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Product Ingredient Glossary

  • acid- reacts with a base to form water and salt.  A water-based solution that is highly acidic will have a low pH value and be highly reactive.
  • alcohol- a compounds made from carbon, hydrogen and water in a particular arrangement. Many are antiseptic. 
  • antiseptic- prevents infection by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms
  • antioxidant- A substance, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, or beta carotene, thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.
  • astringent- draws together skin and other tissues. Tightens pores and removes excess oil from the skin.
  • base- reacts with an acid to form water and salt.  Something that is highly basic (also known as alkaline or caustic) will have a high pH value and be highly reactive. 
  • emollient- skin softener
  • emulsifier- substance that keeps two or more components of a product from separating.  This mixture is called an emulsion.
  • exfoliant- removes dead skin cells
  • fragrance oil- fragrance oils are synthetic scents. 
  • humectant- substance the promotes the retention of moisture
  • hypoallergenic- having a decreased possibility of causing an allergic reaction
  • noncomedogenic- does not clog pores and cause the formation of blackheads and whiteheads.
  • pH- the measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution.  The range is from 1 to 14.  Water is neutral with a pH value of 7.  The closer to 1 or to 14, the more and there is an increased possibility of skin damage.  Balancing pH, when it comes to body care products, is to move the pH to a level that is more in harmony with the body.
  • solvent- something use to dissolve something else.
  • surfactant- used to change the chemical properties of something allowing it to better mix or react with something else.  For example, cleansers, wetting agents, emulsifiers, conditioning agents.  Cleansers contain surfactants, allowing them to dissolve dirt and remove it.
  • toner- used to cleanse and refresh the skin.
  • #topical or #topically- to apply something #topically means to apply it to a local area.  In cosmetics, refers to applying to an area of the skin.

High in vitamin K, A, D and minerals. Good for conditioning and strengthening the hair.

Water soluble crystal known for its ability to help heal wounds and skin ulcers and to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue.   Occurs naturally in comfrey root.

Aloe Vera
There are over 300 species of aloe vera. topically, it has been shown to counteract wrinkling of the skin and scarring, as it has a slight relaxing effect on skin. Great for burned, sunburned and over- exposed skin.  It stimulates cellular regeneration and also has been shown to have: astringent, emollient, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.   As a moisturizer it is very effective in helping heal skin irritation, promoting new skin growth and stalling the aging process. It has been used for centuries due to the beneficial effects it has on skin. The finest most concentrated extract of aloe vera is obtained from the inner most filet of the leaf. Native to Africa, it is also known as lily of the desert, the plant of immortality, and the medicine plant.  Today, it is grown in the West Indies and the American Southwest. In 1500 B.C. Egyptians recorded use of the herbal plant in treating burns, infections and parasites.  Aloe is a member of the lily family, although in appearance it resembles cactus. Recently, it has become increasing popular as a natural healer.

Althea Root (Marshmallow)
Originally used to provide marshmallow with its pillowy consistency. Althea is an extract that softens and soothes. Healing, soothing soft tissue repair herb.  The plant is a member of the Mallow family, which prefers for its habitat wet places such as marshes--hence the name.  It grows widely around the world, and is found in the western U.S.   It soothes inflamed tissue in the digestive system; like an internal poultice. Internal uses include inflammatory mouth, stomach and bowel problems including gastritis, peptic ulcers and colitis. Like slippery elm, marshmallow will absorb poisons and reduce inflammation, including ulcerations and wounds that won't heal. It is used externally on abscesses, boils and even varicose veins. Marshmallow liquid extract can be rubbed into the skin to cool, heal and smooth.

Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS)
The ammonium salt of lauryl sulfate- derived from natural coconut alcohols, it is a mild foaming agent widely used.  This is an ingredient some people like to avoid.  We do sell soaps and shampoos that are free of lauryl sulfate and its relatives.

AMP (Aminoethyl Propanol)
An organic pH adjuster used to maximize the effects of styling products.

Annato Extract
A natural food grade vegetable dye from a tropical tree, yellow to orange.

A skin softener and toner, apricot adds sheen without an oily film.

Arnica Montana Extract
Arnica Extract is an antiseptic, astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant (keeps blood from clotting). It also known to stimulate blood circulation and heals skin tissues by promoting removal of wastes from skin tissues and new tissue growth.  It is anti-allergenic and is considered an excellent treatment for acne.

Beet Extract
Extract from the stem base of the beet used for its reddish color.

A sunscreen that blocks UV-A (ultraviolet light from the sun) rays.

