Some terminology you should be familiar with:

Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids - (AHA's) work mainly as an exfoliant. They cause the cells of the epidermis to become "unglued" allowing the dead skin cells to slough off, making room for regrowth of new skin. AHA's may even stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, and are reported to improve wrinkling, roughness, and mottled pigmentation of photo-damaged skin after months of daily application. Alpha Hydroxy Acids found in skin-care products work best in a concentration of 5% to 8% and at a pH of 3 to 4. Beta Hydroxy Acid, Salicylic Acid, is a topical exfoliant that can reverse some of the effects of photo-aging such as fine wrinkles and discolored skin. Currently, Salicylic Acid is the only Beta Hydroxy acid used as an exfoliant.

Anti-Acne Agents - Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disease of the skin, caused by excessive secretion of oils from the sebaceous glands accompanies the plugging of the pores with naturally occurring dead skin cells (corneocytes) blocking hair follicles. Acne can be treated with vitamin A derivatives (tretinoin), and exfoliating and anti-inflammatory agents. Vitamin A itself has also anti-acne effects but is not as effective as tretinoin, which is the treatment of choice for comedonal acne. It works by increasing skin cell turnover promoting the extrusion of the plugged material in the follicle.

Common exfoliating agents include salicylic acid and glycolic acid, which induce peeling of the top layer of skin preventing a build-up of dead skin cells and blocking pores. It also helps to unblock already clogged pores. Vitamin C is supportive in acne treatments as it has mild anti-inflammatory properties.

Anti-Aging Agents - There are various active ingredients known to have regenerating effects in skin cells helping to slow down degenerative processes as they occur in the aging skin. Regenerative processes may include stimulation of the production of proteins (e.g. collagen, elastin), prevention of water loss, stimulation of the skin's blood circulation, replenishing the sub-epidermis with natural lipids, and maintenance of the natural homeostasis of the skin cell. Antioxidants like, for example, vitamin C and vitamin E are usually also used in anti-aging cosmetic products.

Anti-Dark Circles Agent - Dark circles under the eyes are the result of the engorged blood vessels. Because the skin under eyes is thinner than skin anywhere else on body, blood vessels there are more noticeable and very fragile. Thus, dark circles are caused by colored pigments that stem from hemoglobin, (protein from red blood cells) released from such fragile blood vessels. New cosmetic ingredients are now available that are able to absorb and eliminate such colored hemoglobin pigments.

Anti-Wrinkle Agents - There are various active ingredients that can reduce fine lines or also larger wrinkles. This can be achieved by different mechanisms including inhibition of facial skin muscle tightening (e.g. Botox), stimulation of the production of proteins in the connective tissue (e.g. collagen, elastin), and optimal hydration of skin cells and prevention of water loss.

Antioxidants - Antioxidants very useful active ingredients for the manufacturing of cosmetics. Generally, antioxidants interrupt oxidation reactions and prevent the effects of oxygen radicals (e.g. peroxides) both processes known to damage the integrity and function of various natural substances. Antioxidants are useful in two ways: On the one hand they prevent degradation of natural ingredients (proteins, sugars, lipids) in the cosmetic product. On the other hand antioxidants protect the skin cells from being damaged and slow down the aging process. Antioxidants have been shown to boost the skin's radiance, minimize age spots, sun spots, and fine lines.

Antiperspirants - Antiperspirants prevent odor and reduce sweat produced sweat glands. Antiperspirants - classified as drugs by the FDA - are typically applied to the underarms and attempt to stop or significantly reduce perspiration and thus reduce the moist climate in which bacteria thrive. Aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum zirconium compounds are the most widely used antiperspirants. Aluminium-based complexes react with the electrolytes in the sweat to form a gel plug in the duct of the sweat gland. The plugs prevent the gland from excreting liquid and are removed over time by the natural sloughing of the skin.

Antiperspirants are often combined with deodorants, which only reduce body odor but do not inhibit sweat.

Botanical Extracts - All botanical extracts specifically designed for skincare products and cosmetics and are made from the finest organic, ethically wild-crafted and best quality plants. All extracts are extracted and preserved with purely natural ingredients using defined standards, practices, and materials.

Certified Organic Ingredients - Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products including cosmetics and personal care products. Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping. The United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan have comprehensive organic legislation, and the term "organic" may be used only by certified producers. Cosmetic manufacturers can voluntarily seek organic certification from a variety of national and international organizations.

Colours & Colour Blends - Colorants are classified as either organic or inorganic depending on the chemistry. Both organic and inorganic colorants are available in dry form or liquid form dispersed in castor oil.

Organic Colours - Organic colors were originally called coal tar or anilines because they were derived from coal sources. However, nowadays almost all organic colorants are synthetic and are available as either water soluble, oil soluble or insoluble (= Lakes) agents in all kinds of shades.

Inorganic Colours - Inorganic colorants are composed of insoluble metallic compounds which are either derived from natural sources

(e.g. china clay, carbon deposits) or synthesized. Inorganic colors do not have the same kinds of health risks as organic colors and, therefore do not require certification. Inorganic colorants are not available in the range of shades that the organic offers, and they are not water soluble which limits their range of applications. Since many factors can affect the stability and activity of colorants (e.g. surfactants, pH value) please keep in mind that the same amount of a specific colorant may give a different shade in a different formulation.

Conditioners - Conditioners are special surfactants (quaternary ammonium compounds) carrying positive electrical charges, thereby neutralizing the negative charges of the hair that occur especially on areas where there is weathering. The effect is a reduction of static electricity on the hair and the ‘fly away’ associated with it. Not only does this improve the shine and lustre of the hair, the change in the hair surface enhances the depth and life of the hair color too. Conditioners also improve detangling and combing the hair, both wet and dry. Proteins in conditioners are able to repair damaged or permed hair by refilling shed cuticle scales.

Emollients - Emollients include a large variety of compounds with softening and smoothing properties. As compared to plant oils, specialty emollients are resistant to oxidation and can therefore not spoil and need no antioxidants for preservation. In addition, most specialty emollients show very good spreadability on the skin and provide a satiny, smooth and non-greasy feel to the skin. Typically, they are non-comedogenic, non-allergic and non-irritant.

Emulsifiers - Emulsifiers are used in creams and lotions to mix water with oils. Since water and oil do not mix but stay separated, an additional agent (emulsifier) is necessary to form a homogenous mixture keeping water and oil together. There are 2 types of emulsifiers. Oil-in-water (o/w) emulsifiers keep oil drops packed in water, while water-in-oil (w/o) emulsifiers keep water drops packed in oil. W/O emulsifiers are used for a fatty feel (e.g. night & sun protection creams). O/W emulsifiers are used more in moisturizing products (e.g. body lotions, day creams).

Exfoliants - Exfoliants (or abrasives) are compounds able to slough away the top layer of dead epidermis cells of the skin, thereby leaving the skin appear smoother, fresher and less wrinkled (peelings). The result of exfoliation is to promote blood circulation in the skin and to increase the turnover of surface skin cells. Exfoliation can be achieved either mechanically by scrubbing the skin with cleansers containing small, hard particles (scrubs) or also chemically by applying cleansers containing active ingredients with a peeling effect (e.g. alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids and others).

Hair Repair Agents - Hair repair agents are ingredients that are able to protect the hair and/or restore damaged hair. Such ingredients act by various mechanisms. Proteins are effective in that they form a protective film around the hair shaft thereby filling broken cuticles or split ends. Allantoin and provitamin B5 promote epithelialization and cell proliferation of the hair follicle and also retain moisture to the hair providing shine and softness.

Humectants - Humectants (or moisturizers) are important cosmetic ingredients to prevent loss of moisture thereby retaining the skin's natural moisture. Some compounds also have the ability to actively attract moisture. Humectants are key ingredients in most skin care products but are also often used in hair care products to volumize the hair by attracting moisture which expands the hair shaft. There is a large variety of very different compounds providing moisturzing effects including proteins, acids, polysaccharides, and various small molecules (e.g. glycerine, sorbitol, urea, aloe vera etc.).

Liposomes - Liposomes are nano-sized liposome particles resembling biomembranes and have a very high affinity for the skin. They can easily penetrate through the hard horny layer of the skin. Based on this feature, active ingredients can be incorporated into liposomes to enhance their absorption by the skin and thus their efficacy. In fact, liposome-encapsulation largely reduces the amount of the active ingredient required for effectivness as compared to non-encapsulated, pure active ingredients. Examples of such encapsulated functional ingredients include coenzyme Q10 and ceramides.

Natural Butters - There are several kinds of natural (vegetable) butters which are extracted from various plants, trees, roots, or seeds. They all consist of solid or semi-solid fat oils (i.e. they remain solid at room temperature) making them excellent emollients, softeners and protecting agents. Their composition of oils, fatty acids and active ingredients, however, is quite different so that each butter additionally has different properties as, for example, anti-inflammatory, soothing, moisturizing or antioxidant activities.

Natural Oils - Natural oils are vegetable oils consist of aethereal salts of glycerin with a large numberof organic acids such as stearic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid forming stearin, olein and palmitin, respectively. Stearin and palmitin prevail in the solid olis and fats, while olein is dominant in the liquid oils. Natural oils are excellent emollients leaving the skin soft and smooth. While penetrating the skin many oils have also effective nourishing and revitalizing effects. Natural oils are used in a wide variety of cosmetic products including personal care as well as makeup products.

Natural Waxes - Waxes are complex mixtures of alcohols, fatty acids and esters. They are harder, less greasy and more brittle than fats, and are very resistant to moisture, oxidation and microbial degradation. Waxes very useful cosmetic ingredients based on their various advantageous properties. Generally, waxes have protecting, film-forming, emollient and thickening effects. They provide stability of cosmetic products and enhance their viscosity and consistency.

Nourishing Agents - Nourishing agents include a wide range of different ingredients with various properties. Typically, proteins, natural butters, certain oils and other natural components (e.g. oatmeal) are widely used to nourish and replenish the skin. (See Oil-Free day lotion for Eczema)

Oily Skin Regulators - Sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance called sebum (tallow) that is made of fat (lipids) and the debris of dead fat-producing cells. In the glands, sebum is produced within specialized cells and is released as these cells burst.

Sebum is odorless, but its bacterial breakdown can produce odors. Hyperactive sebaceous glands produce too much sebum which is the cause of oily hair or skin and is also involved in skin problems such as acne and dandruff. An important part of the acne and dandruff treatment is therefore the reduction of the sebum production. Compounds able to reduce the production of sebum are called anti-seborrheic agents like, for example, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione or polyphenol-rich extracts from natural sources.

Pearlizers - Pearlizers are cosmetic ingredients used to obtain luster and shimmering effects in cosmetic products. Generally, the lustre effect is achieved by microfine crystalline compounds (e.g. pearlescent pigments or special chemical molecules) able the reflect light waves. Pearlizers are very often used to provide a luxurious character to a cosmetic product. Pearlizers used in personal care products as shampoos and shower gels often have also thickening and emulsifying effects.

Perfume (Fragrance) – Some perfumes have as many as 200 ingredients. The essential oils used for today’s scents come from leaves, needles, roots and peels of plants. Floral oils come from petals, whole flowers, gums, and resins. Animal exudates such as musk and ambergris are all used in perfumes. Isolates used in perfumes are made of individual factors in natural oils, which may also be treated chemically. Synthetic chemicals imitate natural aromas and are being used in increasing quantities today. A typical basic flower perfume (rose) would include phenylethyl alcohol, 35%; geraniol, 48%; amyl cinnamaldehyde, 2%; benzyl acetate, 4%; ionone, 4%; eugenol, 2%; and terpineol 5%. Perfumes are among the most frequent allergens and are left out of many hypoallergenic products. Complaints to the FDA concerning perfumes include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing and vomiting, skin irritation, and the explosion of the perfume container.

