Rating Ingredient
Good

1, 2-Hexanediol

A preservative belonging to a class of agents known as higher molecular glycols.

Categories: Preservatives
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
Poor

Acacia farnesiana extract

A fragrant extract from a type of acacia tree. There is no research showing it to have any benefit...

Good

acacia senegal gum

Herb that can have skin soothing properties, but is used primarily as a thickening agent.

Best

acai

Pronounced "ah-sigh-ee", this small berry with a deep purple color is a source of...

Poor

acetic acid

Acid found in vinegar, some fruits, and human sweat. It can be sensitizing to skin...

Categories: Sensitizing
Poor

acetone

Strong solvent that is used in Nail Polish removers.

Categories: Sensitizing
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.

Best

acetyl carnitine HCL

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

acetyl glucosamine

Amino acid sugar and primary constituent of mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

acetyl glyceryl ricinoleate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Best

acetyl hexapeptide-1

Acetyl hexapeptide-1 is a synthetic peptide composed of the amino acids alanine, arginine, histidine, leucine, phenylalanine and tryptophan.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

acetyl hexapeptide-37

Acetyl hexapeptide-37 is a synthetic peptide composed of the amino acids alanine, proline, serine and glycine.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Good

acetyl hexapeptide-8

Acetyl hexapeptide-8 is a synthetically-derived peptide that, like all peptides, has water-binding properties and skin-restoring ability.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Good

acetyl octapeptide-3

A synthetic peptide that is based around octapeptide-3, a peptide complex composed of the amino acids aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glutamine, and methionine...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

acetyl tetrapeptide-11

Acetyl tetrapeptide-11 is a synthetic peptide that helps skin look and feel healthier.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

acetyl tetrapeptide-5

Acetyl tetrapeptide-5 is a synthetic peptide that has calming, smoothing, hydrating, and firmness-enhancing benefits when applied to skin.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

acetyl tetrapeptide-9

Acetyl tetrapeptide-9 is a synthetic peptide that helps visibly restore skin's natural support.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Average

acetyl tributyl citrate

Related to citric acid and used as a plasticizer, most commonly in nail polish and nail-hardening...

Good

acetyl tyrosine

An amino acid complex that functions as a skin-conditioning agent. There is no research proving it...

Categories: Hydration
Poor

Achillea millefolium

Average

acid

Anything with a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic—above 7 is considered alkaline. Water has a pH...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

acne soap

Soaps that often contain strong cleansing ingredients, they are often overly drying and...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

acrylate

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer

A synthetic ingredient used to enhance the texture of skincare and haircare products.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

acrylates/dimethicone copolymer

A silicone-enhanced film-forming agent. Also functions as a binding agent so products adhere better...

Good

acrylates/steareth-20 methacrylate copolymer

A synthetic polymer that blends stearth-20 with one or more forms of methacrylic acid. Functions as...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

acrylates copolymer

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Average

Actaea racemosa

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Actinidia chinensis (kiwi fruit) extract

Actinidia chinensis (kiwi fruit) extract is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C.

Best

adenosine

Yeast-derived ingredient that functions as a good soothing and skin-restoring agent.

Best

adenosine phosphate

Also known as AMP, adenosine phosphate is a skin-soothing and restoring ingredient that's similar to adenosine triphosphate.

Best

adenosine triphosphate

An organic compound from adenosine, which is formed by the hydrolysis of yeast nucleic acids. All...

Good

adipic acid/neopentyl glycol/trimellitic anhydride copolymer

A synthetic polymer.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Poor

advanced glycation endproduct (AGE)

Advanced glycation endproducts, also known as AGEs, are caused by the body's major fuel source, namely glucose.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

Aerocarpus santalinus

Good

Aesculus hippocastanum

Good

agar

Good

Agastache mexicana (hyssop) flower/leaf/stem extract

Agastache mexicana (also known as hyssop) is a flowering shrub native to North America that’s an edible plant with an anise-like flavor and aroma.

Poor

AGE

Categories: Miscellaneous
Average

Agrimonia eupatoria leaf extract

Research shows this plant extract has antioxidant properties....

Best

AHA

AHA, also known as alpha hydroxy acid, exfoliates skin and improves signs of aging, dry skin and an uneven skin tone.

Categories: Exfoliant
Good

Ahnfeltia concinna extract

Good

ahnfeltia extract

Good

Ahnfeltiopsis concinna extract

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

Good

alanine

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

Alaria esculenta

Poor

albumin

Found in egg white, and can leave a film over skin. It can constrict skin temporarily, which can...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Poor

alcloxa

More technically known as aluminum chlorhydroxy allantoinate, alcloxa has constricting properties...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

alcohol

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

Best

Aleurites moluccana seed oil

Best

alfalfa extract

Can be an antioxidant in skincare products…

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.

Good

aliphatic hydrocarbon

Hydrocarbon contained in natural gas and mineral oils. It is a synthetic fluid with varying...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

alkaline

Anything with a pH higher than 7 is alkaline; a pH below 7 is acidic. Water has a pH of 7; skin has...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

alkyloamides

Identified on skin-care product labels as DEA, triethanolamine (TEA), and monoethanolamine (MEA),...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

allantoin

By-product of uric acid extracted from urea and considered an effective skin-soothing and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

allyl methacrylates crosspolymer

A synthetic, non-aqueous polymer whose chief function is film-forming agent.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

almond/borage/linseed/olive acids glycerides

A mixture of the fatty acid and triglyceride components of several non-fragrant plant oils, including almond, borage, linseed, and olive.

Best

almond oil

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

Good

Aloe barbadensis

Good

aloe barbadensis leaf juice extract

Good

aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder

This form of aloe is the powder form of the aloe barbadensis leaf plant...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

aloe extract

Good

aloe juice

Good

aloe vera

There is no real evidence that aloe vera (Aloe barbadenis) helps the skin in any significant way....

Best

alpha bisabolol

Best

alpha glucan oligosaccharide

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

Categories: Emollients
Best

alpha hydroxy acid

Categories: Exfoliant
Poor

alpha isomethyl ionone

Alpha isomethyl ionone is a fragrance ingredient that must be listed on products that contain it due to its risk of causing a sensitized reaction.

Best

alpha lipoic acid

Alpha lipoic acid is an enzyme that, when applied topically on skin, appears to be a very good antioxidant, and is believed to have numerous soothing effects.

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

alpha-tocopherol

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Good

Alteromonas ferment extract

Alteromonas is found in deep areas of seawater.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Althaea rosea

Best

Althea officinalis

Latin name for the marshmallow plant.

Good

alumina

Aluminum oxide, which is used as an abrasive, a thickening agent, and an absorbent in cosmetics.

Good

aluminum

Aluminum is the most common element on Earth. It's also a common source of confusion in terms of its presence in cosmetics, specifically whether that presence poses a health risk.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

Aluminum hydroxide

A synthetic ingredient that functions as an opacifying agent. Secondary uses...

Good

aluminum magnesium silicate

Salt that has absorbent properties.

Categories: Absorbent
Good

aluminum powder

Metallic element used as a coloring agent. It is composed of finely ground particles of aluminum....

Good

aluminum silicate

Salt that has absorbent and abrasive properties.

Categories: Absorbent, Scrub Agents
Good

aluminum starch octenylsuccinate

Powdery thickening agent, absorbent, and anticaking agent used in cosmetics.

Good

aluminum stearate

The aluminum salt of stearic acid that functions as a thickening agent and helps stabilize products.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Poor

aluminum sulfate

It can sensitizing to skin.

Categories: Absorbent, Antioxidants
Best

amino acids

Fundamental constituents of all proteins found in the body.

Average

aminobutyric acid

Amino acid that has water-binding properties and may provide soothing benefits for skin. It...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

aminomethyl propanediol

Used to adjust pH in cosmetics.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

aminomethyl propanol

Aminomethyl propanol is a synthetic ingredient used in cosmetics as a pH adjuster.

Good

ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer

A synthetic polymer and film-forming agent that also serves to thicken cosmetic formulas...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Poor

ammonium chloride

Alkaline salt used as a pH balancer in skincare products; it is not used in concentrations that...

Categories: Absorbent
Best

ammonium glycolate

Synthetic form of glycolic acid used as a pH adjuster and exfoliant. It is sometimes paired with...

Categories: Exfoliant
Average

ammonium hydroxide

Clear, colorless liquid used in cosmetics to adjust a product's pH level. Ammonium hydroxide is...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

ammonium laureth sulfate

Can be derived from coconut; used primarily as a detergent cleansing agent and is considered gentle...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

ammonium lauryl sulfate

Can be derived from coconut; used primarily as a detergent cleansing agent and is considered gentle...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

amodimethicone

Good

amygdalic acid

Categories: Exfoliant, Antioxidants
Poor

amyl cinnamate

Fragrant component.

Poor

amyl salicylate

Fragrant component.

Poor

amyris oil

Fragrant oil. It has no other known benefit for skin.

Poor

Anacyclus pyrethrum

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Anacystis nidulans extract

Good

Ananas sativus fruit extract

Categories: Plant Extracts, Exfoliant
Best

Anastatica hierochuntica extract

Anastatica hierochuntica extract, also known as Rose of Jericho, has research showing it is a potent antioxidant and soothing ingredient.

Good

andiroba oil

Extracted from the Brazilian mahogany tree; it has soothing properties (Source:...

Average

Anethum graveolens

Poor

Angelica archangelica root oil

Volatile oil obtained from the angelica plant. The oil contains chemical constituents that can be...

Poor

Angelica polymorpha sinensis root extract

GOOD

anhydroxylitol

A natural, plant-derived ingredient that acts as a humectant to help skin absorb and retain moisture.

Categories: Hydration
Poor

anisaldehyde

Synthetic fragrance used in cosmetics.

Poor

anise

Also known as aniseed, it can have antioxidant properties...

Good

annato extract

Natural plant colorant derived from the flesh surrounding the seed of Bixa orellana, a shrub native...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Anthemis nobilis flower extract

Best

anthocyanin

Group of naturally occurring substances found in plants that give fruits, vegetables, and plants...

Best

antioxidant

General term for a large group of natural and synthetic ingredients that work to reduce...

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

apple fruit extract

General name for various types of apples, all of which have potent antioxidant ability that, at least in theory, can benefit skin when applied topically.

Average

apricot kernel

Often used as an abrasive agent in so-called "natural" scrubs. Apricot kernals have irregular and...

Categories: Scrub Agents
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

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

Good

arachidyl glucoside

A mild surfactant (cleansing) and emulsifying agent, made from...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
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

arbutin

Isolated from the leaves of the bearberry shrub, cranberry, blueberry, some...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Arctium lappa

Best

Arctium majus

Best

Arctostaphylos uva ursi leaf

Best

Argania spinosa

Best

Argania spinosa kernel oil

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

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

arginine

Amino acid that has antioxidant properties and can be helpful for soothing skin (Sources: Journal...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

Argireline

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

Aristotelia chilensis (maqui)

Maqui, also known as Chilean wineberry, is a richly-colored berry that contains a potent type of antioxidant anthocyanidin known as delphinidins.

Poor

arnica extract

Extract from the plant Arnica montana. There is research showing that when arnica is taken orally...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Average

aroma/flavor

Seeing "aroma/flavor" on an ingredient list can be either good or bad. For example, if the aroma or flavor comes from mint....

Average

arrowroot

Thickening agent; it has no known benefit for skin.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

artemia extract

Average

Artemisia absinthium extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Average

Artemisia vulgaris

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Ascophyllum nodosum

Species of seaweed.

Best

ascorbic acid

Form of vitamin C that has antioxidant properties (Sources: Advances in Experimental Medicine and...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

ascorbyl glucosamine

Form of vitamin C that has little research showing it has the antioxidant or brightening...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

ascorbyl glucoside

Ascorbyl glucoside is a stable form of vitamin C combined with glucose.When properly formulated and absorbed into...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate

Form of vitamin C that is considered stable and that functions as an antioxidant and thickening...

Best

ascorbyl palmitate

Stable and nonacidic form of vitamin C that is effective as an antioxidant (Source: Biochemical and...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Good

asparagine

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

Asparagopsis armata extract

Extract derived from seaweed.

Good

aspartic acid

Best

astaxanthin

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

astaxanthin extract

Carotenoid (carotene pigment) found in plants, algae, and fish, particularly salmon, that functions...