Beta Carotene
Found in all plant and many animal tissues.  Especially in orange or yellow vegetables. Beta carotene is extracted as red crystals or crystalline powder, used as coloring in cosmetics. Also used in the manufacture of Vitamin A. Used also as antioxidant.

A naturally occurring vitamin H. Some studies show that it has a positive effect on hair growth when taken internally.

Birch Bark
American Indians used birch bark extensively for many purposes, it acts as a skin toner and has anti-inflammatory qualities.

Beneficial to scalp. Bladderwrack is a kelp grown in the sea.  Rich in macro minerals such as  calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulfur, silicon and iron. High in some B-complex vitamins and iodine.  Contains moderate amounts of phosphorus, selenium, manganese and zinc.

An herb.  Acts as an emollient

Boric Acid
An inorganic acid and mild antiseptic, and preservative.

Burdock Extract
Provides relief of conditions such as: boils, carbuncles and gout inflammation. Burdock cleanses.  It also helps heal acne prone skin by reducing the swelling and inflammation of acne lesions. Burdock has been credited with antibacterial and antifungal properties and the apparent ability to help regulate and normalize sebum (oil from the skin) production. It has traditionally been used to treat acne, taken both internally and externally.  When used in a facial steam, it affects both the oil and sweat glands and works to restore skin tone and smoothness. It is considered to be one of the most important herbs for medicinal cosmetic use.

Butylene Glycol
Organic humectants similar to propylene glycol.

A Mediterranean annual plant (Calendula officinalis) formerly used in medicine, coloring, and flavoring of food.  Has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and rash healing properties.

Used as a coloring in cosmetics and a soothing agent in lotions. Produced by heating sugar or glucose and adding small amounts of alkali or a trace mineral acid during heating.

Carbomer 940
An organic thickening agent.  Polymers (long chain molecules) used as thickening and suspending agents and emulsion stabilizers in cosmetic formulations. White, slightly acidic powders, carbomers react with fat particles to form thick, stable emulsions of water and oil.

A natural thickening agent.

Carrot Extract
When obtained from Carrot leaves, there is some indication that the extract has cleaning and healing properties due to its strong antiseptic qualities. Carrot's medicinal properties depend on its volatile oil.  This oil, when derived from the root, has tremendous benefit in many treating many skin conditions and diseases.

Ceteareth 5, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteth 2 and 20
A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from coconut oil consisting mostly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols. Used as emollients, thickeners and emulsion stabilizers.

Cetrimonium Chloride
An emulsifier derived from coconut

Cetyl Alcohol
A natural fatty alcohol derived from coconut oil widely used as an emollient and stabilizing agent in conditioning and moisturizing treatments (emulsions).

A daisy-like plant. Extract from its white and yellow heads impart luster. An essential source of vital minerals for hair.  This extract has anti-inflammatory properties and has been clinically proven to repair skin tissues. It is also considered anti-bacterial, anti-itching, soothing, antiseptic, purifying, refreshing and hypoallergenic.  It has the ability to neutralize skin irritants. It is considered to be noncomedogenic and is highly beneficial in aftershaves and dry skin treatments.

Cinnamic Acid
A naturally occurring acid found in plants and used as a sunscreen.  Also can be manufactured.  Provides protecting from UV rays.  Shea Butter contains natural cinnamic acid.

Cinnamon Bark
One of the spices that drove world exploration, cinnamon bark is a natural astringent known to suspend excess oil on oily skin or scalp.  Strong, spicy-warm aroma. Stimulant and antiseptic.

Citric Acid
A natural, edible organic acid used to adjust pH, one of the natural hydroxy acids derived from citrus fruits. (also known as Citric Acid USP).

An antiseptic, flavoring and stimulant.

Clover Blossom
Clover Blossom extract serves as an astringent. Red Clover acts as an antibiotic and is good for bacterial infections and an array of skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis.  Clover Blossom is rich in B Vitamins, selenium, and Vitamin C.

Cocamide DEA and Cocamide MEA
Shampoo thickener and foam stabilizer derived from coconut fatty acids. Also assists in removal of fatty soils.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
An amphoteric (having the properties of an acid and a base) surfactant used as a cleanser. Known for its mild conditioning properties. Derived from coconut fatty acids. Also known as Coco Betaine.

Cocoa Butter
emollient & conditioning . Gives creamy and hard qualities to soap. This butter is pressed from the Cocoa bean. It provides a protective layer on the skin that holds moisture in, making it a very nice skin softener.  Those allergic to chocolate should refrain from using products with this ingredient.

