Glossary

Cosmetics Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Acacia
An odorless, colourless, and tasteless dried exudate from an acacia tree, most commonly found in Africa, the Near East, India, and the southern United States. It's added to formulations as it is said to soothe irritations.
Acai
Pronounced "ah-sigh-ee", the small, purple berry is a high source of antioxidants.
Acetone
A very strong colourless solvent used in Nail Polish removers.
Alcohol
Cosmetic carrier that acts as a solvent. Found in after-shave lotion, bubble bath, cologne. Has cleansing and anti-bacterial properties.
Algae Extract
From seaweed and pondscum, it is known for its non-irritating and moisturizing benefits.
Alkanolamines
Compounds used in cold creams and eyeliners as a solvent and to adjust the pH.
Allantoin
Derived from Comfrey leaves, it's used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to have the ability to encourage the growth of tissue.
Allergen
Within beauty, it is a ingredient or formula that can lead to irritation, but doesn't usually affect others.
Almond Oil
Oil extracted from the seeds of almonds used as an emmolient.
Aloe Vera
Used as a topical treatment for its healing properties; it's considered an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory (notorious ingredient within in "after-sun" products), and an antioxidant.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid
AHAs are derived from various plants or from milk. However, a high percentage of AHA's used in cosmetics are synthetically derived. In concentrations less than approximately 3% AHAs work as water-binding agents. At concentrations over 4% and in a base with an acid pH of 3 to 4, AHAs can exfoliate skin cells by breaking down the substance in skin that holds skin cells together. The most notorious AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
An Enzyme applied topically for it's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aluminum Chlorohydrate
Most commonly found in anti-perspirants. Reduces the size of skin pores to restrain moisture loss from local body areas.
Amino Acids
The body's building blocks and where protein is created. Of the twenty-two known amino acids, eight cannot be manufactured in the body in sufficient quantities to sustain healthy growth. These eight are called "essential" because they are necessary to maintain good health.
Ammonium Glycolate
A synthetic form of glycolic acid used as a pH adjuster and exfoliant. It is sometimes paired with regular glycolic acid to maintain the pH in a range that allows exfoliation.
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Can be derived from coconut; used primarily as a detergent cleansing agent and is considered gentle and effective.
Antioxidant
General term for a large group of natural and synthetic ingredients that work to reduce free-radical damage and environmental stress on skin.
Argan Oil
Derived from the kernels of argan trees. It contains several beneficial lipids and fatty acids for skin and is also a good source of vitamin E and antioxidant compounds.
Arnica Extract
A botanical extract that is both an antiseptic and an astringent. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Ascorbic Acid
See Vitamin C
Azulene
Used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-acid. It is calming and soothing, and helps restore and repair the epidermis.
Testimonial
“I am so thrilled that I can learn such product knowledge online. It sure gives me more confidence and a great bonus to help my customers! Thank you!”
Beauty Consultant, Shoppers Drug Mart
Subscribe to our Newsletter: