The information in this glossary is taken from CosIng - the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. It is intended to be a guide only to the possible functions of substances and ingredients found in the produts reviewed by Beauty Literate. 


 
 

4-t-Butylcyclohexanol

  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Perfuming   Used for perfume and aromatic raw materials.

 
 

Acrylates / C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life.
  • Film Forming   Produces, upon application, a continuous film on skin, hair or nails.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Alcohol Denat.

  • Antifoaming   Suppresses foam during manufacturing or reduces the tendency of finished products to generate foam.
  • Antimicrobial   Helps control the growth of micro-organisms on the skin.
  • Astringent   Contracts the skin.
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate

  • Absorbent   Takes up water- and/or oil-soluble dissolved or finely dispersed substances.
  • Anticaking   Allows free flow of solid particles and thus avoids agglomeration of powdered cosmetics into lumps or hard masses.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Aqua / Water

  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.

 
 

Arginine Hcl

  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Avobenzone / Butyl Mehtoxydibenzoylmethane

  • UV Absorber   Protects the cosmetic product from the effects of UV-light.
  • UV Filter   Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.

 
 

Behenyl Alcohol

  • Binding   Provides cohesion in cosmetics.
  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Bemotrizinol / Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine / Tinosorb S

  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 
  • UV Absorber  Protects the cosmetic product from the effects of UV-light.
  • UV Filter   Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.

 
 

Bisoctrizole / Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol

  • UV Filter   Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.

 
 

Butylene Glycol

  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture.
  • Masking   Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.
  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

C18-36 Acid Triglyceride

  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

C20-22 Alcohols

  • Binding   Provides cohesion in cosmetics.
  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life. 
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate

  • Emulsifying   Promotes the formation of intimate mixtures of non-miscible liquids by altering the interfacial tension.
  • Surfactant   Lowers the surface tension of cosmetics as well as aids the even distribution of the product when used.

 
 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Perfuming   Used for perfume and aromatic raw materials.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Caprylyl Glycol

  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.   
  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture.   
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 

 
 

Cetyl Alcohol

  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Emulsifying   Promotes the formation of intimate mixtures of non-miscible liquids by altering the interfacial tension.
  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life.
  • Foam Boosting   Improves the quality of the foam produced by a system by increasing one or more of the following properties: volume, texture and/or stability.
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Opacifying  Reduces transparency or translucency of cosmetics.
  • Surfactant   Lowers the surface tension of cosmetics as well as aids the even distribution of the product when used.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Cetyl Palmitate

  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Citric Acid

  • Buffering   Stabilises the pH of cosmetics.
  • Chelating   Reacts and forms complexes with metal ions which could affect the stability and/or appearance of cosmetics.
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.

 
 

Chlorphenesin

  • Antimicrobial   Helps control the growth of micro-organisms on the skin.
  • Preservative   Inhibits primarily the development of micro-organisms in cosmetics.

 
 

Cyclohexasiloxane

  • Emollient  Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 
  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.

 
 

Cyclopentasiloxane

  • Emollient  Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 
  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.

 
 

Decyl Glucoside

  • Cleansing Helps to keep the body surface clean.
  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life.
  • Surfactant   Lowers the surface tension of cosmetics as well as aids the even distribution of the product when used.

 
 

Dicaprylyl Carbonate

  • Emollient  Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 

 
 

Dimethiconol

  • Antifoaming   Suppresses foam during manufacturing or reduces the tendency of finished products to generate foam.
  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Moisturising   Increases the water content of the skin and helps keep it soft and smooth.

 
 

Disodium EDTA

  • Chelating   Reacts and forms complexes with metal ions which could affect the stability and/or appearance of cosmetics.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Ectoin

  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 

 
 

Ethylhexylglycerin

  • Deodorant   Reduces or masks unpleasant body odours.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 
      

 
 

Fructooligosaccharides

  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Glycerin

  • Denaturant   Renders cosmetics unpalatable. Mostly added to cosmetics containing ethyl alcohol. 
  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture.
  • Oral Care   Provides cosmetic effects to the oral cavity, e.g. cleansing, deodorising, protecting.
  • Perfuming   Used for perfume and aromatic raw materials.
  • Skin Protecting   Helps to avoid harmful effects to the skin from external factors.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Glyceryl Stearate

  • Emollient  Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Emulsifying   Promotes the formation of intimate mixtures of non-miscible liquids by altering the interfacial tension.

 
 

Glycine

  • Antistatic   Reduces static electricity by neutralising electrical charge on a surface.
  • Buffering   Stabilises the pH of cosmetics.
  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract

  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Glucosylrutin

  • Antioxidant   Inhibits reactions promoted by oxygen, thus avoiding oxidation and rancidity.