Coconut Oil
Light, good cleanser, moisturizing and quick lathering qualities. Coconut Oil contributes to a hard bar of soap with a wonderful, fluffy lather. Will not clog pores (noncomedogenic). Whether it should be eaten or not is the source of some controversy.  But, it is an excellent fat for soap making.

A healing herb with emollient properties that is soothing to the scalp.

Comfrey Root (Comfrey Extract)
Comfrey Root extract is rich in allantoin, known for its ability to heal wounds and stimulate the growth of healthy tissue. Comfrey Extract is known to speed healing of wounds and skin conditions and has been proven to be beneficial for many skin problems.  Those include: bedsores, bites, stings, bruises, inflammation, burns, dermatitis, dry skin, ulcerations, psoriasis, scabies, rashes and sunburns.  Comfrey contains Vitamins A, C and E, as well as allantoin and is known to have healing, astringent and emollient properties. It is also known to soothe and contains anti-itch compounds.

Cucumber (Extract)
Cucumber imparts a cool feeling to the skin while serving to soothe and refresh the skin tissues. Cucumber Extract possesses humectant, moisture-regulating, soothing, tightening, anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains high amounts of amino acids and organic acids that are beneficial to the skin.  Cucumber Extract is effective in emulsions as a tightening agent for tired, stressed skin and also for use in eye, aftershave and oily skin preparations.

A silicone derivative. Adds luster and sheen.

Dandelion is rich in Vitamin A and C and refreshes the skin, and corrects pH balance.  It is great for dry skin and useful for abscesses and boils.  Dandelion may aid in the prevention of age spots.

DEA Oleth 3 Phosphate and DEA Oleth10 Phosphate
An emulsifier that prevents separation of product. Adds shine.

Deionized Water
Purified water.  Water purified by deionization technique based on removal of highly active ions especially positively charged cations like calcium, magnesium and iron.

 A cosmetic preservative.

A silicone derivative. Adds luster and sheen.

Dimethicone Copolyol
Same as above and is water soluble.

Dimethyl Lauramine Isostearate and Stearamine
Conditioning and emulsifying agents.

EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acetic Acid)
A chelating agent with unique properties of "neutralizing" trace minerals (like calcium, iron and magnesium salts, etc.) and other deposits on hair. Chelate means to bind in a ring. By this action, it softens hard water allowing it to clean better.

Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra Extract)
Known for its astringent, antiseptic and emollient properties, it is useful for problem skin, dry skin and  inflamed skin. The bark, leaves, flowers and berries all have been used botanically.  Elder has a long medical history of use to treat such conditions as: bruising, swelling and wounds. The leaves are also utilized in cooling ointments.  It also serves to stimulate circulation and possess powerful antioxidant properties.  Sambucus is said to reduce skin wrinkle formation and is utilized predominantly in skin, eye and bath preparations.

Emulsifying Wax
Utilized to keep oil and water from separating. An emulsifying and thickening agent used to give a formulation body. Unlike some waxes, this is not a true wax. It is a chemical mixture of emulsifiers and fatty alcohols that permit the formulation of stable creams.  

Essential Oils
100% pure aromatic essences extracted from flowers and herbs.  Often used in aromatherapy.  Used for fragrance, as an antiseptic, germicide and/or as natural preservative. Derived from natural plant oils.  Have many benefits and typically are better tolerated by people who cannot tolerate fragrance oils (synthetic fragrance oils).

Ethyl Ester PVM/MA Copolymer
Humidity resistant, non-tacky polymer.

Eucalyptus (an essential oil)
Eucalyptus is an organic essential oil that comes from the Eucalyptus Globulus. Eucalyptus oil is a strong antiseptic. It is used for many different medicinal and various other purposes. First it can be used to treat gum disease also known as pyorrhea and is used on burns to prevent infections. Vick's vapor rub also has eucalyptus in it and is helping you with congestion when you rub it on your chest to help with breathing. When mixed with water  you may also use the oil as an insect repellent.  A small drop on the tongue helps with nausea.  Other uses include: arthritis or sore muscles; sinus, hay fever, cold; cold sores; burns; sores, cuts and abrasions.

Fragrance Oils
Synthetic scents used purely for their aroma.  Their use is not necessarily all bad. But, their use and amounts should be limited, especially for those who may be sensitive.