Preservatives - Cosmetic products become easily contaminated by bacteria and fungi. Containing water, oils, peptides, and carbohydrates cosmetics are a very good medium for growth of microbes. All these factors contribute to the fact that cosmetic products need preservation to prevent microbial growth and spoiling of the cosmetic product and also infection of the skin. Our preservatives have potent antimicrobial properties preventing personal care products effectively from spoiling and prolonging substantially the shelf-life. Some of these agents also have stabilizing effects able to preserve the function of various active ingredients including anti-oxidants (vitamins), emulsifiers and surfactants.

Proteins - Both animals and plants give suitable proteinaceous materials for the preparation of cosmetic ingredients. Proteins from fungi and algae, however, are also increasingly being used as protein sources. Proteins typically obtained from animals include collagen, elastin, keratin, milk, reticulin, fibronectin and silk (from silkworm).High-protein plants most commonly used as starting material for producing vegetable proteins are wheat and corn gluten, soy, rice and oat protein concentrates, and defatted oilseeds (peanuts, almond, sunflower). Among the large variety of vegetable proteins wheat gluten and soy globulins are by far of the widest use and interest. Wheat gluten (often just called wheat protein) is a unique cereal protein of high elasticity when hydrated. Soy proteins are useful due to their gelling and emulsifying effects.To make proteins suitable to be incorporated into waterbased cosmetic products, they need to be converted into soluble form. This is usually done by hydrolysation, a process where the protein is cut into smaller parts.

Regenerating Agents - There are a variety of ingredients that have mild anti-inflammatory properties able to soothe irritated and stressed skin. Typical examples include are aloe vera, allantoin and rose hip oil which all are widely used in skin care preparations for sensitive or irritated skin. Many of these agents like provitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid have also effective regenerating properties promoting the growth of new skin cells and supporting wound healing. Both provitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid are thus often used in after-peeling treatments, anti-aging formulations and in all treatments aiming to provide smoothness & softening to the skin.

Self Tanning Agents - According to the American Academy of Dermatology the most effective sunless tanning product available today is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). As the colorless sugar interacts with the dead skin cells located in the outer layer of the epidermis, a color change occurs which usually lasts about seven to ten days from the initial application. Self-tanners should not be confused with bronzers which can be found in powder or cream form and, unlike self-tanners, can be instantly removed with soap and water. Erythrulose is another self-tanning agent that produces in combination with DHA a natural, deep & even tan without stripes (DHA alone may create an orange tone & stripes). Erythrulose prolongs the tan & leaves the skin less dry.

Silicones - Silicones (occur in nature as silicates in sand) are polymers with unique properties and have numerous benefits in all aspects of personal care. They are superb emollients providing great slip and can feel like silk on the skin. Silicones also act as skin protectant, conditioner, pearlizer, film-former, moisturizer, thickener, and emulsifier. As silicones are very mild, they are often used to reduce irritation of harsh surfactants. Claims that silicones in any form cause or worsen acne have not been substantiated in published research.

Skin Lightening Agent - Skin may appear darker than normal and may be blotchy, uneven areas, or patches of brown to gray discoloration or freckling. Skin pigmentation disorders occur because the body produces either too much or too little melanin, a pigment produced by melanocytes. Increased melanin production, also known as hyperpigmentation, is often referred to as melasma (general term describing darkening of the skin), chloasma (discolorations caused by hormones) or solar lentigines (darkened spots on the skin caused by the sun). In addition, hyperpigmentation can be caused by skin damage, such as remnants of blemishes, wounds or rashes. Skin-lighteners (like bearberry leaves extract and undecylenoyl phenylalanine) inhibit melanin tyrosinase or melanotropin and reduce or block some amount of melanin production. Many treatments use a combination of topical lotions or gels containing melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with a sunscreen, and a prescription retinoid. Depending on how the skin responds to these treatments exfoliants, either in the form of topical cosmetic or chemical peels, and lasers may be used.