 
 

Homosalate

  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 
  • UV Absorber  Protects the cosmetic product from the effects of UV-light.
  • UV Filter   Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.

 
 

Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer

  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life. 
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.


 
 

Isoquercitrin

  • Antioxidant   Inhibits reactions promoted by oxygen, thus avoiding oxidation and rancidity.

 
 

Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract

  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Mannitol

  • Binding   Provides cohesion in cosmetics.
  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture.
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Moisturising   Increases the water content of the skin and helps keep it soft and smooth.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Methyl Palmitate

  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Perfuming   Used for perfume and aromatic raw materials.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Methylpropanediol

  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.

Octisalate / Ethylhexyl Salicylate 

  • UV Absorber   Protects the cosmetic product from the effects of UV-light.
  • UV Filter  Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.

 
 

Octocrylene

  • UV Absorber   Protects the cosmetic product from the effects of UV-light.
  • UV Filter  Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.

 
 

Olus Oil

  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.

 
 

Panthenol

  • Antistatic   Reduces static electricity by neutralising electrical charge on a surface.
  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Polyamide-5

Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.


 
 

Polysilicone-15

UV Filter  Filters certain UV rays in order to protect the skin or the hair from harmful effects of these rays.


 
 

PEG-100 Stearate

  • Surfactant   Lowers the surface tension of cosmetics as well as aids the even distribution of the product when used.

 
 

Pentylene Glycol

  • Skin Conditioning  Maintains the skin in good condition. 
  • Solvent   Dissolves other substances.

 
 

Phenoxyethanol

  • Preservative   Inhibits primarily the development of micro-organisms in cosmetics.  

 
 

Propylene Glycol

  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.
  • Solvent Dissolves other substances.
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

 
 

Rhamnose

  • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.

 
 

Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil

  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

 
 

Shea Butter / Butyrospermum Parkii

  • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition. 

 
 

Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

  • Film Forming   Produces, upon application, a continuous film on skin, hair or nails.

 
 

Sodium Citrate

  • Buffering   Stabilises the pH of cosmetics.
  • Chelating   Reacts and forms complexes with metal ions which could affect the stability and/or appearance of cosmetics.
  • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.

 
 

Sodium Hydroxide

  • Buffering   Stabilises the pH of cosmetics.
  • Denaturant   Renders cosmetics unpalatable. Mostly added to cosmetics containing ethyl alcohol.

 
 

Sodium Polyacrylate

  • Absorbent   Takes up water- and/or oil-soluble dissolved or finely dispersed substances.   
  • Binding   Provides cohesion in cosmetics.
  • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
  • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life.
  • Film Forming   Produces, upon application, a continuous film on skin, hair or nails.
  • Hair Fixing   Permits physical control of hair style.
  • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.   
  • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

     
     

    Squalane

    • Emollient   Softens and smooths the skin.
    • Hair Conditioning   Leaves the hair easy to comb, supple, soft and shiny and/or imparts volume, lightness, gloss, etc.
    • Refatting   Replenishes the lipids of the hair or of the top layers of the skin.
    • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

     
     

    Trisodium EDTA

    • Chelating   Reacts and forms complexes with metal ions which could affect the stability and/or appearance of cosmetics.

     
     

    Tocopherol

    • Antioxidant   Inhibits reactions promoted by oxygen, thus avoiding oxidation and rancidity.
    • Masking   Reduces or inhibits the basic odour or taste of the product.
    • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.

     
     

    VP(Vinylpyrrolidone)/Hexadecene Copolymer

    • Binding   Provides cohesion in cosmetics.
    • Film Forming   Produces, upon application, a continuous film on skin, hair or nails.
    • Hair Fixing   Permits physical control of hair style.
    • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

       
       

      Xanthan Gum

      • Binding   Provides cohesion in cosmetics.
      • Emulsifying   Promotes the formation of intimate mixtures of non-miscible liquids by altering the interfacial tension.
      • Emulsion Stabilising   Helps the process of emulsification and improves emulsion stability and shelf-life. 
      • Gel Forming  Gives the consistency of a gel (a semi-solid preparation with some elasticity) to a liquid preparation.
      • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.
      • Surfactant   Lowers the surface tension of cosmetics as well as aids the even distribution of the product when used.
      • Viscosity Controlling   Increases or decreases the viscosity of cosmetics.

       
       

        Xylitol

        • Humectant   Holds and retains moisture
        • Skin Conditioning   Maintains the skin in good condition.