different from damaging/drying forms of alcohol). Also influences the foaming effects of a cleanser.

Good

cetearyl ethylhexanoate

A derivative of fatty alcohol cetearyl alcohol and a colorless, thicker oil known as 2-ethylhexanoic acid. Works as a rich emollient and is excellent for dry skin.

Good

cetearyl octanoate

Good

cetyl acetate

A mixture of cetyl alcohol and acetic acid used as a skin-replenishing agent and emollient.

Categories: Emollients
Good

cetyl alcohol

Fatty alcohol used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener, and carrying agent for other...

Good

cetyl dimethicone copolyol

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose

A derivative of fatty alcohol cetearyl alcohol and a thicker oil known as 2-ethylhexanoic acid. Works as a rich emollient and is excellent for dry skin.

Good

cetyl palmitate

Cetyl palmitate is a blend of cetyl alcohol and palmitic acid that conditions skin and helps prevent water loss. The waxy nature of this ingredient makes it preferred for dry skin

Categories: Emollients
Good

chlorella

Best

cholesterol

The surface of skin depends on the stratum corneum lipid matrix, which...

Best

cocoa butter

Oil extracted from cocoa beans, used as an emollient and with properties similar to those of other...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

cocoglycerides

Derived from coconut oil, these serve to moisturize skin and can help thicken skin care products to their desired texture.

Best

coconut oil

Non-volatile plant kernel oil that has emollient properties for skin.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Cocus nucifera

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Codium tomentosum extract

Good

Corallina officinalis extract

Best

corn oil

Emollient oil with properties similar to those of other nonfragrant plant oils (Source: British...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Corylus americana

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Corylus avellana

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

cyclohexasiloxane

One of the numerous forms of synthetic silicone

Categories: Emollients
Good

cyclomethicone

Silicone that is used to improve the aesthetics of a formula (its dry finish can help make moisturizers feel less greasy).

Categories: Emollients
Good

cyclopentasiloxane

Lightweight silicone with a silky, slippery feel that functions as a skin/hair conditioning agent.

Categories: Emollients
Good

cyclotetrasiloxane

A type of silicone that is most often utilized for contributing emollience to a formula and delivering a skin-softening effect.

Categories: Emollients
Good

decyl oleate

A skin-conditioning agent with research backing its ability to improve immediate skin hydration. Its composition is similar to skin’s natural lipids.

Categories: Emollients
Good

dicaprylyl carbonate

A skin-conditioning agent, emollient and solvent that helps enhance the absorption of other ingredients in a cosmetic formula. May be derived from synthetic or animal sources.

Categories: Emollients
Good

diethylhexyl malate

Emollient and skin-conditioning agent derived from the solvent ethyl hexanediol.

Categories: Emollients
Good

diisopropyl adipate

Used as a film-forming agent, emollient, and skin-conditioning agent.

Good

diisopropyl dimer dilinoleate

A synthetic ester that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and emollient.

Categories: Emollients
Good

diisostearyl dimer dilinoleate

A synthetic ester that functions as an emollient and skin-conditioning agent. May be animal-derived.

Categories: Emollients
Good

diisostearyl malate

Diisostearyl malate is an ester that functions as an emollient...

Categories: Emollients
Good

dimer dilinoleyl dimer dilinoleate

A mixture of fatty acids and a fatty alcohol. This synthetic ingredient...

Good

dimethicone

An emollient silicone known for its permeable (think breathable) barrier that helps skin retain hydration. It has a uniquely silky, non-greasy feel.

Good

dimethicone copolyol

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dimethicone crosspolymer

A silicone derivative used as a stabilizing and suspending agent or as a thickener in skin care products.

Good

dimethicone/PEG-10/15 crosspolymer

A mixture of the silicone dimethicone with PEG-10 and PEG-15.

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dimethiconol

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dipentaerythrityl hexacaprylate/hexacaprate

Mixture of fatty acids used as an emollient, emulsifier, and thickening agent. Leaves skin feeling soft and conditioned.

Best

gamma linolenic acid (GLA)

Fatty acid used in cosmetics as an emollient and antioxidant. GLA is considered to...

Good

Gellidiela acerosa extract

Extract derived from a type of algae.