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

Astragalus membranaceus

Latin name for the Chinese herb Huang-Qi, also known as milk vetch.

Good

Astragalus sinicus

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

ATP

Best

atractylodes macrocephala root powder

A natural plant extract commonly used in Chinese and Korean herbal medicines.

Average

Atractyloydes lancea root extract

Also known as Chinese Thistle Daisy, this root extract is used in Chinese and Japanese alternative...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Avena sativa

See oatmeal, oat bran extract, gluten ingredients…

Best

avobenzone

Synthetic sunscreen ingredient (also known as Parsol 1789 and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane) that...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Best

avocado oil

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

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Poor

awapuhi

English name for wild ginger.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

Azadirachta indica

Best

azelaic acid

A type of acid known as a dicarboxylic acid derived from grains that offers numerous benefits when applied to skin.

Best

azelaoyl bis-dipeptide-10

Azelaoyl bis-dipeptide-10 is a synthetic peptide built around naturally-derived azelaic acid that offers brightening and antioxidant benefits.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

Azelex

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

azuki beans

Legumes that are often ground up for use in skincare scrub products.

Categories: Scrub Agents
Average

azulene

Chamomile extract used primarily as a coloring agent in cosmetics. It can have antioxidant and...

Best

babassu oil

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

Best

bakuchiol

An antioxidant found in the seeds and leaves of the plant Psoralea corylifolia...

Poor

balm mint extract

Extract derived from a fragrant plant; it poses some risk of causing skin sensitivity…

Poor

balsam peru

Fatty resin that when applied topically can cause skin sensitivity…

Best

Bambusa vulgaris (bamboo) leaf/stem extract

Extract from the common bamboo plant. Like many plant extracts, research has shown...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

banana extract

Extract from banana fruit that has some weak antioxidant properties (Source: Free Radical Research,...

Best

barberry

Plant whose primary component, berberine, is an alkaloid that can have soothing properties and...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

barium sulfate

Barium sulfate is an inorganic salt that occurs in nature.

Average

barley extract

Extract from barley plants. Can have antioxidant properties when ingested, but there is no research...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

batyl alcohol

Derived from glycerin and used as a stabilizing ingredient and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Emollients
Poor

bay leaf oil

Has the potential to provide antioxidant benefits for skin…

Good

bearberry extract

Latin name Arctostaphylos uva ursi, there is research showing that this extract has soothing...

Categories: Antioxidants
Poor

bee pollen

Can have antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, April 2001, pages...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

beeswax

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

Good

beet root extract

Powdered base of the stem (root) of the Beta vulgaris plant. Used as a coloring agent. As with most...

Good

beheneth-5

A synthetic or plant-derived derivative of polyethylene glycol and behenyl alcohol that functions as an emulsifier and can also be a surfactant.

Good

behenic acid

Fatty acid used as a thickening agent and surfactant.

Good

behentrimonium chloride

Skin-conditioning agent and emulsifier.

Good

behenyl alcohol

Thickening agent used in cosmetics. It is not related to irritating forms of alcohol.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

behenyl behenate

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

Categories: Hydration, Emollients
Poor

Bellis perennis

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

bentonite

Type of clay that is used as an absorbent in cosmetics. It can be drying for skin, though its...

Categories: Absorbent
Average

benzalkonium chloride

Used as a preservative in skincare products. There is no research showing it...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

benzephenone-3

Also called oxybenzone, a sunscreen agent that protects skin primarily from the sun’s UVB rays and...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

benzoic acid

Preservative used in skincare products; it is considered less sensitizing than some other forms of...

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

benzoin extract

Balsam resin that has some fragrant properties; it may also be sensitizing to skin…

Good

benzophenone

Group of compounds used in cosmetics as sunscreen agents to protect mostly from UVB radiation and...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

benzothonium chloride

Compound used as a preservative in cosmetics. It is generally considered less sensitizing…

Categories: Preservatives
Best

benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is considered the most effective over-the-counter topical acne treatment. Learn more.

Categories: Anti-Acne
Good

benzyl alcohol

An organic alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits (apricots, cranberries) and teas.

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

benzyl salicylate

A volatile fragrance chemical with a sweet, floral odor used to impart scent to cosmetic products and perfumes.

Best

Berberis aristata

Poor

bergamot oil

A volatile citrus oil that, when used topically, is a photosensitizer...

Good

Bertholletia excelsa extract

Good

beta-carotene

Member of the carotenoid family. There are hundreds of carotenoids, including lycopene and lutein....

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

beta-glucan

Polysaccharide sugar derived from yeast or oats. It has some antioxidant properties and is a skin-soothing agent.

Best

beta hydroxy acid

Good

betaine

Betaine is an ingredient that works to balance skin’s hydration.

Categories: Hydration
Good

betaine salicylate

An ingredient derived from sugar beets that is sometimes used as an alternative to...

Categories: Exfoliant
Best

beta-sitosterol

Beta-sitosterol is a fatty acid-type ingredient derived from plants, and is similar to cholesterol...

Good

Beta vulgaris root extract

Good

Betula alba

Good

Betula alba (birch) juice

Betula alba juice is the sap from the birch tree.

Best

BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, is more commonly known as salicylic acid.

Average

BHT

Butylated hydroxytoluene, a potent synthetic antioxidant that also has negative properties when...

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

bifida ferment lysate

Bifida ferment lysate is a probiotic ingredient derived from a specific type of yeast obtained by the fermentation of Bifida bacteria.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Hydration
Best

bilberry extract

Some research shows bilberry (vaccinium myrtillis) to be effective as an antioxidant when ingested...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

bioflavonoid

Diverse range of substances that are components of many fruits and vegetables. Many have been shown...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

biotin

A water-soluble substance produced in the body by certain types of...

Categories: Vitamins
Best

biotin/folic acid/cyanocobalamin/niacinamide/pantothenic acid/pyridoxine/riboflavin/thiamine/yeast polypeptides

A blend of several B vitamins plus peptides derived from a strain of lab-produced yeast.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Good

birch bark extract

Extract derived from the plant Betula alba (common name white birch). It can have potent...

Good

birch leaf extract

Best

bisabolol

Can be extracted from chamomile or derived synthetically. It is an anti-irritant.

Good

bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate

Can be extracted from chamomile or derived synthetically. It is an skin-soothing ingredient.

Average

bismuth oxychloride

Also known as synthetic pearl, it’s the primary ingredient included in most powders that are referred to as...

Good

bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane

A synthetic skin conditioning agent and surfactant belonging to the chemical class of siloxanes and...

Good

bis-phenylpropyl dimethicone

A synthetic, colorless, silicone-based polymer that...

Poor

bitter orange flower

Best

blackberry

Berries that have antioxidant properties...

Average

black cohosh

There is no research showing that black cohosh can have this or any effect…

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

black currant oil

Non-volatile plant oil.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

black elderberry

When taken orally, this has antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food...

Poor

black locust extract

Extract that can have antioxidant properties, although it also may have harmful...

Good

black mulberry

Due to its arbutin content, this extract can have some value in improving the look of discolorations....

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

black pepper extract and oil

It can cause significant skin sensitivity...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

black raspberry

Fruit that has antioxidant properties...

Best

black tea

Best

bladderwrack extract

Extract derived from seaweed; it can be an effective antioxidant and has water-binding properties...

Poor

bloodwort

Also known as yarrow.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

blue 1

Good

blue 1 lake

Best

Boerhavia diffusa root extract

Extract from a flowering plant. Animal studies have shown that this plant has strong...

Poor

bois de rose oil

Poor

bois oil

Fragrant oil that has no research showing it has benefit for skin (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).

Best

borage seed extract

Extract of the plant Borago officinalis, it can have skni-soothing properties...

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

Poor

borate

Group of compounds used in cosmetics in small quantities primarily as pH adjusters (they have a pH...

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

borax

Also known as sodium borate decahydrate, borax is a mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

boric acid

May have skin soothing and restoring benefits…

Categories: Preservatives
Good

boron nitride

Synthetic, inorganic powder, which in cosmetics has absorbent properties similar to those of...

Categories: Absorbent
Poor

Boswellia carterii

Average

Boswellia serrata extract

An extract from the gum resin of a tree and also a source of Indian frankincense, this plant extract has both positive and negative qualities for skin.

Average

botanicals

General term for a large group of natural ingredients. Botanicals may or may not be organic, and...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

boysenberry

Berry that can have potent antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry,...

Best

Brassica campestris

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients
Good

Brazil nut extract

Extract for which there is a small amount of research showing it can have antioxidant properties...

Good

broad spectrum

Term that, when applied to sunscreen, refers to a sunscreen’s ability to protect the skin from both...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

bromelain

Bromelain is an extract from the pineapple that contains, among other components, various...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Exfoliant
Poor

bronopol

Technical name 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative (Source:...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

bronze powder

Mineral coloring agent derived from copper. Permanently listed (since 1977) by the FDA as a safe...

Best

Buddleja davidii extract

Plant also known as summer lilac or butterfly bush (because the flowers are a food source for...

Good

bumetrizole

Sunscreen ingredient that absorbs primarily UVB light.

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Average

Bupleurum falcatum extract

A plant used in Chinese medicine for a varitety of ailments ranging from the common cold to liver...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

burdock root

Plant extract whose active constituents are skin soothing and antioxidant…

Good

butyl acetate

Solvent used in nail polish and many other products.

Good

butylene glycol

Commonly-used ingredient that has multiple functions in cosmetics, including....

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

butylparaben

Parabens are a group of controversial preservatives that include butylparaben...

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

butylphenyl methylpropional

Synthetic fragrance ingredient with a strong floral scent.

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

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.

Best

Buxus chinensis

Best

C10-30 cholesterol/lanosterol esters

Blend of cholesterol and fatty acid ester from lanolin. Functions as a skin conditioning agent.

Categories: Emollients
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

C12-15 alkyl benzoate

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

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

C12-18 acid triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

C13-14 isoparaffin

A petroleum-derived ingredient whose wax-like texture functions as a thickening or gelling agent.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

C13-15 alkane

C13-15 alkane is a synthetic blend of alkanes that functions as a solvent.

Good

C18-36 acid triglyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

C20-40 pareth-40

Mixture of polyethylene glycols of various molecular weight that can function as stabilizing...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Best

caffeic acid

Antioxidant that has multiple benefits for skin…

Categories: Antioxidants
Average

caffeine

Caffeine is the chief stimulant in beverages such as coffee and tea. It’s often included in skincare products with claims...

Poor

cajeputi oil

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

calamine

Preparation of zinc carbonate, colored with ferric oxide (a form of rust). Zinc carbonate is a...

Categories: Sensitizing
Good

calcium aluminum borosilicate

Calcium aluminum borosilicate is a mineral-derived thickening agent often used in powders.

Best

calcium ascorbate

Form of vitamin C; other forms include ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Good

calcium carbonate

Chalk; used as an absorbent in cosmetics.

Categories: Absorbent
Good

calcium d-pantetheine-s-sulfonate

Categories: Vitamins
Good

calcium gluconate

Calcium is an essential mineral for the body. A small amount of research shows calcium gluconate...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

calcium pantothenate

Also known as pantothenic acid.

Categories: Vitamins
Best

calcium PCA

Calcium PCA is the calcium salt of PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), which is a key component of skin’s natural moisturizing factor, or NMF.

Good

calendula extract

Extract derived from the plant commonly known as pot marigold, there is little research showing...

Good

Calendula officinalis flower extract

Best

Calluna vulgaris flower extract

Also known as heather extract, this plant has skin-soothing properties...

Good

Calophyllum inophyllum seed oil

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Camellia japonica flower extract

Camellia japonica flower extract is also known as Tsubaki, Japanese camellia, common camellia.

Best

Camellia oleifera

Best

Camellia sinensis

Poor

camphor

Aromatic substance obtained from the wood of a tree common to Southeast Asia, Cinnamomum camphora,...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

cananga extract

Fragrance used in cosmetics; it can be sensitizing to skin, much like ylang ylang.

Poor

Cananga odorata

Best

candelilla/jojoba/rice bran polyglyceryl-3 esters

A natural mixture of polyglycerin-3, candelilla wax, jojoba seed wax, and rice bran wax...

Good

candelilla wax

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

Best

cannabidiol

Cannabidiol is one of the components of the Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants.

