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Missha Misa Geum Sul Overnight Cream

Missha
Misa Geum Sul Overnight Cream

Premium, oriental herbal nourishing cream works overnight to firm and revitalize skin.
Uploaded by: melioraspero on 26/08/2018

Ingredients overview

​Panax Ginseng Root Extract, ​Glycerin, ​Butylene Glycol, ​Trehalose, ​Cetearyl Alcohol, ​Arbutin, ​Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), ​Hydrogenated Polydecene, ​Polyglutamic Acid, [more]​Glyceryl Stearate, ​Beeswax, ​Pca Dimethicone, ​Mineral Oil, ​Sodium Hyaluronate, ​Polysorbate 60, ​Squalane, ​Cyclopentasiloxane, ​Water, ​Dimethicone, ​Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/​Pvp Crosspolymer, ​Tocopheryl Acetate, ​Sorbitan Olivate, ​Palmitic Acid, ​Cyclohexasiloxane, ​Stearic Acid, ​Peg-100 Stearate, ​Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, ​Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, ​Adenosine, ​Gold, ​Euphorbia Supina Stem Extract, ​Houttuynia Cordata Extract, ​Saponaria Officinalis Leaf/​Root Extract, ​Angelica Keiskei Leaf/​Stem Extract, ​Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Fruit Extract, ​Polyisobutene, ​Polyacrylate-13, ​Sorbitan Isostearate, ​Polysorbate 20, ​Honey Extract, ​Acorus Gramineus Root/​Stem Extract, ​Asarum Sieboldi Root Extract, ​Amomum Xanthioides Seed Extract, ​Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, ​Atractylodes Japonica Rhizome Extract, ​Curcuma Zedoaria Root Extract, ​Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract, ​Pinellia Ternata Root Extract, ​Ledebouriella Seseloides Root Extract, ​Agastache Rugosa Extract, ​Platycodon Grandiflorum Root Extract, ​Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, ​Psoralea Corylifolia Fruit Extract, ​Trichosanthes Kirilowii Root Extract, ​Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract, ​Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, ​Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, ​Codonopsis Lanceolata Root Extract, ​Eucommia Ulmoides Leaf Extract, ​Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, ​Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract, ​Akebia Quinata Stem Extract, ​Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract, ​Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Extract, ​Ipomoea Hederacea Seed Extract, ​Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract, ​Atractylodes Chinensis Rhizome Extract, ​Codonopsis Tangshen Root Extract, ​Gardenia Jasminoides Fruit Extract, ​Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, ​Alisma Orientale Tuber Extract, ​Allium Fistulosum Root Extract, ​Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract, ​Poncirus Trifoliata Fruit Extract, ​Achyranthes Bidentata Root Extract, ​Anthriscus Sylvestris Extract, ​Polygala Tenuifolia Root Extract, ​Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, ​Boswellia Carterii Resin Extract, ​Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, ​Bupleurum Falcatum Root Extract, ​Cimicifuga Racemosa Root Extract, ​Lindera Strychnifolia Root Extract, ​Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/​Root Extract, ​Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, ​Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, ​Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, ​Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, ​Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, ​Cyperus Rotundus Root Extract, ​Scrophularia Buergeriana Root Extract, ​Corydalis Turtschaninovii Root Extract, ​Daemonorops Draco Extract, ​Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Extract, ​Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, ​Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, ​Laminaria Japonica Extract, ​Angelica Gigas Root Extract, ​Asparagus Lucidus Root Extract, ​Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, ​Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, ​Chrysanthemum Indicum Flower Extract, ​Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, ​Morus Alba Fruit Extract, ​Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, ​Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract, ​Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, ​Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, ​Papaver Rhoeas Petal Extract, ​Pueraria Thunbergiana Flower/​Leaf/​Stem Extract, ​Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, ​Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Flower Extract, ​Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, ​Polygonum Multiflorum Root Extract, ​Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, ​Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, ​Bletilla Striata Root Extract, ​Poria Cocos Extract, ​Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, ​Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Extract, ​Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, ​Ardisia Crispa Extract, ​Vigna Radiata Seed Extract, ​Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, ​Glyceryl Polyacrylate, ​Acorus Calamus Root Extract, ​Sutilains, ​Biotin, ​Coptis Japonica Root Extract, ​Carbomer, ​Benzophenone-5, ​Disodium Edta, ​Chlorphenesin, ​Caprylyl Glycol, ​Ethylhexylglycerin, ​Phenoxyethanol, ​Fragrance
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Highlights