Geranium (Extract)
A refreshing, anti-irritating, mild skin astringent that is known to be good for all skin types. It is particularly beneficial for acne prone skin and those with inflammatory tendencies.   Widely used in perfumery and cosmetics. Has an excellent history of use in the cosmetic industry, being utilized in astringent washes, hair rinses, bath products and soaks and facial masques.  Calming, Balancing, Anti-depressant, Skin disorders - helps restore the balance between oily and dry skin and hair.

A by-product of the soap making process and a natural emollient.   What commercial soap manufacturers don't tell you is that glycerin is removed from commercial soaps and then added to other skin moisturizers and sold to you at a higher cost.  Because the glycerin has been removed, detergent bars can be very drying to your skin.  An oily fluid obtained by adding alkalis to fats and mixed oils.  Used as a solvent, humectant and emollient in many cosmetic preparations; it absorbs moisture from the air, thus helping to keep moisture in creams and other products. Nontoxic, non irritating and non allergic.

Glyceryl Monostearate
An emollient and emulsifier derived from natural stearic acid and glycerin.

Glyceryl Stearate
An emulsifier.

Glycolic Acid
Derived from sugar cane juice, used to adjust pH in products and as an exfoliant and moisturizer.

Glycol Stearate
See Glyceryl Monostearate.

Goat's Milk
Promotes silky smooth skin. The lactic acid in milk is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), a natural material that dissolves the substance that holds dead skin cells together.  You’ll find this in many facial care products designed to make your skin look younger. Milk can cleanse the skin down to its deepest layers.  Goats milk has some properties that are not fully understood. Many people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk, can tolerate goats milk.  The addition of goats milk to our soaps, lowers the pH level bringing it closer to the level of your skin, making the soap better for even the most sensitive skin.

Grapeskin Extract
The extract of the pulp of grapes, used as a coloring.

Green Tea (Extract)
A natural extract of Japanese green tea that has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Guar Gum or Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride
Naturally derived from Guar tree, thickening and stabilizing agent used frequently.

Horse Chestnut Extract
Promotes circulation promoter. Is also known to be toning and astringent. Is excellent for use in products designed to stimulate circulation.

Horsetail Extract
Used in folk medicine to treat edema, arthritis, bone diseases, inflammation and other connective tissue disorders.  In poultice form, it is used successfully to depress bleeding and accelerate the healing of burns and wounds.  Horsetail is rich in minerals used by the body to repair and rebuild injured tissue. It is known to be stimulating, healing and softening. Is also known to increase the skin’s defense mechanism, regulate the skin due to the plant’s rich mineral content and even strengthen connective tissue due to the presence of silicic acid. Also beneficial for the treatment of acne.

Hyaluronic Acid
Extremely effective moisturizing agent. It holds 500 times its own weight of water. This humectant is derived by bacterial fermentation.  Because of its effectiveness, it can be used in very, very small amounts.

Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin Protein
Protein derived from human hair.

Hydroxyethel Cellulose
Used as a thickener in creams and lotions. Derived from the cell walls of plants.

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose
Derived from the cell walls of plants. Used as thickener and to give products uniform consistency and body.

topical application of hydroquinone produces a reversible depigmentation of the skin. Exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light will cause repigmentation of lightened areas. Should be used in concentrations no higher than 2%.

Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol)
Generally used as a solvent.  Drying to black hair.  Generally, should be avoided in black hair.

Isopropyl Palmitate
Made from palmitic acid from coconut oil.  Used to impart silkiness to the skin and hair.

Ivy Extract
Has slimming and anti cellulite properties, as it prevents water accumulation in skin tissues. Is antibacterial and is soothing in cases of sunburn.  Ivy Extract is currently being studied for its vasoconstrictive properties, due to its Vitamin P. Lowers tissue sensitivity, activates circulation, helps reduce local inflammation. Ivy has a long history in folk medicine for use in cases of skin eruptions and skin ulcerations. It is also widely used to dress wounds and treat pus-exuding sores.  Taken orally, it helps with chronic cough.

Jasmine, Jasmine Oil
Exotic and uplifting essential oil. For many it is an emotionally warming sensual oil.   Good skin tonic

Jojoba Oil
Moisturizes & conditions, rich in vitamin E.  Extracted from the beanlike seeds of a desert.   Mystical properties have been attributed to Jojoba oil in folk medicine use, due to its ability to heal the skin. It reduces provides the skin with suppleness and softness.  It is able to rapidly penetrate and absorb into skin pores and hair follicles.  As a sebum emulsifier, it is great for shampoos.

