Acid: Reacts with a base alkali to form water and salt (neutralize bases).
Antiseptic: Inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
Antioxidant: A substance thought to protect against the damaging effects of oxidation.
Astringent: Shrinks tissues, helps tighten pores and removes excess oil from the skin.
Base: Alkaline; reacts with an acid to form water and salt (neutralize acids).
Emollient: A natural substance used as a skin softener.
Emulsifier: A substance that keeps two or more components of a product from separating; stabilizer.
Essential Oil: A volatile oil, usually having the characteristic odor or flavor of the plant from which it is obtained, used to make perfumes and flavorings; extracted from a botanical via cold press, steam, or solvents.
Esterification: The process of conversion of an acid into an ester by combination with an alcohol and removal of a molecule of water. Esters make excellent emollients because of their low reactivity and good stability.
Exfoliant: A compound used to remove dead skin, 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, or bacteria to produce a desired ingredient.
Humectant: A substance that promotes moisture retention.
Hydrolysis: The reaction of water with another chemical compound to form two or more products.
Hydroxylation: A process by which a hydroxyl group (-OH; a molecule of hydrogen linked to oxygen) is introduced into a compound. In cosmetics products, this makes the new compound more water 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); 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 lower the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid, allowing them 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.
Toner: A lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores, usually used on the face.
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.