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Alcohol Free

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Other Ingredients

Skim through

Ingredient name what-it-does irr., com. ID-Rating
Panax Ginseng Root Extract antioxidant, emollient goodie
Glycerin skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant 0, 0 superstar
Butylene Glycol moisturizer/​humectant, solvent 0, 1
Trehalose moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Cetearyl Alcohol emollient, viscosity controlling 1, 2
Arbutin antioxidant, skin brightening goodie
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) emollient goodie
Hydrogenated Polydecene emollient
Polyglutamic Acid moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Glyceryl Stearate emollient, emulsifying 0, 1-2
Beeswax emollient, viscosity controlling 0, 0-2
Pca Dimethicone
Mineral Oil emollient 0, 0-2
Sodium Hyaluronate skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant 0, 0 goodie
Polysorbate 60 emulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing
Squalane skin-identical ingredient, emollient 0, 1 goodie
Cyclopentasiloxane emollient, solvent
Water solvent
Dimethicone emollient 0, 1
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/Pvp Crosspolymer
Tocopheryl Acetate antioxidant 0, 0
Sorbitan Olivate emulsifying goodie
Palmitic Acid skin-identical ingredient, emollient 0, 2
Cyclohexasiloxane emollient, solvent
Stearic Acid emollient, viscosity controlling 0, 2-3
Peg-100 Stearate surfactant/​cleansing, emulsifying 0, 0
Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract antioxidant
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract
Adenosine cell-communicating ingredient goodie
Gold colorant
Euphorbia Supina Stem Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial, antioxidant
Houttuynia Cordata Extract antioxidant, soothing goodie
Saponaria Officinalis Leaf/Root Extract
Angelica Keiskei Leaf/Stem Extract
Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Fruit Extract
Polyisobutene viscosity controlling
Polyacrylate-13
Sorbitan Isostearate emulsifying 0, 1-2
Polysorbate 20 emulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing 0, 0
Honey Extract moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Acorus Gramineus Root/Stem Extract
Asarum Sieboldi Root Extract
Amomum Xanthioides Seed Extract
Angelica Dahurica Root Extract
Atractylodes Japonica Rhizome Extract
Curcuma Zedoaria Root Extract
Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract perfuming
Pinellia Ternata Root Extract
Ledebouriella Seseloides Root Extract
Agastache Rugosa Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial, antioxidant
Platycodon Grandiflorum Root Extract antioxidant
Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract antioxidant, soothing, skin brightening goodie
Psoralea Corylifolia Fruit Extract
Trichosanthes Kirilowii Root Extract
Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract antioxidant
Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract skin brightening, antioxidant
Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract
Codonopsis Lanceolata Root Extract
Eucommia Ulmoides Leaf Extract
Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract
Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract antioxidant, emollient, moisturizer/​humectant
Akebia Quinata Stem Extract
Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial icky
Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Extract
Ipomoea Hederacea Seed Extract
Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract
Atractylodes Chinensis Rhizome Extract
Codonopsis Tangshen Root Extract
Gardenia Jasminoides Fruit Extract colorant
Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract
Alisma Orientale Tuber Extract
Allium Fistulosum Root Extract antioxidant
Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract
Poncirus Trifoliata Fruit Extract
Achyranthes Bidentata Root Extract
Anthriscus Sylvestris Extract
Polygala Tenuifolia Root Extract
Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract
Boswellia Carterii Resin Extract
Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract
Bupleurum Falcatum Root Extract
Cimicifuga Racemosa Root Extract
Lindera Strychnifolia Root Extract
Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract
Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial, antioxidant, emollient
Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract soothing, anti-acne goodie
Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract emollient, soothing
Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial
Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract soothing, antioxidant, antimicrobial/​antibacterial goodie
Cyperus Rotundus Root Extract
Scrophularia Buergeriana Root Extract emollient
Corydalis Turtschaninovii Root Extract
Daemonorops Draco Extract
Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Extract
Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract antioxidant, soothing goodie
Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract emollient
Laminaria Japonica Extract
Angelica Gigas Root Extract
Asparagus Lucidus Root Extract moisturizer/​humectant
Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract antioxidant, soothing, antimicrobial/​antibacterial superstar
Chrysanthemum Indicum Flower Extract
Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract
Morus Alba Fruit Extract antioxidant
Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract
Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract
Pueraria Lobata Root Extract moisturizer/​humectant
Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract
Papaver Rhoeas Petal Extract emollient, soothing
Pueraria Thunbergiana Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract
Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Flower Extract
Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract
Polygonum Multiflorum Root Extract
Cnidium Officinale Root Extract
Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract
Bletilla Striata Root Extract
Poria Cocos Extract
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract soothing, skin brightening superstar
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Extract
Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil emollient 0, 1-3 goodie
Ardisia Crispa Extract
Vigna Radiata Seed Extract
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil antioxidant, emollient 0, 0-2 goodie
Glyceryl Polyacrylate
Acorus Calamus Root Extract perfuming
Sutilains
Biotin
Coptis Japonica Root Extract soothing, antioxidant goodie
Carbomer viscosity controlling 0, 1
Benzophenone-5 sunscreen
Disodium Edta chelating
Chlorphenesin preservative, antimicrobial/​antibacterial
Caprylyl Glycol moisturizer/​humectant, emollient
Ethylhexylglycerin preservative
Phenoxyethanol preservative
Fragrance perfuming icky