Best

GLA

Good

glycereth-26

Functions as a skin-conditioning agent to provide a soft, smooth feel.

Good

glycereth-26 phosphate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glycereth-6 laurate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glycerol monostearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glycerol triacetate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glycerol trioleate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl behanate

A simple mixture of glycerin and the naturally-occuring fatty acid behenic acid. Glyceryl behenate...

Good

glyceryl cocoate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl dibehanate

A complex mixture of glycerin and the naturally-occurring fatty acid behenic acid. Glyceryl...

Categories: Emollients
Good

glyceryl dipalmitate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl distearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl ester

Large group of ingredients that are composed of fats and oils. At room temperature, the fats are...

Good

glyceryl isopalmitate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl isostearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl myristate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl oleate

Mixture of portions of glycerin and oleic acid that can serve as an emollient, surfactant, emulsifier, and absorption enhancer within skin care formulas.

Good

glyceryl palmitate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl stearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

isononyl isononanoate

An ester that functions as a skin-conditioning agent. Occurs naturally in cocoa and lavender oil.

Categories: Emollients
Good

isopropyl isostearate

The ester of isopropyl alcohol and isostearic acid. It is used as a skin-conditioning agent and emollient in cosmetics products...

Categories: Emollients
Good

isopropyl lanolate

Derived from lanolin, it is used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

Good

isopropyl myristate

Texture enhancer and emollient as used in cosmetics.

Good

isopropyl palmitate

Texture enhancer and emollient as used in cosmetics. It can potentially be...

Good

isopropyl titanium triisostearate

A synthetic or animal-derived ingredient used as a surface treatment for cosmetic pigments...

Good

Japan wax

Vegetable wax obtained from sumac berries, and used as a thickening agent and emollient in...

Best

jojoba butter

The fattiest portion of jojoba oil, used as an intensive emollient.

Best

jojoba esters

Jojoba esters are a mixture of esters from jojoba oil and hydrogenated jojoba oil that are used as emollients, occlusives, or as scrub particles in cosmetics.

Best

jojoba oil

Emollient, non-fragrant oil (technically, a polyunsaturated wax) extracted from the seeds of a perennial shrub.

Best

jojoba wax

Semi-solid portion of jojoba oil.

Good

kelp extract

Best

kukui nut oil

Non-volatile oil from a plant native to Hawaii; it has emollient properties for skin (Source:...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Laminaria longicruris

Good

Laminaria sacharrina

Good

lanolin

Emollient, very thick substance derived from sheep. Lanolin has long been...

Good

lanolin alcohol

Emollient derived from lanolin.

Good

lauryl lactate

Mixture of lauryl alcohol and lactic acid that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and...

Best

lecithin

Phospholipid found in egg yolks and may be plant or animal derived. It is widely used in...

Good

glyceryl stearate SE

Emulsifies water and oil; can also be used as a thickener. Derivative of glyceryl stearate that is a self-emulsifying (that’s what the “SE” stands for).

Best

Glycine soja (soybean) oil

Glycine soja (soybean) oil is a non-fragrant plant oil with multiple uses for skin.

Best

Glycine soja seed extract

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Glycine soja sterols

A sterol is a solid complex alcohol derived from animals and plants. In this case, the sterols are...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

glycol stearate

A mixture of glycerin and stearic acid used as an emollient, surfactant, and emulsifier. May also be used to impart a pearlescent appearance to a formula.

Best

glycolipid

Type of lipid composed of sugar (monosaccharide) and fat (lipid) that forms an important component...

Best

grape seed oil

Emollient, non-fragrant plant oil that also has excellent antioxidant properties...

Good

Haslea ostrearia extract

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

Good

hazelnut oil

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

Categories: Emollients
Best

Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil

Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil is a non-volatile, non-fragrant plant oil used as an emollient in cosmetics.

Best

Helianthus oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

hemp seed oil

From the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

hexyl laurate

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

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

hexyldecanol

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

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

Himanthalia elongate extract

Extract of a species of algae.

Good

hydrogenated coco-glyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Best

hydrogenated lecithin

Categories: Skin-Restoring, Emollients
Best

hydrogenated olive oil

A rich source of antioxidants; can help increase the viscosity and emolliency of a formula. Hydrogenating the oil changes it from its natural liquid state into a solid.

