Rating Ingredient
Good

maltooligosyl glucoside

A polysaccharide that’s naturally-derived and then combined with a starch. It has multiple functions in cosmetics, including binding agent, emulsifier, hydrator, texture enhancer, and film-forming agent.

Good

isopropyl titanium triisostearate

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

Good

lauryl PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone

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

Good

hydrogenated vegetable glycerides citrate

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

Good

isoamyl laurate

The ester of isoamyl alcohol and lauric acid, this plant- or synthetic-based texture-enhancing ingredient feels velvety-soft.

Good

PEG-10 phytosterol

A synthetic or soy-derived (Paula’s Choice Skincare uses the latter) ingredient used in cosmetics as a cleansing agent and emulsifier.

Good

polyglyceryl-10 laurate

A plant-derived or synthetic ester of lauric acid and the synthetic polymer polyglycerin-10.

Good

PPG-26-Buteth-26

A derivative of butyl alcohol (a non-irritating fatty alcohol) that works to condition skin and hair in cosmetics.

Good

sodium dilauramidoglutamide lysine

Plant-derived ingredient that helps skin rejuvenate, while also functioning as a surfactant and emulsifier to keep the formula from separating. Its ceramide-like structure has a high affinity for skin.

Good

sodium lauroyl sarcosinate

Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is a synthetic or plant-derived surfactant (cleansing agent) that also works as an emulsifier.

Good

tribehenin PEG-20 esters

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

Good

triethanolamine

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

Categories: Miscellaneous, Emulsifiers
Good

trideceth-6

An emulsifier, meaning it helps keep unlike ingredients (such as oil and water) from separating in an emulsion...

Categories: Emulsifiers
Best

polyglyceryl-3 rice branate

An ingredient that serves as a surfactant and emulsifier and is a derivative of the fatty acids that come from rice bran oil.

Good

ceteareth-25

A fatty alcohol that functions as an emulsifier and surfactant in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl rosinate

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

Good

sodium stearoyl lactylate

A synthetic or animal-derived ingredient...

Good

sorbitan laurate

Sorbitan laurate is an ester that works as a cleansing agent and emulsifier.

Good

sorbeth-230 tetraoleate

A complex mixture consisting primarily of fatty acid oleic acid and a sugar known as sorbitol. Works as a cleansing agent, thickener, and emulsifier.

Good

C11-15 pareth-7

C11-15 pareth-7 is a lightweight, synthetic mixture of fatty alcohols and polyethylene glycols that functions as an emulsifier and surfactant.

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

C12-16 pareth-9

C12-16 pareth-9 is a lightweight, synthetic mixture of fatty alcohols and polyethylene glycols that functions as an emulsifier and surfactant.

Good

trideceth-12

Trideceth-12 is a synthetic mixture of a fatty alcohol (tridecyl alcohol) and polyethylene glycol that functions as an emulsifier and cleansing agent.

Good

polyglyceryl-10 dioleate

Polyglyceryl-10 dioleate is a mixture of the fatty acid esters of oleic acid and a polymer, polyglycerin-10, which functions as a hydrator and emulsifier.

Categories: Emulsifiers, Hydration
Good

sorbitan olivate

Sorbitan olivate is a mixture of the fatty acids from olive oil plus a sugar known as sorbitol.

Good

cetearyl olivate

Cetearyl olivate is an ester of cetearyl alcohol and fatty acids from olive oil.

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.

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

polyglyceryl-4 laurate

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

Categories: Emulsifiers, Emollients
Best

polyglyceryl-4 olivate

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

Categories: Emollients, Emulsifiers
Good

myristamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate

myristamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate

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

olive oil PEG-7 esters

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

Good

sodium stearoyl glutamate

Sodium stearoyl glutamate is a synthetic or animal-derived ingredient that is added to cosmetics to condition skin or work as an emulsifier.

Categories: Emulsifiers, Hydration
Good

PEG-75 stearate

PEG-75 stearate is an ester blend of polyethylene glycol and stearic acid.

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

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!