Glossary of Terms

Acid: Reacts with a base alkali to form water and salt.  

Antiseptic: Inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

Antioxidant: A substance thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.

Astringent: Draws skin and other tissues together, helps tighten pores and removes excess oil from the skin.

Base: Alkaline; reacts with an acid to form water and salt.    

Emollient: A natural substance used as a skin softener

Emulsifier: A substance that keeps two or more components of a product from separating.  

Essential Oil: A volatile oil with known therapeutic properties, extracted from a botanical via cold press, steam, or solvents.

Esterification: The use of desired acids or esters with alcohols to make new esters with desired characteristics.

Exfoliant: A somewhat gritty compound used to removes imbedded dead skin cells, dirt, or other impurities.  

Extraction : Use of water, ethyl alcohol or other necessary solvents, to remove desired ingredients from mixtures.

Fermentation: The use of a yeast, mold, bacteria or enzymes to produce a desired ingredient.

Humectant: A substance that promotes moisture retention.

Hydrolysis: Involves the use of water, with either enzymes or chemical agents, to break down a more complex ingredient.

Hydroxylation: A process by which an atom of hydrogen and an atom of oxygen are introduced into a compound in order to make that compound soluble.  

Hypoallergenic: Having a decreased possibility of causing an allergic reaction.  

Modified Natural: A natural ingredient that is changed into a desired ingredient by using non-natural chemical ingredients.

Natural: A compound that occurs naturally, or is extracted from a natural source using physical means (eg. Distillation or filtration) or is derived from the natural source using a natural process such as saponification. Not made from petroleum sources.

Nature-identical: A compound found in nature; but the commercial, identical form is synthetically produced. There is no chemical or structural difference between the natural form and the synthetic form.

Noncomedogenic: Does not clog pores or contribute to the formation of acne.

pH: The measure of the acidity or alkalinity (base) of a solution; pH levels range from 0-14. The lower a pH the more acidic it is; In order to balance the pH level of skin it needs to have a pH in the range of 5.5 and 6.0. pH levels need to be balanced in order for the skin to benefit from a product, without being irritated.

Preservative: An ingredient used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, or yeast. Adding these ingredients gives personal care products a longer shelf life. Since personal care products tend to be exposed to contamination on a regular basis, especially natural formulations, these are necessary components to personal care formulations. Natural preservatives are not always potent enough by themselves to maintain a long shelf life, so when they need extra help, the mild synthetics we sometimes use help to keep the product fresh for a reasonable period of time.   

Solvent: Something used to dissolve or extract another substance.

Surfactant: Used to change the chemical properties of something allowing it to better mix or react with something else (i.e. cleansers, wetting agents, emulsifiers, conditioning agents).  Cleansers contain surfactants, in order to dissolve and remove dirt.

Synthesized: Man-made ingredients that can still be considered natural.  

Toner: used to cleanse, refresh, tighten skin and minimize pores.  

Topical application: To apply something topically means to apply it to a local area of the skin.

Vegan: In the context of personal care ingredients we consider vegan to mean non-animal sourced.

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