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 emollient and skin-softening agent. In certain formulations it lends a non-occlusive film for added skin barrier protection.

Categories: Emollients
Good

hydrogenated polyisobutene

Synthetic emollient with research backing its ability to provide long-lasting moisture retention. It acts as a lubricant on skin’s surface, providing a soft, smooth feel.

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 vegetable glycerides citrate

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

Best

hydrolyzed jojoba esters

Essential fatty acids from the jojoba plant, broken down by water to form a new complex. They serve as skin-softening and stabilizing ingredients in cosmetics.

Good

hydrolyzed jojoba protein

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

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

hydroxylated lecithin

Categories: Emollients
Good

Irish moss extract

Type of red algae.

Best

linoleic acid

Unsaturated fatty acid used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. There is some...

Best

lipid

Wide range of ingredients found in plants, animals, and human skin. Lipids include fatty acids,...

Best

lupine

Legume that is a source of isoflavones with antioxidant properties.

Best

lupine oil

Extract of Lupinus albus, a legume; it has emollient and antioxidant properties.

Best

Lupinus albus seed extract

Non-fragrant plant extract that serves as a beneficial source of fatty acids and antioxidants for skin.

Good

macadamia nut oil

Used in cosmetics as an emollient for dry skin.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

peanut oil

Emollient plant oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

pecan oil

Emollient plant oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

pectin

Natural substance found in plants, especially apples, and used in cosmetics as an emulsifier and...

Good

PEG-10 dimethicone

A synthetic blend of polyethylene glycol and skin-protecting silicone that conditions skin and hair.

Good

PEG-10 dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer

A synthetic, silicone-enhanced polymer that helps products adhere…

Good

PEG-10 rapeseed sterol

A blend of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and the fatty acid component of the rapeseed plant. Used as a...

Good

PEG-100 stearate

Good

PEG-12 dimethicone

A silicone blend of skin-protective dimethicone and a lightweight polyethylene glycol. It functions as a hair and skin-conditioning agent.

Good

PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate

A mix of polyethylene glycol, methyl glucose, and stearic acid that serves as an emollient and emulsifier in cosmetics. Good example of combining natural and synthetic.

Good

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil

Emollient ingredient that is a mixture of polyethylene glycol (PEG) with castor oil.

Good

PEG-60 almond glycerides

The polyethylene glycol derivative of fatty acids from almond oil...

Categories: Emollients
Good

PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil

The chief function of this ingredient is cleansing agent.

Good

PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate

A complex blend of a polyethylene glycol derivative and coconut + glycerin-derived cleansing agent. The blend can be an emollient, emulsifier, and surfactant.

Good

PEG-8

A synthetic polymer that works to bind moisture to skin and as a solvent for other cosmetic ingredients, helping them penetrate more efficiently.

Good

PEG 90M

Good

PEG

PEG is the acronym for polyethylene glycol. Various forms of PEG compounds are mixed with fatty...

Good

PEG/PPG-17/6 copolymer

A synthetic glycol-created polymer that works primarily as a solvent but can also be an emollient and cleansing agent.

Good

PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone

PEG stands for polyethylene glycol; PPG stands for polypropylene glycol.

Good

PEG/PPG-20/15 dimethicone

PEG stands for polyethylene glycol; PPG stands for polypropylene glycol.

Good

pentaerythrityl tetraoctanoate

Synthetic compound as an emollient and thickening agent.

Best

Persea gratissima (avocado) oil

Persea gratisima is the Latin name for avocado, and the oil from this fruit is an excellent source of skin-replenishing fatty acids

Good

petrolatum

This ingredient is widely considered one of the best and gentlest options for dry skin and is often used in moisturizers and balms. It is highly purified and is safe as used in cosmetics.

Categories: Skin-Soothing, Emollients
Good

phenyl trimethicone

In skin care, it contributes to a product’s silky texture and feel on skin. In hair care, it conditions and increases luster.

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Best

phosphatidylcholine

Active ingredient in lecithin…

Best

phosphatidylethanolamine

Best

phytosterols

Phytosterols are naturally occurring, cholesterol-like molecules found in all plant foods.

Good

pistachio seed oil

Emollient plant oil with uses similar to peanut oil in cosmetics.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Pistacia vera seed oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

plum seed oil

Plum (Prunus domestica) seed oil, also known as plum kernel oil, is non-fragrant oil…

Best

Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter

More commonly known as mango butter, this ingredient is a very good plant-based...

Good

Mastocarpus stellatus

Best

Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil

Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil is a non-fragrant, edible plant oil originally developed as an agricultural crop in the 1950s.

Good

methicone

One of the simpler silicones due to its less complex molecular structure. It helps give skin products a silky feel and helps skin retain moisture.

Good

methyl glucose sesquistearate

A mixure of the diesters of methyl glucoside and stearic acid. Functions as a skin-conditioning...

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

methyl trimethicone

Good

methylsilanol mannuronate

Good

methylsilanol PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate

A glyceryl ester used as an emollient and texture enhancer in cosmetics.

Good

Microcystis aeruginosa

Latin name for spirulina.

Good

milk protein

Good

mineral oil

Clear, odorless oil derived from petroleum that is widely used in cosmetics because it rarely...

Categories: Emollients
Good

murumuru seed butter

Categories: Emollients, Plant Extracts
Good

myristyl myristate

Used as a texture enhancer and emollient. It has a wetter feel and is best for dry skin.

Good

neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate

Emollient that leaves a silky (but not greasy) afterfeel on skin.

Good

octyl palmitate

Used in cosmetics as a texture enhancer and emollient.

Good

octyl stearate

Used in cosmetics as a texture enhancer and emollient.

Good

octyldodecanol

A mineral wax used as a texture enhancer in cosmetics, especially to add stability to lipsticks and stick foundations and keep them blended.

Good

octyldodecyl myristate

Mixture of octyldodecanol (thickener) and myristic acid that forms a new compound used as a...

Good

octyldodecyl neopentanoate

A skin-softening agent and emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Best

Oenothera biennis oil

Good

Olea europaea fruit oil

Best

Olea europaea oil unsaponifiables

An unsaponifiable oil is the portion of a plant oil that is not broken down when the oil's fatty...

Good

olive oil/olive fruit oil

Emollient plant oil similar to many other non-fragrant plant oils. The concept of olive oil having...

Good

Orbignya martiana

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Orbignya oleifera seed oil

Orbignya oleifera seed oil is more commonly known as babassu oil, a non-fragrant nut oil that smooths and softens skin as well as being a good antioxidant.

Good

Oryza sativa oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Padina pavonica extract

Good

palm kernel acid

A mixture of fatty acids derived from palm oil. Used as a cleansing agent, emulsifier, or to add...

Best

palm oil

Has emollient and antioxidant properties for skin.

Good

Palmaria palmata extract

Extract from a type of algae whose common name is dulse.

Good

palmitic acid

Blend of the fatty acid palmitic acid with several amino acids…

Good

Paraffinum liquidum

The Latin name for emollient ingredient mineral oil, also known as liquid paraffin.

Categories: Emollients
Good

polyethylene

A synthetic polymer whose many uses in cosmetics depend on whether it is used in solid, wax, or liquid forms. In solid form it can be an abrasive; wax and liquid forms serve as binding or thickening agents and film-formers.

Good

polyglycerol monostearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate

Good

polyglyceryl-4 isostearate

The ester of isostearic acid and polyglycerin-4 that functions as an emollient and can also be a...

Good

polyglyceryl-6 isostearate

A synthetic mixture of fatty acids from stearic acids and a glycerin polymer. Multiple roles in cosmetics include emollient, emulsifier, and surfactant, making it a good choice for hydrating cleansers.

Categories: Emollients
Good

polymethylsilsesquioxane

A silicone derivative that serves as a skin conditioning agent and moisturizer in cosmetics.

Good

PPG-3 benzyl ether myristate

An emollient that has a silicone-like feel and multiple functions in cosmetic products...

Categories: Emollients
Good

propylene glycol isostearate

A mixture of propylene glycol and isostearic acid. See both. This ingredient is used as an...

Good

propylene glycol laurate

The ester of propylene glycol and lauric acid, which is a constituent of many vegetable fats.