Missha Misa Geum Sul Overnight Cream
Ingredients explained

Also-called: True Ginseng, Ginseng, Korean Ginseng | What-it-does: antioxidant, emollient

A  traditional Korean medicine used for more than 2000 years. Regarding skin care, its main thing seems to be enhancing skin nutrition and metabolism as a result of improving blood circulation.

It also contains biologically active components referred to as ginseng saponins (ginsenosides) that have potent antioxidant properties

Glycerin - superstar
Also-called: Glycerol | What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/humectant | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0
  • A natural moisturizer that’s also in our skin
  • A super common, safe, effective and cheap molecule used for more than 50 years
  • Not only a simple moisturizer but knows much more: keeps the skin lipids between our skin cells in a healthy (liquid crystal) state, protects against irritation, helps to restore barrier
  • Effective from as low as 3% with even more benefits at higher concentrations up to 20-40% (around 10% is a good usability-effectiveness sweet spot)
  • High-glycerin moisturizers are awesome for treating severely dry skin
Read all the geeky details about Glycerin here >>

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant, solvent | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1

Butylene glycol, or let’s just call it BG, is a multi-tasking colorless, syrupy liquid. It’s a great pick for creating a nice feeling product.  

BG’s main job is usually to be a solvent for the other ingredients. Other tasks include helping the product to absorb faster and deeper into the skin (penetration enhancer), making the product spread nicely over the skin (slip agent), and attracting water (humectant) into the skin.

Expand to read more

It’s an ingredient whose safety hasn’t been questioned so far by anyone (at least not that we know about). BG is approved by Ecocert and is also used enthusiastically in natural products. BTW, it’s also a food additive. 

Trehalose - goodie
What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

A type of sugar that has water-binding properties and helps to keep your skin hydrated

What-it-does: emollient, viscosity controlling | Irritancy: 1 | Comedogenicity: 2

An extremely common multitasker ingredient that gives your skin a nice soft feel (emollient) and gives body to creams and lotions. It also helps to stabilize oil-water mixes (emulsions), though it does not function as an emulsifier in itself. Its typical use level in most cream type formulas is 2-3%.  

It’s a so-called fatty alcohol, a mix of cetyl and stearyl alcohol, other two emollient fatty alcohols.  Though chemically speaking, it is alcohol (as in, it has an -OH group in its molecule), its properties are totally different from the properties of low molecular weight or drying alcohols such as denat. alcohol. Fatty alcohols have a long oil-soluble (and thus emollient) tail part that makes them absolutely non-drying and non-irritating and are totally ok for the skin.

Arbutin - goodie
Also-called: Beta-Arbutin | What-it-does: antioxidant, skin brightening

A pretty well-known and often used ingredient with the magic ability to fade brown spots. It's used traditionally in Japan and can be found naturally in a couple of plants, including the leaves of pear trees, wheat and bearberry

Arbutin seems to work its magic and hinder the pigmentation process at the second step of it. An enzyme called tyrosinase is needed to create melanin (the pigment that causes the brown spots) and while several other skin lightening agents work to inhibit the synthesis of tyrosinase itself (like vitamin C or licorice), arbutin lets tyrosinase be and rather hinders the melanin-forming activity of the enzyme. (So it might be a good idea to combine arbutin with some direct tyrosinase inhibitors for more skin lightening effect.)