Lactic Acid
A natural, mild organic acid prepared by fermentation.  Used in cosmetics to adjust pH. Lactic acid is a primary component in the skin's natural buffer system.  This is naturally present in milk and makes it excellent for use in soaps and lotions.  The mild acid helps revitalize skin by allowing it to slough off dead skins.

Made from lauryl alcohol, principal alcohol of coconut oil. It's modified to give it a "water loving" character. Used as an emollient and emulsifier.

Its name derived from the Latin verb "to wash" lavender is a relaxing, cleansing, antiseptic herb that is also a circulation stimulant and can help relieve skin irritations. Classic, clean floral scent.

From the Greek meaning "egg yolk". Natural antioxidant, emollient and emulsifier used in a variety of cosmetics. Egg yolk is 8 - 9% lecithin.   

Has antioxidant and antibacterial, antiseptic properties. Used in cosmetics for its clean, pleasant fragrance.  Stimulating toner and astringent.  The scent is energizing; clears mind; relieves depression and refreshes.  Possible dermal irritation in some individuals, use with care. Do not expose your skin to a lot of sun  when using oils/body butters with lemon essential oil in them.

Usually used as an essential oil.  Lemongrass has numerous properties: anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, digestive and it tones up the liver.  Lemongrass is also used for its repulsive action against mosquitoes just as citronella.  It causes an important vasodilatation on the skin, improving circulation.  Lemongrass oil has a lemony, sweet smell and is dark yellow to amber and reddish in color.  It is watery in viscosity.  Lemongrass is a perennial fast-growing aromatic grass, growing to about three feet high with long, thin leaves.  Originally, it grew wild in India. Lemongrass oil is extracted from the fresh or partly dried leaves by steam distillation. By improving circulation on the scalp, it can stimulate hair growth.  Lemongrass is used in all of the Saniyyah...Naturally hair care products.

The therapeutic properties of Lemongrass oil include: analgesic (pain reliever), anti-depressant, antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, diuretic, fungicide, galactagogue, insecticide and anti-oxidant (preventing cell damage).  Lemongrass oil revitalizes the body; it relieves some of the symptoms of jetlag, clears headaches and helps with nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions.  It is useful with respiratory infections such as sore throats, laryngitis and fever. It helps prevent the spreading of infectious diseases. It is helpful with colitis, indigestion and gastroenteritis.  Lemongrass oil helps tone the muscles and slack tissue, relieves muscle pains and helps with poor circulation. As an insect repellant it helps to keep pets clean from fleas, ticks and lice. Lemongrass oil assists in clearing up oily skin and acne; helps with athlete's foot and excessive perspiration.

Lineolamido Propyl Ethydimonium Ethosulfate
Antistatic and hair conditioning agent

Mango Butter
Originated in India, from the seed kernel of the Mango tree.  A great emollient that is adds flexibility to the skin.  Restores suppleness and elasticity.

Marshmallow Extract
Originally used to provide marshmallow with its pillowy consistency. Althea is an extract that softens and soothes. Healing, soothing soft tissue repair herb.  The plant is a member of the Mallow family, which prefers for its habitat wet places such as marshes--hence the name.  It grows widely around the world, and is found in the western U.S.   It soothes inflamed tissue in the digestive system; like an internal poultice. Internal uses include inflammatory mouth, stomach and bowel problems including gastritis, peptic ulcers and colitis. Like slippery elm, marshmallow will absorb poisons and reduce inflammation, including ulcerations and wounds that won't heal. It is used externally on abscesses, boils and even varicose veins. Marshmallow liquid extract can be rubbed into the skin to cool, heal and smooth.

Meadowfoam Seed Oil
A rich emollient. A mild, stable oil that is resistant to oxidation. It is of much interest to cosmetic formulators because it quickly penetrates the skin. The oil is extracted from the meadowfoam plant. Meadowfoam Oil re-moisturizes the skin in ways that no other oil can.  Meadowfoam oil is similar in performance to Jojoba oil and is believed to be more stable than any known vegetable oil, thus it resists oxidation. Meadowfoam is a renewable crop that doesn't require burning of fields between plantings. It also requires less fertilizer and pesticide than traditional crops.  

Methyl Paraben
The parabens (and preservatives in general) have gotten a bad rap from some groups.  The truth is most lotions, shampoos, etc. would have impractically short shelf lives without preservatives.  Methyl Paraben and Propyl Paraben have been used for years in foods with no harmful effects.  If you see these food grade preservatives in your shampoo or lotion, have no fear. It's so non-toxic it's approved for use in foods. It is effective against a wide range of bacteria and fungi. Recommended concentration in cosmetics 0.2 - 0.3%.