Categories: Emollients
Good

Prunus amygdalus dulcis

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil

Latin name for apricot and also known as Armenian plum. Use in cosmetics depends on the part used: oil, extract, water/juice, leaf, seed, or shell.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Prunus domestica seed oil

Non-fragrant plant oil, more commonly known as plum (and, when dried, prune) that is a rich source of several potent antioxidants.

Good

Prunus dulcis

Categories: Emollients
Best

pumpkin seed extract

Type of squash that is a very good source of antioxidant cartenoids. Pumpkin seed oil and extract...

Good

quinoa oil

Derived from quinoa grain, it may have disinfectant properties (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

rapeseed oil

Nonfragrant oil that has emollient and potential antioxidant properties for skin (Source: British...

Good

sodium PEG-7 olive oil carboxylate

A mild surfactant formed by reacting fatty acids from olive oil esters with polyethylene glycol (PEG).

Good

sodium polyacrylate

A versatile, synthetic polymer used as a film-forming agent, stabilizer, absorbent, thickening agent, and emollient.

Good

Sonojell

Trade name for petrolatum.

Categories: Skin-Soothing, Emollients
Best

soy oil

Soy oil is a non-fragrant plant oil with multiple uses for skin.

Good

spirulina

Best

squalane

Squalane is a moisturizing ingredient that’s also a source of skin-replenishing fatty acids and antioxidants.

Best

squalene

Oil derived from shark liver or from plants (usually olives). It is a natural component...

Good

stearates

Good

stearic acid

Fatty acid used as an emollient and emulsifier...

Good

stearyl alcohol

A type of non-irritating fatty alcohol used to moisturize skin and to help keep other ingredients intact in a formulation.

Good

stearyl methicone

Silicone polymer used as a skin-conditioning or occlusive agent.

Good

stearyl stearate

A plant-based wax prepared with natural fatty acids combined with synthetic fatty alcohols.

Best

sunflower seed oil

Non-volatile plant oil used as an emollient in cosmetics.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

sweet almond

Most often used in its oil form, this ingredient is expressed from almonds. Also used as an...

Categories: Emollients, Plant Extracts
Good

sweet almond oil

Emollient, non-fragrant plant oil.

Categories: Emollients
Good

synthetic beeswax

An artificial form of beeswax composed of a mixture of alcohol esters...

Best

red algae

Good

rice bran oil

Emollient oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils. There is no research showing this has any...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

rice oil

Emollient similar to other nonfragrant plant oils. There is no research showing this has any...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Rosa canina

Good

Rosa centifolia

Good

Rosa centifolia flower

Good

Rosa eglanteria

Good

Rosa mosqueta

Good

Rosa rubiginosa

Good

rose hip

Good

rose hip oil

Good emollient oil that has antioxidant properties (Sources: Journal of Agricultural Food...

Best

rutin

Bioflavonoid that is extracted from various plants and used in cosmetics as an antioxidant and...

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Good

saccharide isomerate

Water-binding agent and emollient, particularly helpful for dry skin. Research indicates it has an affinity for soothing and strengthening skin’s barrier, while delivering long-lasting hydration.

Best

safflower seed oil

Emollient oil derived from the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) plant.

Best

Sclerocarya birrea

More commonly known as marula oil, Sclerocarya birrea oil is a non-fragrant plant oil that's a rich source...

Good

Seamollient

Trade name for an algae extract.

Good

seaweed

Group of sea plants (scientific name: algae) of all sizes and shapes, and having a gelatin-like...

Best

Sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil

Sesame oil is a non-fragrant plant oil that is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats along with vitamin E and lignans.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

Sesamum indicum

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

sesquioleate

Used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

Best

shea butter

Shea butter is a plant lipid extracted from the karite tree that is used as an emollient in cosmetics.

Good

silicone

Substance derived from silica (sand is a silica). The unique fluid properties of silicone give it a...

Good

siloxane

Best

Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil

Best

Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

tribehenin

A mixture of skin-replenishing glycerin and a fatty acid known as behenic acid that conditions skin and helps prevent moisture loss. May be plant-derived or synthetic.

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 stearate

Offers skin conditioning and emollient properties. Can also be included in formulas as a thickening agent.