Best

Cannabis sativa oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

canola oil

Plant lipid that has skin restoring and soothing properties…

Best

caprooyl phytosphingosine

A mixture of fatty acids caproic acid and phytosphingosine.

Best

caprooyl sphingosine

A mixture of fatty acids caproic acid and sphingosine.

Best

caprooyl tetrapeptide-3

A synthetic or plant-derived signal peptide that’s said to help to boost the...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

caprylic/capric triglyceride

Derived from coconut oil and glycerin, it’s considered an excellent emollient and skin-replenishing ingredient.

Good

capryloyl glycerin/sebacic acid copolymer

A naturally-derived (coconut and castor oil) or synthetic ingredient...

Good

capryloyl glycine

A synthetic amino acid derivative that function as a conditioning agent or...

Categories: Hydration
Best

capryloyl salicylic acid

Capryloyl salicylic acid is a derivative (ester) of salicylic acid developed by L’Oreal.

Categories: Skin-Soothing, Exfoliant
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
Good

caprylyl glycol

Skin and hair conditioning agent that may be plant-derived or synthetic. Often used as part of a...

Good

caprylyl methicone

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Poor

capsaicin

Component of capsicum. When used topically, capsaicin can prevent the transmission of pain. It is...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

capsicum

Large group of plants consisting primarily of the pepper family, including chili peppers and...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

capsicum oleoresin

Fatty resin derived from capsicum plants. It can be sensitizing to skin...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

caramel

Natural coloring agent.

Good

carbomer

Group of thickening agents used primarily to create gel-like formulations.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

carbopol

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

carboxylic acid

Categories: Antioxidants
Poor

cardamom

Plant of the ginger family, used as fragrance in cosmetics. Terpene, one of its major constituents,...

Good

carmine

Natural red color that comes from the dried female cochineal beetle. It is sometimes used to color...

Good

carnauba wax

Natural, hard wax obtained from the leaves of palm trees. Used primarily as a thickening agent, but...

Best

carnitine

Naturally occurring amino acid. Deficiencies of this small but essential component can result in...

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

carnosic acid

Component of rosemary that is an antioxidant...

Best

carnosine

Composed of amino acids, it has soothing and antioxidant properties...

Best

carnosol acid

Good

carrageenan

Seaweed gum used in cosmetics as a thickening agent with water-binding properties.

Best

carrot oil

Emollient plant oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.

Best

Carthamus tinctorius oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Poor

carvone

Essential oil used as a flavoring agent and fragrance component in cosmetics. It can be a...

Good

Carya illinoensis oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

casein

Substance derived from milk protein that may have some antioxidant properties when applied...

Categories: Uncategorized
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

Castanea sativa seed extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

castor isostearate succinate

A mix of esters formed by the reaction of castor seed oil, isostearic acid, and succinic acid. This ingredient functions...

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
Best

catalase

Enzyme that decomposes hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen and that has significant antioxidant...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

Caulerpa taxifolia extract

Poor

cedarwood

Fragrant plant extract. There is evidence that cedarwood oil is sensitizing...

Poor

Cedrus atlantica bark extract

Fragrant oil that can aggravate skin...

Good

cellulose

Primary fiber component of plants. Used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and to bind other...

Good

Cellulose gum

Any of various fibrous substances derived from plants. Cellulose gum is a natural ingredient..

Best

Centaurea cyanus

Best

Centella asiatica

Extract of herb that may be listed on labels as asiatic acid, hydrocotyl, or gotu kola. It has...

Best

cephalin

Phospholipid.

Good

Cera alba

See beeswax...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

cera microcristallina

Categories: Emollients
Best

ceramide AP

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

ceramide EOP

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

ceramide EOS

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

ceramide NG

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

ceramide NP

One of several types of ceramides.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

ceramide NS

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

ceramides

Ceramides are naturally occurring, long chains of lipids (fats) that are major components of skin’s outer...

Good

ceresin

Derived from clay, ceresin is a waxy ingredient used as a thickening agent in cosmetics. It can be...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

ceteareth-20

Fatty alcohol that is used to thicken cosmetics and keep ingredients mixed together and stable.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

ceteareth-25

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

Good

ceteareth-6 olivate

Ceteareth-6 olivate is the ester of a fatty alcohol and fatty acids from olive oil.

Good

cetearyl alcohol

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

Good

cetearyl ethylhexanoate

Oil-like liquid that functions as an emollient to prevent skin from losing moisture. Also...

Good

cetearyl glucoside

A blend of cetearyl alcohol and glucose that functions as an emulsifier.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

cetearyl octanoate

Good

cetearyl olivate

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

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

Silicone polymer that functions as skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Silicones
Good

cetyl dimethicone copolyol

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

cetyl esters

Synthetic wax used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

Good

cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose

A mixture of cetyl alcohol and Hydroxyethylcellulose. It functions as thickener and stabilizing...

Good

cetyl palmitate

The ester of cetyl palmitate and palmitic acid, this thickener and emollient helps smooth and condition dry skin while preventing moisture loss.

Categories: Emollients
Good

cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1-dimethicone

Silicone that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and emulsifier.

Best

chamomile

Ingredient derived from plant species Chamomilla recutita, Matricaria recutita, and Matricaria chamomilla...

Best

Chamomilla recutita flower extract

Good

charcoal

Primarily carbon substance formed by charring organic material in absence of oxygen. One...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

charcoal powder

Primarily carbon substance formed by charring organic material in absence of oxygen...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

chelating agent

Any of numerous ingredients that bind with metal ions or metallic compounds, preventing them from...

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

cherry extract

Also known as wild cherry and sweet cherry, cherry extract is a natural source of vitamin C.

Good

China clay

Categories: Absorbent
Best

chitosan

Derived from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. It...

Good

chlorella

Good

chlorophene

Used as a preservative in cosmetics.

Categories: Preservatives
Good

chloroxylenol

Chemical compound used as a preservative and cleansing agent due to its action...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

chlorphenesin

Type of alcohol used as a preservative in cosmetics...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

cholecalciferol

Technical name for vitamin D.

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

cholesterol

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

Best

choline

Part of the vitamin B complex and a constituent of many other biologically important molecules,...

Categories: Vitamins
Best

chondroitin sulfate

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

Chondrus crispus (algae) extract

Chondrus crispus, also known as red algae, is a type of seaweed that’s a rich source of many nutrients for skin.

Good

chromium hydroxide green

Earth mineral used as a coloring agent/additive and permanently listed (as of 1977) by the FDA for...

Good

chromium oxide green

Best

Chrysanthellum indicum (golden chamomile) extract

Chrysanthellum indicum is a form of chamomile that, like other forms, has soothing properties when applied to skin.

Best

chrysanthemum extract

Can have soothing benefit for skin.

Average

Chrysanthemum parthenium extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Cichorium intybus

Source of a plant extract with antioxidant properties (Source: Archives of Pharmaceutical Research,...

Average

Cimicifuga racemosa root extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

Cinnamomum

Poor

Cinnamomum camphora

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

cinnamon

Can have antioxidant properties when applied to skin...

Poor

cinnamyl alcohol

A volatile fragrance ingredient that contains extracts from cinnamon and balsam of Peru...

Good

citrate buffer

Citrate buffer is a buffered mixture of sodium citrate and citric acid and is used in cosmetics as a pH adjuster.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

citric acid

Extract derived from citrus and used primarily to adjust the pH of products to prevent them from...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

citronellol

A volatile fragrance chemical extracted from geranium, rose, and other plants, citronellol has a characteristic grassy, citrus-like scent.

Poor

Citrullus colocynthis

Bitter apple; considered sensitizing to skin.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

Citrus amara

Poor

Citrus aurantifolia

Poor

Citrus aurantium

Poor

Citrus aurantium extract

Bitter orange extract. It can have antioxidant properties when eaten (Source: Journal of...

Poor

Citrus medica limonium

Average

Citrus unshiu

Plant extract more commonly known as the satsuma. This medium-sized citrus fruit is native to...

Average

Citrus unshiu peel extract

Poor

clary oil

Used as fragrance; can be a skin sensitizer.

Good

clary sage

Also known as Salvia sclarea, the extract from the clary sage plant (not to be confused with common sage leaf) has antioxidant properties, although it isn’t nearly as well researched as several other plant extracts with antioxidant benefits...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

clay

Categories: Absorbent
Best

Clitoria ternatea (butterfly pea) flower extract

Clitoria ternatea is a perennial herb more commonly known as butterfly pea because of the pea-shaped, wing-like flowers it produces.

Poor

clove leaf

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

clove oil

Potent skin sensitizer when applied repeatedly...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

clover blossom

Contains eugenol, which can be a skin sensitizer and cause photosensitivity.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

clover leaf oil

Categories: Plant Extracts
Average

cocamide DEA and MEA

Both cocamide DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) are widely used ingredients to thicken the water phase of cosmetics, keep ingredients blended, and boost foaming properties...

Good

cocamidopropyl betaine

One of the more gentle surfactants used in skincare products.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

cocamidopropyl dimethylamine

An antistatic agent derived from coconut oil, though it may be produced synthetically, too...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine

Mild surfactant.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Best

Coccinia indica (ivy gourd) fruit extract

Ivy gourd is a fruit that acts as a natural skin-conditioning agent.

Best

cocoa butter

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

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

cocoa extract

Can have antioxidant properties...

Good

coco-caprylate

Coco-caprylate is the mixture of esters that occur when the fatty alcohols derived from coconut alcohol reacts with the fatty acid caprylic acid.

Categories: Emollients, Hydration
Good

coco caprylate/caprate

Coco caprylate/caprate functions as a lightweight emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

coco-glucoside

A mixture of fatty alcohol from coconut and glucose. Chiefly functions as a cleansing agent. May be...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

cocoglycerides

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

coconut

Has degreasing and cleansing properties, which is why detergent cleansing agents are frequently...

Good

coconut acid

A natural mixture of fatty acid found in coconut oil primarily used as a cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Best

coconut oil

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

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

cocos nucifera (coconut) fruit extract

The extract of the fruit of the coconut tree, this ingredient is rich in skin-conditioning fatty acids, proteins, and complex B vitamins.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Good

cocoyl proline

Cocoyl proline is a mixture of coconut fatty acids and the amino acid proline,

Categories: Hydration
Best

Cocus nucifera

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Codium tomentosum extract

Best

coenzyme Q10

Also known as ubiquinone, it is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance present in skin....

Best

Coffea arabica (coffee) fruit extract

Coffee fruit extract is an excellent antioxidant when applied to skin, or consumed orally.

Best

Coffea arabica (coffee) seed oil

The concentrated oil from the coffee bean plant, whichis green, not dark brown as this color doesn't occur until coffee beans are roasted. Research on this oil's effect on skin...

Best

Coffea arabica seed extract

Coffea arabica is the coffee plant, and there is research showing that coffee extract has...

Average

Cola acuminata seed extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

Coleus barbatus

Member of the mint family and also known as forskolin; can be a skin sensitizer...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

collagen amino acids

Collagen amino acids are made from the hydrolylsis (breaking down with water) of protein...

Best

colloidal oatmeal

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Poor

colloidal silver

Refers to ground-up silver suspended in solution.

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

comfrey extract

Several studies have shown that comfrey extract can have harmful properties when...

Poor

Commiphora myrrha extract

Good

coneflower

Another name for echinacea; has soothing properties.

Poor

Copaifera officinalis

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Copernicia cerifera wax

Good

copper gluconate

Also known simply as copper, this mineral is an important trace element for human nutrition. The...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

copper lysinate/prolinate

An amino acid/mineral complex that limited yet potentially exciting research has shown...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

copper PCA

A synthetic skin-conditioning agent composed of the copper salt of PCA (Pyrrolidone Carboxylic...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

copper peptides

Copper peptides combine the element copper with three amino acids. Copper peptides occur naturally in the body, and are used in trace amounts to...

Categories: Antioxidants
Average

copper sulfate

Effective for soothing skin, but there is no research showing it has any impact when used...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

Corallina officinalis extract

Good

coriander

Herb and spice plant, the source of a fragrant component; it can be a potential skin sensitizer…

Best

cornflower

Can have soothing properties for skin…

Poor

cornmint

Also known as wild mint; it can be sensitizing to skin…

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

corn oil

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

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

cornstarch

Starch obtained from corn and sometimes used as an absorbent in cosmetics instead of talc.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Absorbent
Good

Cornus extract

Good

Corylus americana

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Corylus avellana

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

coumarin

Organic compound found in plants and derived from the amino acid phenylalanine. It creates the...