Yes, milk.  Promotes silky smooth skin. The lactic acid in milk is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), a natural material that dissolves the substance that holds dead skin cells together.  You’ll find this in many facial care products designed to make your skin look younger. Milk can cleanse the skin down to its deepest layers.  Goats milk has some properties that are not fully understood. Many people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk, can tolerate goats milk.  The addition of goats milk to our soaps, lowers the pH level bringing it closer to the level of your skin, making the soap better for even the most sensitive skin.

Mild scalp stimulant with Vitamin B.

Rich in minerals and plant hormones, nettle extract is cleansing and astringent. Used in folk medicine to stimulate hair growth, it also acts as a glossifier.

Nonoxynol 12
Used as a surfactant and as a dispersing agent.  

Oat, Oatmeal, Oat Extract
Used as mild skin exfoliant when used dry. Oat extract is a terrific skin softener, and also serves to cleanse and protect the skin tissues.

Octyl Methoxycinnamate
A sunscreen that blocks UV - B rays. Derived from cinnamic acid.

Oleth 20
Organic perfume stabilizer.

Olive Oil
As a major ingredient in handmade soap, olive oil provides a conditioning, moisturizing and mild bar of soap. Soothing, healing, produces stable lather, emollient and conditioning.  A natural antioxidant.

Orange Oil
Orange oil has a comforting and warming effect. Helps congested skin and dry skin conditions.  An excellent skin tonic. May make skin sensitive to sun.  You should not expose yourself to a lot of sun when using citrus (orange, grapefruit or lemon) essential oils.

Orange Peel Extract
Extract from "green" variety of oranges, rich in natural elements. Used for color.

Orange Flower
Used as an emollient and to make hair lustrous.

Papaya Extract
Because of its protein-digesting abilities, papaya is effective in dissolving dead skin/tissue; which makes it useful in removing skin crusts and scaling. It is used in the cosmetics industry as a mild exfoliant. Non-comedogenic, papaya is considered to be one of the most effective plants to treat cosmetic/skin problems.  It is excellent for use in balancing oily skin.

Palm Kernelamide DEA and MEA
Derived from palm kernel oil. Used as a conditioning agent and thickener for shampoos.

Member of the Vitamin B complex family.  Panthenol is used as a hair thickener and conditioning agent. During oxidation, it is converted to Vitamin B- 5 (pantheonic acid).

Passion Flower Seed Oil
Passion Flower is calming. Passion Flower was first discovered in Peru and now grows throughout tropical areas in South America, Asia, Australia and Madagascar.  Passion Flower is soft on the skin.  Passion Flower Oil has traditionally be used in herbal medicine to relax.  It can help with anxiety, nervousness, poor digestion, pain, migraines, menstrual cramps and infection. topically it has been used for burns and to reduce inflammation.

Patchouli Oil
Patchouli essential oil has a very distinctive aroma that can be described as pungent, mossy, woodsy, earthy and rich.  The oil is thick and orangish-amber colored.  The bush is  a two to three foot perennial with purplish-white flowers and is native to tropical Asia.  The oil is moisturizing for dry skin.

PEG-100 Stearate
An emulsifier.

Usually used as an essential oil.  An excellent antiseptic and astringent. An anti-inflammatory, it soothes irritated skin. The scent is vitalizing and uplifting.

Phenyl Trimethicone
Water resistant silicone, adds shine and flexibility.

Plantain Extract
The Common Broad-leaved Plantain is a very familiar perennial "weed" that's found just about anywhere.  Plaintain extract is somewhat astringent and is excellent for the prevention of skin diseases.  It has been used in inflammation of the skin, malignant ulcers, intermittent fever, etc., and as a wound treatment and stimulant application to sores. Applied to a bleeding surface, the leaves are of some value in s#topping bleeding.

Polyquaternium 11
Has anti-bacterial properties. Adds hold to styling products.

Polysorbate 20
Liquid used to stabilize perfumes in water based products like shampoos.

Polysorbate 80
Liquid used to emulsify oils.

Potassium Sorbate (Sorbic Acid)
A preservative used mainly to prevent the growth of bacteria, molds and yeasts.  A food grade preservative used in cheese, wine, etc. Used in the cosmetics industry in concentrations of 0.025-0.2%.  It is a naturally occurring fatty acid though most of what is used today is manufactured.  As a fatty acid, it is easily broken by down by the human body when eaten or absorbed.  So, it is harmless.

