As informed consumers, many of us are in the habit of reading the labels on our personal care products. However, without a chemistry degree, it can be a bit daunting to make sense of ingredient names, beneficial, controversial or otherwise.
Even natural ingredients, when listed by their scientific names can sound potentially harmful.
While it is always wise to exercise caution when trying new beauty products and to make note of anything that causes a reaction, you might be missing out on some very beneficial ingredients that can enhance your skin and hair.
More commonly known as Shea Butter, this extract from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree is only found in the tropics of Africa. The color and consistency will vary, depending on the method of extraction — raw, refined or highly refined. Shea Butter provides easily absorbed moisture that nourishes and protects skin. It can also help soothe eczema and psoriasis and soften dry or damaged hair. In addition to being packaged in its pure form, Shea Butter can be found in lotions, cleansers, lip balms and hair products such as, L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream and Frederic Fekkai Creme Luxueuse with Shea Butter.
Beeswax is a natural substance produced in the hives of honey bees. As a natural emulsifier, it helps make products more uniform in texture. It allows the skin to naturally seal in moisture and also has anti-bacterial properties. Beeswax can be found in lip balms, moisturizers and skin creams, like Barielle Total Foot Care Cream.
While we might be conditioned to think of “acid” as a caustic substance, Hyaluronic Acid is a sugar compound that naturally occurs in skin cells. As hyaluronic acid molecules can hold 1000 times their weight in water, they act as a guard against dehydration, boosting firmness and fighting fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid actually attracts moisture and binds it to the skin, allowing moisturizing agents to perform better. It is typically found in serums and moisturizers such as Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Time Complex Moisture Cream.
Usually derived from plants, panthenol is the non-irritating form of Vitamin B5. Applied topically, it penetrates into the lower layers of the skin, adding essential moisture to smooth and plump. It can also moisturize and fortify hair and has been shown to repair skin tissue and help fight certain types of dermatitis. It can be found in moisturizers, primers and hair products such as Osmotics FNS Ladies Revitalizing Shampoo and bareMinerals bareVitamins Prime Time Foundation Primer.
A naturally occurring antioxidant, tocopherol, or Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which is isolated from vegetable oil. In addition to helping smooth skin overall, it may slow the aging process by fighting free radicals and protecting against UV damage, as well as boost the efficiency of Vitamin C. Tocopherol can be found in serums and moisturizers like SkinMedica Vitamin C Plus E Complex and EmerginC Multi Vitamin and Retinol Serum.