Best

cranberry seed extract

Extract of the cranberry fruit. Natural components known as proanthocyanidins are responsible for...

Best

cranberry seed oil

Extract derived from the seed of this red berry; the oil (which is not red) has antioxidant...

Average

Crataegus monogina extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

creatine

An amino acid found in the human body and most type of meat and fish. This ingredient serves as the...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Good

cucumber extract

Non-irritating plant extract from the gourd family (think pumpkin) that’s often reputed to be...

Best

Cucumis melo (melon) fruit extract

More commonly known as cantaloupe or honeydew melon, Cucumis melo is a fruit that is a rich source...

Good

Cucumis sativus extract

Best

Cucurbita pepo seed extract

Best

Cucurbitea peponis

Best

Curcuma longa root

Best

curcumin

Antioxidant spice that can be effective in soothing skin…

Good

Cyamopsis tetragonoloba

Good

cyanocobalamin

Categories: Vitamins
Poor

cyclamen aldehyde

Synthetic fragrant component in products; it can aggravate skin.

Good

cyclohexasiloxane

One of the numerous forms of synthetic silicone

Categories: Emollients
Good

cyclomethicone

Silicone with a drier finish than dimethicone.

Categories: Emollients
Good

cyclopentasiloxane

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

Categories: Emollients
Good

cyclotetrasiloxane

Categories: Emollients
Poor

Cymbopogon citrates

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

Cymbopogon martini

Good

cysteine

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

cystine

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

D&C

According to the FDA, D&C is an identification that indicates a coloring agent has been approved as...

Good

D&C colors

General term for a wide group of color additives that are approved for use in drugs and cosmetics...

Poor

daisy flower extract

There is no research showing this extract has any benefit for skin. Also known as tansy, it can...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

d-alpha-tocopherol

Antioxidant that's considered the most optimal form of vitamin E.

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Poor

Daucus carota

Also known as wild carrot. It can have antioxidant properties, but applied topically it can cause...

Good

DEA oleth-10 phosphate

Used as an emulsifying agent, which is a group of ingredients essential to most cosmetic...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

decarboxy carnosine HCL

Good

decylene glycol

A synthetic glycol that functions as a skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

decyl glucoside

Used as a gentle detergent cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

decyl oleate

A skin-conditioning agent derived from the esters of decyl alcohol and oleic acid.

Categories: Emollients
Good

dehydroacetic acid

A synthetic preservative uses in amounts of 0.6% or less. Sometimes its salt form (known as sodium...

Categories: Preservatives
Average

dehydroepiandrosterone

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

deionized/demineralized water

Filtered water used in cosmetics. All water used in cosmetic formulations goes through this process...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol is a drying type of alcohol that aggravates and weakens skin...

Categories: Sensitizing
Average

deoxyribonucleic acid

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

detergent cleansing agent

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Average

deuterium oxide

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

dextran

Polysaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

dextrin

Carbohydrate that is classified as a polysaccharide. It is used as an adhesive when mixed with...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

DHA

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

diatomaceous earth

Light-colored porous rock composed of the skeletons of minute sea creatures called diatoms....

Categories: Scrub Agents
Average

diazolidinyl urea

Water-soluble preservative.

Categories: Preservatives
Average

dibutyl phthalate

Also known as DBP, it is a common ingredient in nail polish and most synthetic fragrances sold...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

dicaprylyl carbonate

An emollient ingredient that may be derived from synthetic or animal sources. It spreads easily and...

Categories: Emollients
Good

dicetyl phosphate

A mix of portions from cetyl alcohol and phosphoric acid that functions as surfactant and emulsifier.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

diethylhexyl carbonate

A synthetic oil-like ester that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and emollient. Also used in...

Categories: Emollients
Good

diethylhexyl malate

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

Categories: Emollients
Good

diethylhexyl syringylidenemalonate

An ester that functions as an antioxidant and helps defend cosmetics products from chemical or physical deterioration...

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

diheptyl succinate

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

dihydrocholeth-30

A synthetic ingredient that functions as an emulsifier...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

dihydroxyacetone

Ingredient present in all self-tanners that affects the color of skin. Derived from sugar, it...

Categories: Uncategorized
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

diisostearoyl trimethylolpropane siloxy silicate

Emollient in the silicone family.

Categories: Silicones, 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

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

dimer dilinoleyl dimer dilinoleate

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

Good

dimethicone

A type of silicone, dimethicone is one of the most frequently used emollient ingredients in moisturizers due to its gentleness...

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dimethicone/PEG-10/15 crosspolymer

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

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer

Good

dimethicone copolyol

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dimethicone crosspolymer

Silicone derivative used as a stabilizing or suspending agent or as a thickener.

Good

dimethiconol

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Good

dimethyl capramide

Functions as a stabilizer and solvent in cosmetics.

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

dimethyl ether

Colorless gas used as a propellant in aerosol products. It is potentially harmful if inhaled…

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

dimethyl isosorbide

A solvent derived from the sugar sorbitol...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

dimethyl MEA

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Average

Dioscorea villosa extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

dipentaerythrityl hexacaprylate/hexacaprate

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

Best

dipeptide-2

Dipeptide-2 is a small, less complex synthetic peptide made up of the amino acids tryptophan and valine.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

dipotassium glycyrrhizate

Best

dipotassium glycyrrhizinate

Good

dipotassium phosphate

A synthetic salt that helps to adjust and maintain the pH of water-based and...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

di-PPG-3 myristyl ether adipate

Derivative of myristyl alcohol (a fatty alcohol) and adipic acid (a buffering and neutralizing...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

dipropylene glycol

A synthetic slip agent and texture enhancer.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

disodium cocoamphodiacetate

Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

disodium cocoyl glutamate

A cleansing agent derived from coconut.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

disodium diglyceryl phosphate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

disodium EDTA

Short for disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. Used as a chelating agent...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

disodium glyceryl phosphate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

disodium lauraminopropionate

A mild surfactant.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

disodium lauriminodipropionate tocopheryl phosphates

A complex mixture of esters formed from a blend of tocopherol phosphates with lauriminodipropionic...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

disodium rutinyl disulfate

A water-soluble derivative of the bioflavinoid rutin...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

disteardimonium hectorite

Used as a suspending agent, often with pigments.

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

DMAE

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Average

DMDM hydantoin

Formaldehyde-releasing preservative...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

docosahexaenoic acid

Good

dog rose

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

dogwood

There is a small amount of research showing that dogwood has antioxidant and soothing...

Good

Dromiceius oil

Categories: Emollients
Good

dulse

Best

Dunaliella salina extract

A type of micro-algae that’s known for being adaptable and able to survive even in harsh natural conditions. It’s a rich source...

Good

durian

A tropical fruit that contains high levels of antioxidants such as caffeic acid and quercetin

Good

Durvillaea antarctica extract

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

Best

ecamsule

Sunscreen ingredient that provides UVA protection...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Best

Echium plantagineum seed oil

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

Categories: Emollients
Best

Eclipta prostrata extract

An annual plant common to Korea, Eclipta prostrata has potent antioxidant and skin-calming properties.

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
Good

EDTA

Acronym for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, a stabilizer used in cosmetics to prevent ingredients...

Categories: Miscellaneous
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

Best

elderberry

Also known as black elderberry or Sambucus nigra, this plant has potent antioxidant properties...

Poor

elecampane

Latin name Inula helenium; it is a plant that can be very sensitizing to the skin...

Best

ellagic acid

Potent antioxidant compound found in pomegranate and most berries.

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

Emblica officinalis (gooseberry) fruit extract

Also known as amla, the fruit extract from gooseberry is among the richest plant sources of antioxidants.

Good

emollient

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

Good

emulsifier

When it comes to cosmetics, an emulsifier refers to any ingredient that helps keep unlike...

Good

emu oil

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

Categories: Emollients
Poor

English ivy extract

Plant extract that can be a skin sensitizer due to its stimulant and astringent (skin-constricting) properties.

Good

Enteromorpha compressa extract

Extract from green algae.

Poor

environmental damage

Occurrence that takes place at an atomic level and is a complex physiological process. Molecules...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

enzymes

Vast group of protein , produced by all living things, that act as catalysts in chemical...

Categories: Exfoliant, Skin-Restoring
Best

epigallocatechin gallate

One of the constituents of green tea believed to be responsible for its many health...

Best

Epilobium angustifolium extract

Extract derived from a plant commonly known as fireweed or willow herb...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Best

Epilobium fleischeri (willowherb) extract

Epilobium fleischeri, also known as Alpine willowherb, is a plant extract has documented skin-calming and antioxidant benefits

Poor

Equisetum arvense

Good

ergocalciferol

Technical name for vitamin D.

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

ergothioneine

A substance derived from animal tissue or various types of mushrooms that has potent antioxidant...

Best

Eriobotrya japonica

Good

erythrulose

Substance chemically similar to the self-tanning agent dihydroxyacetone. Depending on your skin...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

esculin

Component of horse chestnut, it is considered harmful and is not recommended for skin...

Categories: Sensitizing
Poor

essential oil

Good

ester

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

Categories: Emollients
Best

Ester-C

Trade name for a combination form of vitamin C that contains mainly calcium ascorbate, but in...

Categories: Vitamins
Poor

ethanol

Categories: Sensitizing
Good

ethoxydiglycol

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

ethyl alcohol

Categories: Sensitizing
Average

ethyl hexanediol

A synthetic, viscous alcohol that functions as a solvent and can also be...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

ethylhexylglycerin

A synthetic skin-conditioning agent used as a preservative or as a carrier or suspending agent for...

Best

ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
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

ethylhexyl palmitate

A mixture of a fatty alcohol and palmitic acid that functions as an emollient.

Good

ethylhexyl stearate

Good

ethyl macadamiate

Mixture of fatty acids from macadamia nut oil.

Good

ethylparaben

Parabens are a group of controversial preservatives that include butylparaben...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

ethyl vanillin

Flavoring agent derived from vanilla. It has antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of...

Categories: Antioxidants
Poor

eucalyptus extract

Extract that may have beneficial properties on the skin...

Poor

eucalyptus oil

Fragrant plant oil whose active constituents are found in the leaves and the oil obtained from...

Poor

Eugenia aromatica

Poor

Eugenia caryophyllus

Poor

eugenol

Fragrance chemical that occurs naturally in some plant ingredients...

Good

Euphorbia cerifera wax

Average

Euphrasia officinalis

Best

Euterpe oleracea (acai) sterols

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

Best

Euterpe oleracea fruit extract

Best

evening primrose oil

Can have significant soothing and emollient benefits for skin.

Good

Evodia rutaecarpa extract

A species of Asian tree whose fragrant fruit functions as a good soothing agent in...

Good

Ext. D&C

Type of coloring agent. According to the FDA (www.fda.gov), when Ext. D&C is followed by a color,...

Average

eyebright

A plant; although the name sounds like it would be beneficial for the eye area, there are no...

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
Best

Ficus carica (fig) fruit extract

Fig is a rich source of a class of antioxidants known as phenolic compounds.

Best

fig

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
Best

Fragaria vesca (strawberry) fruit extract

Strawberry’s red color comes from its high amount of antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins.

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

Fucus vesiculosus extract, also known as bladderwrack, is a type of brown algae (seaweed) that is edible.

Best

Fu ling

Good

fuller's earth

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

Good

galactoarabinan

Polysaccharide extracted from the western larch tree.

Poor

galbanum

Fragrant substance that, because of its resin and volatile oil content, can be extremely sensitizing…

Best

gamma linolenic acid (GLA)

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

Best

Ganoderma lucidum (mushroom) extract

Ganoderma lucidum is a species of mushroom also known as Reishi mushroom that, when applied to skin, can visibly reduce some types of discoloration.

Best

Garcinia mangostana (mangosteen) peel extract

Mangosteen is a fruit with a sweet and sour flavor and is native to several Asian countries.

Poor

Gardenia florida extract

Flower extract used in cosmetics to impart fragrance; also functions as an antioxidant (Source:...

Good

gelatin

Protein obtained from plants or animals and used in cosmetics as a thickening agent.

Good

gellan gum

A plant-derived, high-weight, polysaccharide texture enhancer that also...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

Gellidiela acerosa extract

Extract derived from a type of algae.

