Decoding Label Lingo

Ingredient

Example

Function

Water

Water

Diluent–maximized

“ones”

“anes”

Cyclomethicone, Polysilicone-11

Squalane, Isohexadecane

Silicones: slip and feel
Dimethicone: moisturizer
“anes” are slip agents

“ates”

Octisalate: sunscreen
Palmitate: emollient

Sunscreens are UV-inhibitors
Emollients provide lubricity

Polymer, gum, carbomer

Xanthan gum, carbomer, celluose

Thickeners

“diols”, “ols”

Propylene glycol, butylene glycol

Solvents

Glycerin, dimethicone, petrolatum, hyaluronate

Glycerin, hyaluronate: humectants
Dimethicone, petrolatum: occlusives

Humectants: attract water
Occulsives: trap water

Parabens, ethanol, urea

Methylparaben, phenoxyethanol,
diazolidinyl urea

Preservatives

PEG-30, polysorbate-20

PEG-100 stearate
PEG-40 sorbitan peroleate
PEG-200 hydrogenated glyceryl palmate

Emulsifiers: bring water-soluble and -insoluble ingredients together

Titanium dioxide, mica

Titanium dioxide, mica

Diffusing pigments, color additives

EDTA, BHT

Disodium EDTA, butylated hydroxytoluene

Product stabilizers

Peptides, yeast extracts, ascorbic acid, retinoids, caffeine, bisabolol, botanicals

Peptides, yeast extracts, ascorbic acid, retinoids, caffeine, bisabolol, botanicals

Functional/active ingredients