Good

triethoxysilylethyl polydimethylsiloxyethyl hexyl dimethicone

A silicone polymer that has multiple functions in cosmetic products, including skin and hair softening and as a texture enhancer.

Categories: Emollients
Good

triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

trihydroxystearin

A mixture of glycerin and castor oil-derived fatty acids that is used in amounts between 1–7% 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

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

Triticum vulgare germ oil

Non-fragrant plant oil that imparts emollience and delivers beneficial compounds including skin-replenishing squalane.

Best

vitamin F

Name sometimes used to represent essential fatty acids of linoleic acid and linolenic acid. These...

Good

walnut oil

Emollient, non-fragrant plant oil...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

wheat germ glycerides

Used as emollient and texture enhancer in cosmetics.

Good

wheat germ oil

Emollient plant oil similar to all non-fragrant plant oils.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Ximenia americana oil

Latin name for plum oil; it can have emollient properties.

Good

methyl gluceth-20 benzoate

The ester of methyl gluceth-20 and preservative and pH adjuster benzoic acid. Esters are ingredients formed from alcohols and acids by eliminating water. Functions as an emollient and solvent.

Best

Pongamia glabra seed oil

Oil derived from the seeds of the Millettia pinnata tree, a plant native to South and Southeast Asia...

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Best

glyceryl behenate

An ester emollient of fatty acid behenic acid...

Good

glyceryl rosinate

An ester of long chain acids derived from a plant-based ingredient known as rosin.

Best

lauryl laurate

An ester of lauryl alcohol and lauric acid...

Best

Salvia hispanica (chia) seed oil

Non-fragrant plant oil whose seeds are a rich source of fatty acids...

Best

Argania spinosa kernel oil

Argania spinosa kernel oil is the latin name for the oil expressed from the kernels of the argan tree.

Good

myristyl alcohol

A lighter-weight fatty alcohol that functions as a thickener, emulsion stabilizer, and emollient.

Best

hydrolyzed algae extract

The hydrolyzed form of algae extract, and a rich source of polysaccharides for skin.

Good

caprylyl caprylate/caprate

A synthetic ester blend of medium chain fatty acids and fatty alcohol that works as an emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Best

ethylhexyl olivate

A natural ester of skin-conditioning fatty acids derived from olive oil. It can have an occlusive effect on skin.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

isoamyl cocoate

A mix of non-irritating fatty alcohol isoamyl alcohol and coconut acid, this natural ingredient works as an emollient on skin.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

sucrose stearate

Sucrose stearate is an ester of stearic acid and sugar that works as an emollient and cleansing agent.

Good

polyglyceryl-10 stearate

Polyglyceryl-10 stearate is the ester of stearic acid with a glycerin polymer that functions as a skin-softener and emollient ingredient.

Good

triethylhexanoin

Triethylhexanoin is a synthetic mixture of glycerin and a fatty acid that functions as a solvent, occlusive, and skin-conditioning ingredient.

Categories: Emollients
Best

Butyrosperum parkii (shea) butter extract

Butyrosperum parkii (shea) butter extract doesn’t just have a rich texture; it’s also a rich source of antioxidants and replenishing antioxidants.

Good

Ahnfeltiopsis concinna extract

Ahnfeltiopsis concinna extract is a type of red algae with calming and hydrating properties for skin.

Best

phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate

Phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, a mix of amino acids and plant-based sterols, functions in cosmetics as an emollient and skin-conditioner.

Categories: Emollients
Best

Moringa oleifera seed oil

Moringa oil is a non-fragrant plant oil that contains several antioxidants and vitamins.

Good

diisostearyl polyglyceryl-3 dimer dilinoleate

Diisostearyl polyglyceryl-3 dimer dilinoleate is an emollient blend of fatty acids often used in cosmetics to enhance coverage.

Best

Euterpe oleracea (acai) sterols

Euterpe oleracea (acai) sterols are the sterol portion derived from the acai plant.

Good

ceteareth-6 olivate

A mixture of a derivative of fatty alcohol cetearyl alcohol and a fatty acid from olives. Works to make emulsions stable and offers skin-smoothing emollient properties.

Good

silica silylate

Silica silylate works as a binder, thickening agent, and emollient in cosmetics.