Best

genistein

Plant component (most often from soy) that is a rich source of antioxidants, though it can also be...

Best

Gentiana lutea (Gentian) root extract

Part of the gentian plant, constituents of which are soothing to skin...

Average

geraniol

A volatile fragrance ingredient extracted from geranium, geraniol is capable of causing sensitivity when applied to skin.

Best

geranium extract

Extract that can have potent antioxidant properties (Source: Phytomedicine, June 2000, pages...

Poor

geranium oil

Fragrant oil that can have beneficial properties but also can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

Geranium pretense

Geranium plant.

Good

Germaben II

Trade name for diazolidinyl urea.

Categories: Preservatives
Good

ginger extract

Extract from a plant in the Zingiberacae family that has research showing it has soothing...

Poor

ginger oil

Best

Ginkgo biloba leaf extract

Potent antioxidant and soothing ingredient.

Best

ginseng

Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement. When applied topically it delivers antioxidant benefits, boosts hydration, and helps visibly improve signs of skin aging.

Best

GLA

Best

glabridin

Main ingredient in licorice extract. It has soothing properties. There is research showing...

Best

glucomannan

Glucomannan is prebiotic sugar that combines the simples sugars mannose with glucose.

Categories: Hydration
Best

gluconolactone

Categories: Exfoliant
Best

glucosamine HCL

A form of glucosamine, an amino sugar that can be considered a skin-restorative...

Good

glucose

Monosaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

glucose oxidase

Glucose oxidase is an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of the sugar glucose.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Best

glucosylceramides

Glucosylceramides are responsible for the healthy formation and appearance of skin’s upper layers.

Best

glucosyl hesperidin

A water-soluble form of hesperidin, a flavonoid found in many citrus plants, as well as evening primrose oil. It has potential as an antioxidant...

Good

glutamic acid

Glutamic acid is an amino acid that helps aid skin hydration.

Categories: Hydration
Best

glutamine

Can help improve the function of skin...

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

glutathione

Powerful, non-enzymatic antioxidant which naturally occurs in the skin.

Good

gluten ingredients

Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in many types of grains, including wheat, rye, and barley.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

glycereth-26

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

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.

Best

glycerin

Also called glycerol or glycerine, glycerin is present in all natural lipids (fats), whether animal or vegetable.

Best

glycerine

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

glycerol

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
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.

Best

glyceryl ascorbate

A vitamin C derivative, it serves as an antioxidant in skincare products.

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

glyceryl behanate

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

Best

glyceryl behenate

An ester emollient of fatty acid behenic acid...

Good

glyceryl behenate/eicosadioate

A mixture of esters of glycerin, along with behenic and eicosadioic acids, its works as a thickener and stabilizing agent in makeup and skincare products.

Categories: Thickeners
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

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl palmitate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl polymethacrylate

A blend of glycerin and polymethacrylic acid that functions as a film-forming agent. It has a...

Good

glyceryl rosinate

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

Good

glyceryl stearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

glyceryl stearate citrate

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

Categories: Emulsifiers, Emollients
Good

glyceryl stearate SE

Widely used ingredient that is a self-emulsifying (that’s what the “SE” stands for) form of...

Good

glycine

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

Glycine soja oil

Oil derived from wild soybeans; it has emollient properties.

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

glycogen

Polysaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Best

glycolic acid

A type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that, like other ingredients in the category, can act as a water-binding agent and, when properly formulated, as an exfoliant...

Categories: Exfoliant
Best

glycolipid

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

Good

glycol stearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent.

Best

glycoproteins

Glycoproteins are a type of peptide naturally present in skin's surface that works with other ingredients to reinforce skin's barrier strength.

Categories: Skin-Restoring, Hydration
Best

glycosaminoglycans

Also known as mucopolysaccharides; these are a fundamental component of skin and are...

Best

glycosphingolipid

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

glycyrrhetic acid

Extract from licorice that has skin-soothing properties…

Best

glycyrrhetinic acid

One of the components of licorice root extract...

Best

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Best

Glycyrrhiza uralensis root extract

Best

goji fruit extract

This bright, warm red berry, native to Asia, is a very good source of antioxidant compounds.

Poor

gold

An ingredient that seems luxe and helpful but is actually a frequent contact sensitizer…

Categories: Sensitizing, Miscellaneous
Good

Gossypium herbacuem seed oil

Also known as cotton seed oil, this non-fragrant plant oil may cause...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

gotu kola

Poor

grapefruit oil

Citrus oil whose volatile components (chiefly substances known as furocoumarins) are sensitizing...

Poor

grapefruit peel extract

Typically listed as citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel extract on the ingredient list...

Poor

grapefruit seed extract

Labelled as Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) seed extract, this is often claimed as a natural preservative...

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

grape seed extract

Grape seed extract has been shown to help diminish free-radical damage…

Best

grape seed oil

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

Best

green tea

Significant amounts of research have established that tea, including black, green, and white tea...

Best

gromwell

Poor

guarana

Herb that contains two and a half times more caffeine than coffee. It can have constricting...

Good

guar gum

Plant-derived thickening agent...

Good

guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride

Best

guava

Guava extract is a rich source of bioactive antioxidants including gallic acid, quercetin, and tocopherol.

Good

gums

Substances that have water-binding properties, but that are used primarily as thickening agents in...

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 (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
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...

Best

hexanoyl dipeptide-3 norleucine acetate

Hexanoyl dipeptide-3 norleucine acetate is a synthetic peptide that helps skin’s surface shed properly and speeds up surface renewal for fresher-looking skin.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
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.

Best

Hippophae rhamnoides

Best

Hippophae Rhamnoides (seaberry) fruit extract

Also known as sea buckthorn, seaberry is a good source of vitamin C as well as various B vitamins, vitamin E.

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 acacia macrostachya seed extract

The extract from the seed of the Acacia macrostachya plant, a tropical shrub.

Best

hydrolyzed algae extract

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

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 eruca sativa (arugula) leaf

When applied to skin, arugula is a good source of antioxidants and minerals to help defend skin from environmental damage.

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
Best

hydrolyzed pumpkin seedcake

Hydrolyzed pumpkin seedcake is a plant-derived ingredient that protects skin from moisture loss to support firmness.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Hydration
Best

hydrolyzed rhodophycea (red algae) extract

Hydrolyzed rhodophycea is a type of red algae that, like most other types used in skin care products, helps improve skin’s hydration.

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

hydroxyacetophenone

Hydroxyacetophenone is a synthetic antioxidant and skin-conditioning ingredient.

Categories: Antioxidants, Hydration
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

Best

hyssop

Best

idebenone

A synthetic antioxidant similar to coenzyme Q10. Idebenone got a lot of press as the best...

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

Ilex paraguariensis

Poor

Illicium vernum

Good

illite

Illite is a mineral-sourced natural thickener that is sometimes referred to as French green clay.

Categories: Thickeners, Absorbent
Average

imidazolidinyl urea

Considered a weaker preservative than its "cousin" diazolidinyl urea because it is beneficial against...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

inactive ingredient

The list of inactive ingredients is the part of an ingredient label that is not regulated by the...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Best

inositol

Major component of lecithin that may have water-binding properties for skin. It is not a vitamin,...

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Poor

Inula helenium

Good

iodopropynyl butylcarbamate

A synthetic preservative that is typically used in concentrations of 0.1% or less. It is very...

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

Iris florentina extract

Good

Irish moss extract

Type of red algae.

Good

iron oxides

Compounds of iron that are used as colorings in some cosmetics. They also are used as a metal...

Average

iron powder

Iron powder is, as the name states, a powdered versoin of the mineral iron. A natural ingredient, it's used as an opacifying agent in cosmetics.

Categories: Absorbent
Good

isoamyl cocoate

Isoamyl cocoate, an ester of isoamyl alcohol and coconut acid, works as a lightweight, fast-absorbing emollient and skin softener in skin care.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Good

isoamyl laurate

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

Good

isobutyl acetate

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

isobutylparaben

Parabens are a group of controversial preservatives that include butylparaben...

Categories: Preservatives
Average

isocetyl salicylate

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

isododecane

Hydrocarbon ingredient used as a solvent. Isododecane enhances the spreadability of products and...

Best

isoflavone

Plant derivative with antioxidant properties...

Good

isohexadecane

Used as a detergent cleansing agent, emulsifier, and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

isoleucine

Good

isononyl isononanoate

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

Categories: Emollients
Good

isoparaffin

Poor

isopropyl alcohol

Categories: Sensitizing
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

isopropyl titanium triisostearte/triethoxycaprylylsilane crosspolymer

A synthetic, silicone-enhanced polymer that occurs from combining isopropyl titanium triisostearate...

Good

isostearamide DEA

Used as a surfactant, water-binding agent, and thickening agent.

Good

isostearic acid

Fatty acid used as a binding agent and thickener.

Poor

ivy extract

Plant extract that can be sensitizing due to its astringent (skin-constricting) properties.

Good

Japan wax

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

Poor

jasmine oil

Fragrant oil, often used as a source of perfume, that can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

Jasminium grandiflorum

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.

Poor

jonquil extract

Fragrant plant extract that poses a strong risk of skin sensitization.

Good

Ju hua

Good

jujube fruit extract

Asian plant extract that has soothing properties and may also provide other benefits...

Poor

juniper berry

Can have sothing properties for skin…

Poor

Juniperus communis

Good

kaolin

Naturally occurring clay mineral (silicate of aluminum) that is used in cosmetics for its absorbent...

Categories: Absorbent
Poor

Kathon CG

Categories: Preservatives, Sensitizing
Poor

kava-kava extract

Extract of the Piper methysticum plant that has soothing properties, but can...

Poor

kawa extract

Good

kelp extract

Average

Kigelia africana extract

Extract of African plant commonly known as the sausage tree. The African lore about this extract is...

Best

kiwi fruit extract

As a food, kiwi has significant antioxidant properties that may even be greater than those of...

Good

kojic acid

By-product of the fermentation process of malting rice for use in the manufacture of sake, Japanese...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

kojic dipalmitate

A mixture of kojic acid and palmitic acid. It functions as a skin-conditioning agent and antioxidant...

Categories: Antioxidants
Average

kola nut

One of the major components of the kola nut is caffeine, which in high amounts can be a skin sensitizer...

Best

kudzu root

Source of isoflavone, genistein, and daidzein, all plant estrogens..

Best

kukui nut oil

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

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

lactic acid

Alpha hydroxy acid extracted from milk, although most forms used in cosmetics are synthetic. It...

Categories: Exfoliant
Best

Lactobacillus/rye flour ferment

Lactobacillus/rye flour ferment is a non-living probiotic made by fermenting rye flour with the microorganism Lactobacillus that’s used to create sourdough bread.

Categories: Hydration
Best

Lactobacillus ferment

Lactobacillus ferment is a lab-created, non-living probiotic ingredient made by fermentation of the microorganism Lactobacillus.

Categories: Hydration
Good

lactobionate

Polysaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

lactobionic acid

Categories: Exfoliant
Best

lactoperoxidase

Enzyme derived from milk; it has purifying benefits for skin and may be helpful for...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

lady's mantle extract

Best

lady's thistle (milk thistle) extract

Extract for which there is a great deal of research showing it has many applications...

Average

Lagerstroemia indica extract

No research shows this plant as having any benefit for skin...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Laminaria digitata

Good

Laminaria longicruris

Good

Laminaria ochroleuca extract

The Latin name for a species of kelp, also known as brown seaweed. Applied topically, it helps...

Good

Laminaria sacharrina

Best

Lamium album flower extract

A species of the nettle plant that is used topically as as a soothing ingredient...

Good

lanolin

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

Good

lanolin alcohol

Emollient derived from lanolin.

Good

lappa extract

Good

Larrea divaricata extract

Good

Larrea tridentata

Best

L-ascorbic acid

Form of vitamin C that is a potent antioxidant and skin-soothing agent...

Good

lauramphocarboxyglycinate

Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

laurdimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed soy protein

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

laurdimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

laureth-23

Derived from lauryl alcohol and used either as a surfactant or emulsifier (or, in many cases, as...

Good

laureth-4

Derived from lauryl alcohol and used either as a surfactant or emulsifier (or, in many cases, as...

Good

laureth-7

A form of lauryl alcohol (a non-irritating fatty alcohol derived from coconut oil) that can...