Pro Vitamin B5
Member of the Vitamin B family.  This vitamin helps thicken and condition hair.

Propyl Paraben
A food grade preservative- see Methyl Paraben. Usually used with methyl paraben to provide protection against more microbes.

Propylene Glycol Dicocoate
A mixture compounds derived from coconut fatty acids. Helps remove build - up from hair.

PVM/MA  PVM/VA Copolymer
Used in hairsprays and styling products to provide hold.

Pyroxidine HCL  (Vitamin B6)
Member of the Vitamin B family.  Vitamin B6 is used as a texturizer.

Quaternium 15
Preservative effective against bacteria.

Stimulating and astringent.

Red Clover
Clover Blossom extract serves as an astringent. Red Clover acts as an antibiotic and is good for bacterial infections and an array of skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis.  Clover Blossom is rich in B Vitamins, selenium, and Vitamin C.

Retinol (Vitamin A)
Applied to the skin, retinol can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  A sunscreen should be used when using product high in retinol and sun exposure should be limited as retinol makes the skin more vulnerable to the sun.

An antiseptic and toner.  Good for broken capillaries, dry skin, eczema, mature and sensitive complexions. Rose water has been used since as early as the tenth century for its cleansing and astringent benefits.

Rose Hips
Rose hips are the fruit of a rose that develop after the petals have fallen. Rose hips have been used as a source of Vitamin C.  They have up to 60 times the Vitamin C of citrus fruit as well as containing the bioflavonoids that aid in the absorption of Vitamin C.  Used to fight infection & curb stress. Rose Hips is the highest herb in Vitamin C content and contains the entire C-Complex.  Vitamin C is a very effective anti-oxidant and can help prevent skin damage.

Toner and purifier, stimulating and astringent.  Rosemary fights bacteria and is beneficial to both hair  and skin. Skin rejuvenator, general stimulant, invigorating, reduces mental strain and fatigue. Rosemary is rich in natural minerals.  It  brightens and adds high gloss to the hair. Rosemary stimulates circulation and also acts as an astringent and decongestant. Rosemary is known to be very beneficial cases of acne, dermatitis and eczema.  Aids in blood circulation, which assists with skin regeneration.

Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is an unsaturated vegetable oil derived from safflower. It is used for its moisturizing and softening properties.  This oil is noncomedogenic (won't clog pores).  Often used in creams and lotions to soften the skin and is also used in hair conditioners.

Astringent, calming, cleansing and soothing.

Salicylic Acid
Broad spectrum antibacterial and fungicidal agent. Used externally as an antimicrobial and anti-acne agent, this is common in acne medications. It is found in nature in several plants, notably in sweet birch bark and wintergreen leaves. Commercial sources are  manufactured.  Can be made into acetylsalicyclic acid, otherwise known as aspirin.

Shea Butter
Extracted from the nut of the Karite tree which grows in Western Africa, Shea Butter is useful for a variety of skin conditions and is excellent for use on black hair especially.  

Slippery Elm
Derived from the bark of a small tree.  Used for its skin softening properties.

Sodium Carbomer
Carbomers are big moleculed (is that a word?) agents used as thickening and suspending agents and emulsion stabilizers in cosmetics. White, slightly acidic powders, carbomers react with fat particles to form thick, stable emulsions of water and oil.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Foaming agent (surfactant).  It is much milder than sodium lauryl sulfate. It is also recommended for use in conjunction with other surfactants. Derived from coconut or palm oil

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
A foaming agent used in shampoos, detergents, etc.  Highly controversial as to its toxicity.  Certainly, in high concentrations, when left on the skin for long periods, it is harmful.  But, in the concentrations used in most commercial products, it's considered harmless.  However, we do offer shampoos, shower gels, etc. that contain no sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate.

Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate
Very mild cleansing agent with light conditioning properties.

Sodium Thiosulfate
Used to neutralize chlorine and other similar compounds.

Humectant, moisturizing agent and lubricant. It has similar properties to glycerin but is more compatible to hair.

Soy Lecithin (see Lecithin)
Can be effectively used in facial cleansers formulated for dry skin.  It is used widely in the cosmetics industry. Lecithin is found in every living cell and is a natural antioxidant. Usually developed from soybeans or egg yolks. It is a natural emulsifier and spreading agent and attracts moisture.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)
Has astringent, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It  offers  skin protection for sensitive skin and areas with burns.  It is used as a salve to treat scratches, swellings and small wounds.

Stearalkonium Chloride
Reduces static electricity by neutralizing electrical charges on hair. Good conditioning agent.