Solvents & Stabilizers - Stabilizers comprise a variety of compounds that are able to maintain the function and activity of other ingredients such as, for example, active ingredients, fragrances and essential oils. In this group there are also several agents that are used for stabilizing the pH value thereby avoiding excessive acidity or alkalinity. A balanced pH value is particularly important for creating stable emulsions. As many ingredients are barely soluble in water special solvents may be necessary to bring such ingredients into solution. Typical solvents include glycerin and propylene glycol.

Sunscreens - Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to produce erythema and pigmentation on the skin. When directly exposed to the sun, there is 10 to 100 times more exposure of UVA than UVB. UVB (considered the Burning Ray) has an immediate, harmful impact on the skin within minutes. UVA (considered the Aging Ray), which you do not feel, has been shown to damage the skin by penetration deeply into the dermis able of producing premature aging, wrinkles, and tumors. Sun screens are inactive ingredients that are able, however, to avoid chemically or physically UV radiations (UVA and UVB) to penetrate the skin layers. They provide therefore effective protection from the skin damaging effects of the suns rays. Chemical sunscreens act by absorbing UV-light. Physical sunscreens reflect or scatter light in both the visible and UV-spectrum. Effectiveness of sunscreens depends upon their UV-absorption, concentration, formulation, and ability to withstand swimming or sweating.

Surfactants - Surfactants cleanse and build foam by acting at the surface between fat and water (surface-active agents or surfactants). They are able of being mixed with water and fat of the skin, allowing dirt to be removed. Based on their cleansing power surfactants are classified into primary and secondary or co-surfactants. Based on the chemical structure there are anionic, amphoteric, non-ionic, and quaternary agents. Surfactants form the base of all personal cleansing products and can also have wetting, conditioning, defatting, emulsifying, & thickening effects. Surfactants are also very useful for homemade soaps (particularly liquid soaps) to improve lathering and decrease harshness. They are added to the oil-lye mixture during the boiling procedure. Surfactants greatly accelerate and improve the soap making process.

Texturizers & Powders - Texturizers are primarily composed of natural minerals and crystals (e.g. silicates, bismuth, magnesium and others). They are fine powders with effective thickening, filling and stabilizing properties for cosmetic products. They are widely used as basic components in all kinds of makeup products including foundations, face powders, lipsticks, eye shadows, mascara and more. In addition, some texturizers provide special effects such as emulsifying (e.g. magnesium stearate) or pearlizing effects (e.g. bismuth oxychloride).

Thickeners - Thickeners are used very often in various cosmetic products. They enhance the consistency, volume and viscosity of cosmetic products, thereby providing more stability and better performance. While some thickeners have also emulsifying or gelling properties, the majority of thickeners have the ability to retain water on the skin and act therefore as moisturizers. Thickeners can be completely natural like waxes but also synthetic or semi-synthetic. They are derived from various sources and consist of very different molecular structures including polysaccharides, proteins, alcohols, silicones or waxes.

Vitamins - For years vitamins have been recognized as extremely valuable ingredients in all kinds of cosmetics. Vitamins offer various benefits to the skin as suppression of pigmentation & bruising, stimulation of collagen synthesis, refinement of the skin surface, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The antioxidant effect is particularly appreciated since free radicals generated by UV light or pollutants are effectively neutralized and no longer able to damage skin cells. Vitamins can therefore significantly improve the performance of cosmetic and personal care products. Most widely used are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and provitamin B5.