Good

laureths

Substances that in various combinations create a wide range of mild detergent cleansing agents...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Best

lauric acid

One of several fatty acids found in coconut oil and other natural fats.

Good

lauroyl lysine

Amino acid derivative that functions as a skin- and hair-conditioning agent. It also contributes to...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

Laurus nobilis

Good

lauryl alcohol

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

lauryl glucoside

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

lauryl lactate

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

Best

lauryl laurate

An ester of lauryl alcohol and lauric acid...

Good

lauryl PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone

A silicone polymer that has multiple functions in cosmetic products, including skin/hair...

Poor

lavandin oil

Essential oil of the hybrid lavender plant Lavandula hybrida and used in cosmetics as a fragrance...

Poor

Lavandula angustifolia

Poor

Lavandula officinalis

Poor

lavender extract and oil

In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender oil, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can have...

Good

L-cysteine

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

lecithin

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

Poor

lemon

Potent skin sensitizer. Though it can have beneficial properties...

Poor

lemon balm

Poor

lemongrass extract

Extract that can have beneficial properties...

Poor

lemongrass oil

Also known as Oil of Verbena; can be effective as a mosquito repellent...

Poor

lemon juice

The juice from the citrus fruit lemon, often touted in the world of skin care as being a natural option for brightening skin.

Categories: Antioxidants, Sensitizing
Poor

lemon oil

Commonly used citrus oil that can be a skin sensitizer, especially on abraded skin.

Good

lentil fruit extract

Extract that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and likely has antioxidant benefit, too.

Average

Lentinus edodes extract

Extract from the shiitake mushroom that may have antioxidant properties...

Best

Leontopodium alpinum (edelweiss) extract

Edelweiss is a plant extract whose constituents are capable of providing antioxidant and skin-soothing benefit for skin.

Good

Leptospermum scoparium oil

Good

leucine

Amino acid.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate

Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate is a preservative created by fermenting Raphanus sativus (radish) roots.

Poor

Levisticum officinale root extract

Best

licorice extract

Plant extract that has skin-soothing properties. In addition, licorice root may be effective in...

Best

licorice root

Average

Lilium candidum bulb extract

Extract derived from the white lily bulb. There is no research showing this has any benefit for...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

lime oil and extract

Citrus fruit whose volatile compounds are sensitizing...

Good

Limnanthes alba

Plant commonly known as meadowfoam; its seed oil is a non-volatile plant oil used as a...

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

Limnanthes alba seed oil

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

limonene

Chemical constituent of many natural fragrant ingredients, notably citrus oils such as lemon (d-limonene) and...

Poor

linalool

Fragrant component of lavender and coriander that can be a skin sensitizer, or...

Best

linden flower extract

Major constituents in linden are flavonoids and glycosides. Flavonoids are potent...

Best

linoleic acid

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

Best

linolenic acid

Linolenic acid is a naturally-occurring, colorless polyunsaturated fatty acid liquid...

Best

Linum usitatissimum (linseed) seed oil

Linum usitastissimum (linseed) seed oil is more commonly known as flaxseed oil.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Linum usitatissimum extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

lipid

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

Good

liposomes

Delivery system (not an ingredient) capable of holding other ingredients and releasing them after...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Good

lithium magnesium sodium silicate

Synthetic silica-based clay composed of lithium, sodium, and magnesium. Used as a thickening agent...

Best

Lithospermum erythrorhizon

Also known as gromwell, the root of this plant is believed to have antioxidant and...

Poor

Litsea cubeba

Good

locust bean

Best

Lonicera caprifolium flower extract

Best

Lonicera japonica

Honeysuckle extract. A plant with soothing properties for skin.

Best

Lonicera japonica flower extract

Best

loquat extract

Extract derived from a subtropical flower that has antioxidant properties similar to...

Best

lotus seed extract

Extract that can have soothing and antioxidant properties...

Poor

lovage root extract

In cosmetics, it is used as a fragrance....

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 (white lupine) seed oil

Lupinus albus (white lupine) seed oil is a non-fragrant plant oil whose unsaturated fatty acid content consists primarily of oleic and erucic acids.

Best

Lupinus albus extract

Species of legume.

Best

lutein

Carotenoid that has antioxidant properties…

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

Lycium barbarum fruit extract

The extract of the fruit commonly known as goji, goji berry, or wolfberry. This fruit extract is an antioxidant...

Best

lycopene

Carotenoid pigment that has potent antioxidant properties…

Categories: Antioxidants
Poor

lye

Good

lysine

Amino acid.

Best

lysine HCI

Lysine HCI plays a role in keeping skin hydrated and helping it look smooth and youthful.

Categories: Hydration
Good

macadamia nut oil

Used in cosmetics as an emollient for dry skin.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

madecassoside

One of four principal bioactive compounds in the plant extract Centella asiatica.

Good

magnesium

Earth mineral that has strong absorbent properties and some disinfecting properties…

Categories: Absorbent
Good

magnesium aluminum silicate

Powdery, dry-feeling, white solid that is used as a thickening agent and powder in cosmetics.

Good

magnesium ascorbyl palmitate

Fatty acid-based derivative of vitamin C that can be an effective antioxidant. There is some...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

magnesium ascorbyl phosphate

Form of vitamin C that is considered stable and an effective antioxidant for skin (Sources:...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Good

magnesium aspartate

Magnesium aspartate is the magnesium salt of aspartic acid that plays a role in maintaining proteins in skin.

Categories: Skin-Softening, Hydration
Good

magnesium carbonate

Inorganic mineral salt used as an absorbent, opacifying agent, coloring agent, or to adjust the pH...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

magnesium hydroxide

Active ingredient in milk of magnesia. It is an absorbent and has disinfectant properties for skin.

Categories: Absorbent, Miscellaneous
Good

magnesium laureth sulfate

Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

magnesium oleth sulfate

Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

magnesium palmitoyl glutamate

Magnesium palmitoyl glutamate is an amino acid (glutamic acid) and mineral (magnesium) blend that conditions and softens skin.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Best

magnesium PCA

Magnesium PCA is the magnesium salt of PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), which is part of skin’s intercellular matrix.

Good

magnesium stearate

Used as a thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

magnesium sulfate

Commonly known as Epsom salt, a magnesium salt used as a texture enhancer.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

Mahonia aquifolium root extract

A plant extract known as Orgeon grape...

Best

malic acid

Malic acid is an exfoliating ingredient derived from unripe fruit.

Categories: Exfoliant
Best

mallow

Can be used as a texture enhancer in cosmetics and may have soothing...

Best

Malpighia emarginata (acerola) fruit extract

Acerola fruit extract is a potent source of antioxidants and hydrating polysaccharides.

Good

maltodextrin

A plant-based sugar created by hydrolyzing a saccharide with starch from corn, potato, or rice.

Good

maltooligosyl glucoside

A carbohydrate polysaccharide that’s naturally-derived and then combined...

Average

malvaceae extract

Extract from plants of the Malvaceae family, which includes over 1,000 species, found in tropical...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Malva sylvestris extract

Extract from the blue mallow flower, it may have some soothing properties for...

Poor

mandarin orange oil or extract

Primarily used as a fragrance; it can be a skin sensitizer. There is no research showing it has any...

Good

mandelic acid

A type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), also known as amygdalic acid. There’s some research showing mandelic acid is an effective exfoliant, although it’s not as effective as glycolic acid due to its larger size...

Categories: Exfoliant
Average

manganese gluconate

Mineral found in trace amounts in tissues of the body. While manganese plays a vital role in the...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

manganese violet

Coloring agent/additive permanently listed (as of 1976) by the FDA for use in cosmetic products,...

Best

Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter

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

Good

Mangifera indica root

Extract derived from the mango tree; it can have antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of...

Good

mannitol

Mannitol is a plant-derived or lab-made sugar that works in skin care to bind moisture and condition.

Good

manuka oil

Extract derived from the New Zealand tea tree; the oil is similar to that of the Australian tea...

Good

marigold

Good

marionberry

Fruit that has potent antioxidant properties.

Poor

marjoram

Herb with a fragrant component used in cosmetics; can be a skin sensitizer…

Best

marshmallow

A flowering plant native to Africa that has soothing effects...

Good

Mastocarpus stellatus

Best

mate extract

Best

matricaria oil

Average

MEA

Abbreviation for monoethanolamine.

Best

meadowsweet extract

Extract that can have skin-soothing properties...

Best

Medicago sativa

Good

Melaleuca alternifolia

Poor

Melaleuca cajeputi oil

There is no research showing that this oil, which is derived from a plant in the same family as the...

Best

Melia azadirachta (chinaberry) flower extract

The chinaberry is a popular plant throughout India, where use of every part of the plant can be seen in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine.

Best

Melia azadirachta (chinaberry) leaf extract

Latin term for the extract from the leaf of the neem plant.

Poor

Melia azadirachta oil

Categories: Sensitizing
Good

melibiose

Saccharide that can have good water-binding properties.

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Poor

Melissa officinalis

Poor

Mentha arvensis

Poor

Mentha piperita

Poor

Mentha spicata

Poor

Mentha viridis

Poor

menthol

Derived from peppermint; menthol can have the same sensitizing effect as peppermint on skin…

Poor

menthone

Major constituent of peppermint.

Poor

menthoxypropanediol

Synthetic derivative of menthol. It is known to produce effects that are twice as strong as...

Best

menthyl anthranilate

Also known as meradimate, this is a synthetic sunscreen active is a partially effective UVA...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Poor

menthyl lactate

Used as a cooling agent and fragrance in cosmetics. It is a derivative of menthol and is supposed...

Best

meradmiate

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Poor

methanol

Categories: Sensitizing
Good

methicone

One of the simpler silicones due to its less complex molecular structure.

Good

methionine

Poor

methylchloroisothiazolinone

In combination with methylisothiazolinone, it goes by the trade name Kathon CG (among others)....

Categories: Preservatives, Sensitizing
Poor

methyldibromo glutaronitrile

Formaldehyde-releasing preservative...

Categories: Preservatives
Poor

methyldihydrojasmonate

Synthetic fragrant component.

Good

methyl gluceth-20

Liquid that functions as a water-binding and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Good

methyl gluceth-20 benzoate

A synthetic ester and emollient used to improve product spreadability. Methyl...

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

methylglucoside phosphate

A type of monosaccharide (simple sugar) derived from glucose, it serves as a skin-conditioning agent...

Categories: Skin-Softening
Poor

methylisothiazolinone

Preservative that’s generally recommended for use only in rinse-off products such as cleansers or...

Categories: Preservatives, Sensitizing
Good

methylparaben

Parabens are a group of controversial preservatives that include butylparaben...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

methylpropanediol

Glycol that functions as a solvent. Methylpropanediol can enhance ingredients such as salicylic acid.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Hydration
Good

methylsilanol mannuronate

Good

methylsilanol PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate

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

Good

methylsufonylsulfate

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

methyl trimethicone

Best

Mexoryl SX

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

mica

Earth mineral included in products to give them sparkle and shine.

Good

microcrystalline wax

Plastic-type, highly refined wax derived from petroleum. Used as a thickener and to give products a...

Good

Microcystis aeruginosa

Latin name for spirulina.

Good

milk protein

Good

milk vetch root

Root with potential antioxidant properties, although there isn't conclusive research that it functions that way when applied topically.

Average

millet seed extract

Extract from a cereal grain that has no established benefit for skin, but is added to cosmetic...

Poor

mimosa oil or extract

Extract used as a fragrance in cosmetics.

Good

mineral oil

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

Categories: Emollients
Poor

mint

Can be a skin sensitizer…

Good

mixed fruit extracts

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

montan wax

A type of natural wax derived from lignite, which is a type of coal that’s made from wood. Most...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

montmorillonite

A type of clay that is a mix of bentonite and fuller's earth, with the latter being a white to brown substance found in sediment...

Categories: Absorbent
Good

Morinda citrifolia

Best

Moringa oleifera seed oil

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

Best

Morus alba (white mulberry) root extract

Morus alba (white mulberry) root extract has antioxidant properties, but its main benefit for skin has to do with calming signs of irritation.

Good

Morus bombycis root extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Morus nigra root extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

mucopolysaccharide

Also known as glycosaminoglycans. This is a large class of ingredients that includes hyaluronic...

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Average

Mucor miehei extract

Extract of a type of mold whose enzymes are used as a food additive and flavor enhancer in cheeses....