Good

polyglyceryl-4 laurate

Polyglyceryl-4 laurate works as an emollient, emulsifier, and a cleansing agent

Categories: Emulsifiers, Emollients
Good

coco-caprylate

A lightweight, easy-to-spread emollient ingredient that smooths and softens skin.

Categories: Emollients, Hydration
Good

coco caprylate/caprate

An emollient that leaves a non-greasy, soft finish on skin. Can also function as a prebiotic to help feed skin’s natural supply of probiotics.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

diisostearoyl trimethylolpropane siloxy silicate

Emollient in the silicone family.

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

disodium diglyceryl phosphate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Best

phospholipid

Type of lipid (fat) composed of glycerol, fatty acids, and phosphate. Phospholipids are essential...

Good

polyglyceryl 2 triisostearate

A mixture of the fatty acid Isostearic acid and a form of glycerin that functions as a...

Best

Vitis vinifera

Latin name for the vines that produce wine grapes. More commonly known as grape seed oil or grape...

Good

hydrogenated castor oil/sebacic acid copolymer

Synthetic and plant-derived ingredient that works as a skin-smoothing emollient and also helps the hair’s cuticle layer flatten so it feels healthier and reflects light better.

Categories: Emollients
Good

polyamide-8

An emollient, crystal-clear ingredient that gives water-resistance and moisturizing properties to products such as lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows.

Best

polyglyceryl-4 olivate

Polyglyceryl-4 olivate is the plant-derived or synthetic ester of olive oil and polyglycerin.

Categories: Emollients, Emulsifiers
Good

behenyl behenate

Behenyl behenate is the wax-like ester of the fatty acid behenic acid and fatty alcohol behenyl alcohol.

Categories: Hydration, Emollients
Best

Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) unsaponifiables

A highly moisturizing portion of shea butter that also has soothing and barrier-repairing benefits that are very helpful for dry skin and lips.

Good

triisostearin

Helps improve product texture by adding a cushiony feel and smooth application that sets to a hydrated, glossy finish.

Best

Cassia angustifolia seed polysaccharide

Cassia angustifolia seed polysaccharide is the polysaccharide portion derived from the seed of the Cassia angustifolium plant.

Categories: Emollients, Plant Extracts
Good

polyglyceryl-3 stearate

Polyglyceryl-3 stearate is the ester of the fatty acid stearic acid and polyglycerin-3, which is a polymer of glycerin that contains three units.

Categories: Emollients, Emulsifiers
Good

sucrose cocoate

Versatile, gentle, coconut-derived cleansing agent, foam booster, texture enhancer, and emollient used in both rinse-off and leave-on products.

Good

hydroxystearic acid

A gentle, plant-derived ingredient whose versatility lends itself to many types of cosmetics, including cleansers, sunscreens, hair care, and makeup.

Best

Silybum marianum seed oil

Silybum marianum seed oil comes from the milk thistle plant.

Good

diisooctyl succinate

Diisooctyl succinate is a synthetic or plant-derived (Paula’s Choice uses the latter) transparent liquid emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

olive oil PEG-7 esters

Olive oil PEG-7 esters comes from a process known as transesterification.

Good

cetyl esters

A synthetic wax that is a replacement for a wax that’s obtained from sperm whales. Works on skin as an emollient and texture enhancer, typically creating a thicker feel.

Best

Raphanus sativus (radish) seed oil

Raphanus sativus (radish) seed oil is non-fragrant plant oil that’s a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids.

Good

propylene glycol dibenzoate

A synthetic blend of moisture-binding solvent propylene glycol with the preservative benzoic acid. It works in cosmetics as a skin-softening emollient.

Categories: Emollients
Good

PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate

PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate is an ester of the fatty acid isostearic acid combined with polyethylene glycol and glycerin.

Good

diethylhexyl carbonate

Functions as a lightweight emollient. Can also be used in sunscreen formulas to help keep the active ingredients dispersed throughout the formula.

Categories: Emollients
Best

hydrogenated rapeseed oil

Hydrogenated rapeseed oil works as an emollient, thickening agent, and occlusive.

Good

glyceryl stearate citrate

Glyceryl stearate citrate is an ester of citric acid and glyceryl stearate.

Categories: Emulsifiers, Emollients

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:

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!