Stearamidopropyl Dimethyamine
Closes hair cuticles giving hair more shine.  Closing cuticles is especially important for curly and African American hair, if you want shine.

Steareth 21 ( or fill in the number)
The number indicates the degree of liquidity from 4 (thin) to 100 (solid). An emulsifier.

Stearic Acid
An organic fatty acid used as the basic ingredient to create oil in water emulsions in conjunction with TEA. These emulsions are water soluble with good penetrating properties.

Stearyl Alcohol
A natural fatty alcohol, very similar to cetyl alcohol. Derived from coconut oil.

Sunflower Oil
A base oil especially useful with higher quality oils such as olive,  cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut, & jojoba oils.  Contains vitamin E.

Sweet Almond Oil
Natural "non-oily" oil that adds sheen.

TEA Laureth Sulfate
 An effective, yet very mild, cleansing agent.

TEA Lauryl Sulfate
Similar to TEA Laureth Sulfate

Tea Tree Oil
An antiseptic, germicide & antifungal. Purifying, regulating & uplifting.  Great in shampoos for itchy scalp and dandruff.  Effective against acne.

Tetrasodium EDTA
Same as Sodium EDTA or Na- EDTA. It's a chelating (binds with trace minerals) agent  that reacts with sodium, calcium and magnesium salts found in hard water and "makes" them water soluble. Reduces build-up. Allows hard water to clean better.

A calming cleanser and antiseptic.  Thyme tones and refreshes.

Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Vitamin E may be the most important antioxidant because it protects cell membranes and prevents damage. Natural sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, grains, oats, nuts, and dairy products.  Laboratory studies suggest vitamin E helps inactivate free radicals, making them less likely to cause damage. Several studies have shown applying vitamin E to the skin can reduce damage caused by sun exposure and limit the production of cancer-causing cells.

Tormentil Extract
Powerful herbal astringent.  It possesses mild antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Triethanolamine (TEA)
An alkanomine used as part of an emulsion system in conjunction with organic acids like stearic acid. Also serves as a softener in hair spray.

Wheat Germ Oil
An extract from wheat germ that is very rich in natural vitamin E.

Witch Hazel
Used as an astringent, and an aid in setting hair.  Applied #topically, Witch Hazel has astringent and healing properties and relieves itching. It is extremely beneficial when used in skin care. It has a long history of use in the topical treatment of burns, sunburn, skin irritation, insect bites and bruises.  It has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties and has anti-itching, softening and emollient properties. Witch Hazel is effective against free radicals and is being used in solar products, as it appears to counter the effects of UVA (ultraviolet light) by its anti-free radical activity, while acting as a UVA-UVB absorber.

Xanthan Gum
Used as a thickener.  An organic gum produced by fermentation of a carbohydrate with corn sugar gum. It is widely used as a thickener and emulsifier.  Similar to guar gum.

An extract for cleansing and astringency.  Yarrow is a medicinal herb with a strong mystical history. The stems of the yarrow plant have been used for thousands of years,  starting in the Orient.  Yarrow grows all over the United States and in many parts of the world.  Yarrow's action as an astringent means that it firms and tones. As an antiseptic and antiviral agent, Yarrow kills many harmful microorganisms upon contact.

Ylang Ylang
Essential oil used for its calming effects. The oil also has a balancing effect that can allow strong emotions to be moderated. Has a rejuvenating effect upon skin and hair. Smooth aroma, which is not overly strong. Ylang Ylang flower's essential oils make for sweet, floral, and spicy blend. Produced from the flowers of the Annonaceae family, a plant native to tropical Asia.  Ylang Ylang is a deeply relaxing oil with an exotic, rich and sensual aroma.  The oil is grown commercially in  Madagascar, the Philippines and Reunion islands.  Four grades of oil are available because of the way the oil is distilled. The four grades or distillations are classified with 'extra' being the finest. Good quality Ylang Ylang will have a smooth aroma which is not overly strong and which lacks the thick, dominant sweetness of some distillations.
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Culture and Society is your #1 resource for quality products and honest consumer reviews, ethnic hair care tips, makeup and skin care tips, and health and fitness tips for people of color and dark skin tones.  We also bring you the seasons hottest celebrity styles and fashion trends and some of the latest in music and entertainment. is made to be fun and entertaining, while at the same time informative and educational from personal knowledge as well as researched and shared topics on health, beauty, fashion, music, entertainment, lifestyle and culture specific to the needs and interest of men and women in the black african american community.

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