Categories: Miscellaneous
Average

mugwort extract

There is no research showing this extract has any benefit for skin (Sources:...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

mulberry extract

Non-fragrant plant extract (Latin name is Morus alba) whose various parts such as the leaf and root, have shown potential to brighten and improve the look...

Good

murumuru seed butter

Categories: Emollients, Plant Extracts
Best

Myrciaria dubia (camu camu) fruit extract

Camu camu is a small berry that, especially when fully ripe, possesses strong antioxidant capacity due to its levels of vitamin C.

Good

myristamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate

myristamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate

Good

myristic acid

Cleansing agent that also creates foam and can be drying.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Best

myristoyl hexapeptide-16

Myristoyl hexapeptide-16 is a synthetic, fatty acid-linked peptide known to improve skin’s resilience, visibly calm, and help skin look and feel smoother.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

myristoyl pentapeptide-17

Myristoyl pentapeptide-17 is a synthetic peptide known to increase skin's hydration and resilience.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

myristoyl tripeptide-31

A synthetic peptide made from combining the fatty acid myristic acid with tripeptide-31. This peptide is believed to have a retinol-like effect on skin’s appearance.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Good

myristyl alcohol

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

Good

myristyl myristate

Used in cosmetics as a texture enhancer and emollient.

Best

myristyl nicotinate

A derivative of nicotinic acid, a component of vitamin B3 (niacin) that isn’t the same ingredient...

Categories: Miscellaneous
Poor

myrrh

Fragrant gum resin that can be a skin sensitizer. There is little research showing it has any benefit...

Poor

myrtle extract

Contains volatile oil and tannins...

Poor

Myrtus communis extract

Average

N6-furfuryladenine

Technical name for kinetin.

Average

N-acetyl-L tyrosine

Good

NaPCA

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Poor

Narcissus poeticus wax

Fragrant flower extract that can cause sensitizing reactions…

Good

Nardostachys jatamansi

Average

Nasturtium officinale extract

Good

natto gum

Fermentation product of soy protein. It may be a potent antioxidant (Source: Journal of...

Best

natural moisturizing factor (NMF)

One of the primary elements in keeping skin feeling and looking healthier…

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Best

neem extract

Neem extract has antioxidant and skin-calming benefits and may also help reduce the population of harmful microbes on skin’s surface.

Poor

neem oil

Neem oil contains a chemical known as nimbidin that gives it a sulfur-like odor.

Good

neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate

Used as an emollient and texture enhancer.

Good

neopentyl glycol diheptanoate

Mixture of texture-enhancing ingredient neopentyl glycol and grape-derived fatty acid heptanoic acid...

Poor

neroli

Poor

neroli oil

Fragrant plant oil that can be a skin sensitizer...

Average

nettle extract

Extract that may have soothing properties...

Best

N-hydroxysuccinimide

N-hydroxysuccinimide is a synthetic ingredient used in cosmetics as an ester to soften and condition skin.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Best

niacin

Categories: Skin-Restoring, Vitamins
Best

niacinamide

Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient...

Best

nicotinamide

Categories: Skin-Restoring, Vitamins
Best

nicotinic acid

Categories: Skin-Restoring, Vitamins
Good

noni juice

Also known as morinda or Morinda citrifolia, comes from a small evergreen tree. The juice from this...

Good

nonoxynols

Used as a mild cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

nylon-12

Powder substance that is used as an absorbent and texture enhancer...

Best

Nymphaea tetragona

Also known as pygmy waterlily. The stem has been shown to be an antioxidant...

Poor

oak root extract

Extract that can be a skin sensitizer.

Best

oat beta-glucan

Best

oat bran extract

Oat bran extract is a portion of the oat plant that contains antioxidant and soothing properties...

Best

oat kernel extract

Best

oatmeal

Can have skin-soothing properties…

Best

octinoxate

Also known as octyl methoxycinnamate and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate…

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Best

octisalate

Technical name for the active sunscreen ingredient octyl salicylate (also known as ethylhexyl...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Best

octocrylene

Globally-approved sunscreen agent that protects skin from the UVB range of sunlight.

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

octyldodecanol

Opacifying agent, used primarily as a texture enhancer in moisturizers because of its lubricating and emollient properties.

Good

octyldodecyl myristate

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

Good

octyldodecyl neopentanoate

Skin-softening agent and emollient.

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Softening
Best

octyl methoxycinnamate

Sunscreen agent used to protect skin primarily from the sun’s UVB rays…

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

octyl palmitate

Used in cosmetics as a texture enhancer and emollient.

Best

octyl salicylate

Sunscreen agent used to protect skin primarily from the sun’s UVB rays...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

octyl stearate

Used in cosmetics as a texture enhancer and emollient.

Good

o-cymen-5-ol

Preservative used in cosmetics.

Categories: Preservatives
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...

Best

oleanolic acid

A skin-soothing ingredient, especially when used in synthetic rather than natural form...

Best

oleic acid

Oleic acid is a natural, monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that’s found in many plants.

Good

oleth-10

A form of fatty alcohol that functions as a texture enhancer and cleansing agent.

Good

oleths

Mild cleansing agents.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

oleyl erucate

Skin-softening agent derived from oleyl alcohol, which is obtained chiefly from fish oil.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Poor

olibanum extract

Good

olive oil/olive fruit oil

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

Best

Optunia ficus-indica stem extract

A type of cactus also known as prickly pear whose stem is a bountiful source of antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols.

Poor

orange blossom

Fragrant extract that can also be a skin sensitizer.

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.

Poor

orchid

Fragrant flower that can be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

oregano

Has beneficial properties, but can also be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

Origanum majorana

Poor

Origanum vulgare flower extract

Poor

orris root

Used primarily as a fragrant component due to its violet-like scent (Source:...

Best

oryzanol

Component of plants and their products, such as rice bran, that has potent antioxidant properties.

Best

Oryza sativa (rice) bran extract

Oryza sativa (rice) bran extract is a plant ingredient used in cosmetics to condition and soften skin.

Categories: Skin-Softening
Best

Oryza sativa cera

A natural, non-fragrant wax obtained from rice bran. It functions as a skin-softening agent...

Categories: Skin-Softening
Good

Oryza sativa oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Best

oxidoreductase

Large group of enzymes that block oxygen in different forms from generating environmental damage.

Categories: Antioxidants
Best

oxybenzone

Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) is a sunscreen agent that protects primarily from the...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

ozokerite

Mineral that is used as a texture enhancer in cosmetics, especially in lipsticks and stick...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

P. elisabethae

The “P.” is short for the genus Pseudopterogorgia.

Poor

PABA

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Average

padimate O

Sunscreen agent that protects skin primarily from the sun’s UVB rays (Source: Skin Therapy Letter,...

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

Padina pavonica extract

Average

Paeonia albiflora extract

Categories: Plant Extracts
Average

Paeonia suffruticosa extract

Good

Palmaria palmata extract

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

Poor

palmarosa oil

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

palmitic acid

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

Best

palmitoyl dipeptide-10

A synthetic peptide made of palmitic acid and dipeptide-10, which contains the amino acids alanine and histidine. This peptide is believed to trigger some amount of repair to damaged collagen and elastin.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl hexapeptide-12

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

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl oligopeptide

A blend of palmitic acid (a fatty acid) with several amino acids, including alanine, arginine,...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl pentapeptide-4

Trade name Matrixyl, a fatty acid mixed with amino acids. The only research showing this has any...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl proline

Palmitoyl proline combines fatty acid palmitic acid with the amino acid proline.

Categories: Skin-Softening, Hydration
Best

palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7

A synthetic peptide whose trade name is Matrixyl 3000…

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl tripeptide-1

Palmitoyl tripeptide-1 is a synthetic fatty acid-linked peptide that can help repair visible skin damage and strengthen skin’s underlying supportive elements.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38

An ingredient manufactured by the brand Sederma under the trade name MATRIXYL synthe’6...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl tripeptide-5

A synthetic peptide that is believed to play a role in the appearance of skin firmness...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

palmitoyl tripeptide-8

A plant-derived or synthetic peptide made from combining the fatty acid palmitic acid with...

Categories: Skin-Restoring
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.

Best

Panax ginseng root extract

Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement. When applied topically it delivers antioxidant benefits, boosts hydration, and helps visibly improve signs of skin aging.

Average

Panicum miliaceum

Categories: Plant Extracts
Average

pansy extract

Extract for which there is a small amount of research showing it has skin soothing and...

Good

pantethine

Also known as pantothenic acid.

Categories: Vitamins
Best

panthenol

Alcohol form of the B vitamin pantothenic acid.

Categories: Vitamins
Best

pantothenic acid

Also called vitamin B5, and often touted for a variety of benefits to skin. However, there is only one...

Categories: Vitamins
Poor

papain

Enzyme extracted from papaya. Applied topically, papain can aggravate skin...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Exfoliant
Average

papaya extract

Extract that is the source of papain, which theoretically can have exfoliating properties on skin,...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Exfoliant
Poor

para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)

Sunscreen ingredient rarely used since the 1990s because of strong potential for sensitizing reactions.

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

parabens

Group of preservatives, including butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben,...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

paraffin

Waxy, petroleum-based substance used as a thickener in cosmetics.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

Paraffinum liquidum

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

Categories: Emollients
Best

Parsol 1789

Categories: Sunscreen Actives
Good

Passiflora edulis extract

The layperson term for this Brazilian-based plant oil is passion fruit…

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Passiflora edulis seed oil

Non-fragrant plant oil from the passion fruit plant, and a rich source of fatty acids and antioxidants...

Good

passion fruit extract

There is no research showing this has any benefit for skin.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

patchouli

Fragrant oil derived from mint. It contains eugenol and can aggravate skin.

Average

pawpaw extract

Categories: Plant Extracts, Exfoliant
Good

PCA

PCA (which stands for pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), is an ingredient derived from amino acids that serves as a humectant and is part of the natural moisturizing factor.

Categories: Hydration
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

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

Good

PEG/PPG-17/6 copolymer

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

Good

PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone

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

Good

PEG/PPG-18/4 copolymer

A synthetic polymer compound that functions as a solvent.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG/PPG-20/15 dimethicone

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

Good

PEG-100 stearate

Good

PEG-10 dimethicone

Good

PEG-10 dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer

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

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

PEG-10 rapeseed sterol

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

Good

PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

PEG-12 dimethicone

Good

PEG-12 glyceryl dimyristate

A skin-replenishing ingredient that is a polymer of ethylene oxide.

Good

PEG-14

A synthetic ingredient that functions as a humectant and solvent. With any PEG...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG-150 distearate

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PEG-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate

A complex mixture of a glycol with a fatty acid and glucose that funtions multiple ways: emollient,...

Good

PEG-32

Peg-32 also functions as an emulsifier, which is a type of ingredient that keeps unlike substances...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PEG-33

The synthetic polymer of ethylene oxide used as a binding agent and humectant. With any PEG...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil

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

Good

PEG-40 stearate

PEG-40 stearate typically functions as a cleansing agent, but also helps keep ingredients...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
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-75 shea butter glycerides

An emulsifying and skin replenishing agent derived from glycerides (fatty acids)...

Categories: Skin-Replenishing
Good

PEG-75 stearate

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

Good

PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate

Good

PEG-8

Good

PEG-80 sorbitan laurate

Mild surfactant.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

PEG-8 dimethicone

A synthetic skin and hair replenishing agent...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG 90M

Poor

Pelargonium graveolens oil

Categories: Plant Extracts
Poor

pellitory

Plant whose root extract can cause skin sensitivity.

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Pelvetia canaliculata (algae) extract

Pelvetia canaliculata is a type of brown seaweed also known as Channeled wrack.

Poor

pentadecalactone

Synthetic fragrance used in cosmetics.

Good

pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate

A non-aqueous ester that functions as a thickener and binding agent...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

pentaerythrityl tetraoctanoate

Synthetic compound as an emollient and thickening agent.

Best

pentapeptide-59

Pentapeptide-59 is a biomimetic peptide that contains amino acids.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Best

pentapeptides

Pentapeptides are a type of peptide where the peptide has five ("penta") amino acids. There are dozens of pentapeptides used in cosmetic products.

Categories: Skin-Restoring
Good

pentasodium pentetate

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

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

pentylene glycol

A synthetic skin-replenishing agent and solvent.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Poor

peppermint

Both the oil and the extract can have disinfectant properties...

Best

peptides

Peptides are portions of short or long-chain amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Skin...

Average

Perilla ocymoides

Also known as beefsteak plant. Like many plants, the leaves contain flavones which help the plant...

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

Best

Persicaria hydropiper

Also known as water pepper. All parts of this plant extract have been shown in vitro to be not only...

Poor

petitgrain mandarin

Good

petrolatum

Vaseline is pure petrolatum, and petrolatum is a rich emollient and FDA-approved skin protectant.

Categories: Skin-Soothing, Emollients
Best

Peucedanum graveolens (dill) extract

A plant extract with research showing it can improve skin’s resiliency and work as an antioxidant. Dill also has a calming action on sensitized skin...

Best

PHA

Categories: Exfoliant
Good

phenoxyethanol

Common cosmetic preservative that is considered one of the less sensitizing ones to use in...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

phenoxyisopropanol

Alcohol used as a solvent and preservative. 

Categories: Preservatives
Good

phenylalanine

Average

phenylethyl resorcinol

Synthetic antioxidant often seen in skin-brightening products.

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

phenyl trimethicone

Silicone with a drier finish than dimethicone.

Categories: Silicones, Emollients
Best

phloretin

A flavonoid substance derived from apples and the bark of apple trees. As for topical application...

Best

phosphatidylcholine

Active ingredient in lecithin…

Best

phosphatidylethanolamine

Best

phospholipid

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

Good

phosphoric acid

Used as a pH adjuster in cosmetics and skincare products.

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

photosensitizer

Ingredient that can cause the skin to have a sensitizing reaction when exposed to...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

phthalates

Phthalates refers to a wide range of substances that are very different from one another...

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

Phyllanthus emblica fruit extract

Extract that has antioxidant and soothing properties…

Best

physalis angulata extract

This plant extract has a potent calming effect on skin.

Good

phytantriol

Hair- and skin-conditioning agent that also has water-binding properties.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

phytic acid

Component of plants that has antioxidant properties.

Best

phytoceramides

Phytoceramides are plant-derived ceramides.

Good

phytonadione

One form of vitamin K.

Categories: Vitamins
Best

phytosphingosine

Long-chain, complex fatty alcohol that functions as a water-binding agent and also has preservative...

Best

phytosphingosine phosphate

Phytosphingosine phosphate is a large mix of esters derived from phytosphingosine and phosphoric acid.

Best

phytosterols

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

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

Picea abies extract

Latin name for Norway spruce. Research has shown its bark...

Good

pineapple extract

Contains some antioxidant and skin-soothing properties, particularly from the enzyme bromelain it contains.

Categories: Plant Extracts, Exfoliant
Good

pinecone extract

Components of this extract, specifically linolenic and linoleic acids, can have antioxidant...

Categories: Antioxidants
Poor

pine oil

It can aggravate skin and should never be used on abraded or chafed skin…

Poor

Pinus lambertiana wood extract

Pine extract that may aggravate skin...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Good

Pinus sylvestris extract

Categories: Antioxidants
Poor

Piper nigrum

Categories: Plant Extracts
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

Pisum sativum (pea) extract

Pisum sativa (pea) extract has documented antioxidant ability thanks to its natural content of ellagic acid and beta-sitosterol, gallic acid, and quercetin.

Good

plankton extract

A marine species known as Thalasso plankton and derived from various algae, seaweed, or marine skeletons...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Average

plasticizing agents

Ingredients that place a thin layer of plastic over the skin. Typically these are used in facial...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

Plinia cauliflora (jabuticaba) fruit extract

Jabuticaba is a dark berry native to Brazil and, like many berries, is a rich source of nearly a dozen polyphenolic antioxidants.

Good

plum extract

Extract of Prunus americana that may have antioxidant activity when applied topically (Source:...

Best

plum seed oil

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

Poor

Pogostemon cablin

Good

poloxamer 184

A synthetic polymer that functions as a cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

Poloxamer 407

Liquid polymer that functions as a surfactant. This ingredient can also keep unlike ingredients...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

poloxamers

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

polyacrylamide

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polyacrylate-17

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polyacrylate crosspolymer

A synthetic polymer that functions to protect skin's surface, thicken products, and help keep cosmetic...

Good

polyacrylate crosspolymer-6

Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 is a synthetic powder ingredient that stabilizes and thickens water-based emulsions.

Good

polyaminopropyl biguanide

Synthetic polymer that functions as a preservative.

Categories: Preservatives
Good

polybutene

Polymer derived from mineral oil and used as a thickener and lubricant.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polyethylene

A form of plastic (synthetic polymer) that has numerous functions in cosmetic products. Rounded...

Good

polyethylene glycol

Also listed as PEG on ingredient labels, polyethylene glycol is an ingredient that self-proclaimed...

Good

polyglucuronic acid

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polyglycerol monostearate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Good

polyglyceryl-10 caprylate/caprate

Polyglyceryl-10 caprylate/caprate is a single ester created from polymers and glycerin used in skin care as an emulsifier or solvent.

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

polyglyceryl-10 laurate

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

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

polyglyceryl 2 triisostearate

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

Good

polyglyceryl-3 beeswax

The ester of fatty acids from beeswax and polyglycerin-3 that functions as a surfactant and...

Good

polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate

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

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

polyglyceryl-4 isostearate

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

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

polyglyceryl-6 isostearate

The ester of isostearic acid and a form of glycerin. Functions as an emollient and an emulsifier in...

Categories: Emollients
Good

polyglyceryl methacrylate

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

Polygonum cuspidatum root extract

Polygonum cuspidatum root extract is a plant whose root is a good source of the potent polyphenolic antioxidant trans-resveratrol.

Best

polyhydroxy acid

Ingredients such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid are types of polyhydroxy acid (PHA). They...

Categories: Exfoliant
Good

polyhydroxystearic acid

Synthetic polymer related to stearic acid. It functions as a suspending agent.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

polyisobutene

A polymer of the hydrocarbon isobutylene obtained from petroleum oil. It functions as a thickening...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polymer

A word that literally means “many parts.” Any of numerous compounds having a high molecular weight...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

polymethylsilsesquioxane

A polymer formed from the condensation and hydrolysis of the silicone methyltrimethoxysilane.

Good

polypropylene glycol

Also known by the acronym PPG, polypropylene glycol is...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

polyquaternium-10

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polyquaterniums

Group of ingredients used primarily in hair-care products for their antistatic and film-forming...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

polysaccharide

Natural component of skin that can be a good water-binding agent and potentially have antioxidant...

Good

polysilicone-11

Specialized, synthetic crosslinked siloxane that functions as a film-forming agent and polymer.

Good

polysorbate 20

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

polysorbate 60

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

polysorbate 80

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

polysorbates

Large group of ingredients most often derived from lauric acid, which is derived from coconuts....

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Average

polyvinyl alcohol

A synthetic polymer of vinyl alcohol that functions in cosmetics as a gel-based thickener, film-forming, and binding agent.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

polyvinylpyrrolidone

Usually listed on ingredient labels as PVP or PVP copolymer, it is one of the primary ingredients...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

pomegranate extract

Pomegranate and its extracts have antioxidant properties that, while not conclusively demonstrated on human skin

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

Poria cocos extract

Also known as Hoelen and Fu ling. Extract derived from a mushroom, which has antioxidant and...

Average

Porphyridium cruentum extract

Extract derived from a type of red algae. There is research showing components of red algae contain...

Categories: Plant Extracts
Best

Portulaca oleracea extract

Extract that may have soothing properties...

Good

potassium

Important element in diet that is present in such fruits as bananas and citrus. It is also an earth...

Categories: Plant Extracts, Absorbent
Best

potassium ascorbyl tocopheryl phosphate

Blend of vitamins C and E with phosphorus that functions as an antioxidant.

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Best

potassium azeloyl diglycinate

A water soluble derivative of azelaic acid, potassium azeloyl diglycinate is believed to convey many of the same benefits as pure azelaic acid.

Good

potassium cetyl phosphate

Used as a detergent cleansing agent.

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Good

potassium citrate

Potassium citrate is a buffering agent that is the potassium salt of citric acid.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Average

potassium hydroxide

Also known as lye, a highly alkaline ingredient used in small amounts in cosmetics to modulate the...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Average

potassium myristate

Detergent cleansing agent that is a constituent of soap; it can be drying and aggravate skin for some...

Categories: Cleansing Agents
Best

potassium PCA

Potassium PCA is the potassium salt of PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), a substance that’s a natural part of skin’s intercellular matrix.

Good

potassium phosphate

An inorganic (not composed of plant or animal matter) salt used as a buffering agent and pH...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

potassium sorbate

Used as a preservative, almost always used in conjunction with other preservatives.

Categories: Preservatives
Good

PPG-12/SMDI copolymer

A copolymer that serves as a film-forming agent...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PPG-12 buteth-16

Versatile ingredient composed of several non-volatile alcohols. Functions as a skin-conditioning...

Good

PPG-14 butyl ether

Used as a hair- and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PPG-20 methyl glucose ether

A synthetic ingredient that funtions as hair- and skin-replenishing agent. The "PPG" designation...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PPG-26-Buteth-26

PPG stands for polypropylene glycol, and this ingredient combines PPG with a fatty alcohol....

Good

PPG-2-deceth-30

An emulsifying agent partially derived from a fatty alcohol.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PPG-2 myristyl ether propionate

Mixture of glycols and fatty alcohols used as a skin-conditioning agent and, in some cases, as a...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PPG-3 benzyl ether myristate

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

Categories: Emollients
Good

preservatives

Substances used in cosmetics to help defend against contamination of products...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

proline

Good

propanediol

A glycol that can enhance the absorption of ingredients…

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

propolis

Brownish, resinous material that is collected by bees and used to construct the hive. It has...

Good

propylene carbonate

Liquid used as a solvent and film-forming agent.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

propylene glycol

Along with other glycols and glycerol, propylene glycol is a humectant (hydrating) and delivery ingredient...

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

propylene glycol dibenzoate

propylene glycol dibenzoate

Categories: Emollients
Good

propylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate

A gel-textured ingredient used in many lightweight moisturizers. It is a mix of propylene glycol...

Categories: Uncategorized
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

propylene glycol stearate

Mixture of propylene glycol and stearic acid used as a skin-conditioning agent and emulsifier.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

propyl gallate

An ester of gallic acid that is an antioxidant, and helps protect fats and oils used in cosmetics products from becoming rancid...

Categories: Antioxidants
Good

propylparaben

Parabens are a group of controversial preservatives that include butylparaben...

Categories: Preservatives
Average

Prunella vulgaris

Good

Prunus americana

Good

Prunus amygdalus dulcis

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Prunus armeniaca

Categories: Plant Extracts, Emollients
Good

Prunus domestica seed extract

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

Prunus serotina (wild cherry) fruit extract

Commonly known as black cherry, wild cherry extract is a potent source of antioxidants, notably several kinds of antioxidants known as polyphenols.

Best

Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae

Best

Psidium guajava fruit extract

Guava extract is a rich source of bioactive antioxidants including gallic acid, quercetin, and tocopherol.

Best

Pueraria lobata

Good

pullulan

Glucan gum produced by black yeast that contains polysaccharides, which makes it a good...

Best

pumpkin

Plant whose seeds are a rich source of fatty acids and several antioxidant components, including...

Best

pumpkin seed extract

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

Best

Punica granatum extract

Good

purified water

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

purslane

Good

PVM/MA decadiene crosspolymer

Synthetic polymer used as a film-forming and thickening agent.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PVP

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PVP/dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate

Polymer formed from PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone) and the film-forming agent dimethylaminomethacrylate.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good

PVP copolymer

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Best

pycnogenol

Antioxidant derived from the bark of the French Maritime pine tree. The term pycnogenol was...

Good

pyridoxine hydrochloride (HCL)

Scientific name for vitamin B6; may have antioxidant benefits for skin when...

Categories: Antioxidants, Vitamins
Poor

Pyrus cydonia

Best

Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract

Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract is a species of apple; the fruit is a tremendous source of polyphenolic antioxidants.

Average

quaternium-15

Formaldehyde-releasing preservative used in cosmetics. It can be a skin sensitizer, as can all...

Categories: Preservatives
Good

quaternium-18 hectorite

Used as a suspending agent and also has emulsifying properties.

Categories: Texture Enhancer
Good