Expand to read more

All in all, arbutin is one of the better-known skin brightening agents, that's probably worth a try if pigmentation is an issue for you.

Also-called: Shea Butter;Butyrospermum Parkii Butter | What-it-does: emollient

Unless you live under a rock you must have heard about shea butter. It's probably the most hyped up natural butter in skincare today. It comes from the seeds of African Shea or Karite Trees and used as a magic moisturizer and emollient.

But it's not only a simple emollient, it regenerates and soothes the skin, protects it from external factors (such as UV rays or wind) and is also rich in antioxidants (among others vitamin A, E, F, quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate). If you are looking for rich emollient benefits + more, shea is hard to beat. 

Also-called: Alphaflow | What-it-does: emollient

A hydrocarbon-based emollient that can come in different viscosities from silky-light through satiny-smooth to luxurious, rich. It forms a non-occlusive film on the surface of the skin and brings gloss without greasiness to the formula. It's a very pure and hypoallergenic emollient that's also ideal for baby care products. 

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

A natural high-molecular weight amino acid polymer (big molecule from repeated subunits) that is claimed to have awesome, better than IT-moisturizer HA, skin hydrating properties. It is a film-forming polymer that improves both the moisture binding and retention properties of the skin.

What-it-does: emollient, emulsifying | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1-2

A super common, waxy, white, solid stuff that helps water and oil to mix together, gives body to creams and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth.

Chemically speaking, it is the attachment of a glycerin molecule to the fatty acid called stearic acid. It can be produced from most vegetable oils (in oils three fatty acid molecules are attached to glycerin instead of just one like here) in a pretty simple, "green" process that is similar to soap making. It's readily biodegradable.

Expand to read more

It also occurs naturally in our body and is used as a food additive. As cosmetic chemist Colins writes it, "its safety really is beyond any doubt".

Also-called: Cera Alba | What-it-does: emollient, viscosity controlling | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0-2

It's the yellow, solid stuff that you probably know from beeswax candles. It's a natural material produced by honey bees to build their honeycomb.

As for skincare, it's used as an emollient and thickening agent. It's super common in lip balms and lipsticks. 

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Paraffinum Liquidum | What-it-does: emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0-2

The famous or maybe rather infamous mineral oil. The clear oily liquid that is the "cheap by-product" of refining crude oil and the one that gets a lot of heat for its poor provenance. It is a very controversial ingredient with pros and cons and plenty of myths around it. So let us see them:  

The pros of mineral oil
Trust us, if something is used for more than 100 years in cosmetic products, it has advantages. Chemically speaking, cosmetic grade mineral oil is a complex mixture of highly refined saturated hydrocarbons with C15-50 chain length. It is not merely a "by-product" but rather a specifically isolated part of petroleum that is very pure and inert.

Expand to read more

It is a great emollient and moisturizer working mainly by occlusivity. Occlusivity is one of the basic mechanisms of how moisturizers work and it means that mineral oil sits on top of the skin and hinders so-called trans-epidermal water loss, i.e water evaporating out of your skin. When compared to heavy-duty plant oil, extra virgin coconut oil, the two of them were equally efficient and safe as moisturizers in treating xerosis, a skin condition connected to very dry skin.

The other thing that mineral oil is really good at is being non-irritating to the skin. The chemical composition of plant oils is more complex with many more possible allergens or irritating components, while mineral oil is simple, pure and sensitivity to it is extremely rare. If you check out the classic French pharmacy brands and their moisturizers for the most sensitive, allergy prone skin, they usually contain mineral oil. This is no coincidence. 

The cons of mineral oil
The pros of mineral oil can be interpreted as cons if we look at them from another perspective. Not penetrating the skin but mostly just sitting on top of it and not containing biologically active components, like nice fatty acids and vitamins mean that mineral oil does not "nourish" the skin in the way plant oils do. Mineral oil does not give the skin any extra goodness, it is simply a non-irritating moisturizer working mainly by occlusivity, and nothing more. 

The myths around mineral oil
Bad mouthing mineral oil is a favorite sport of many, it is a cheap material and being connected to petrolatum makes is fairly easy to demonize. 

While it is true that industrial grade mineral oil contains carcinogenic components (so-called polycyclic compounds), these are completely removed from cosmetic and food grade mineral oil and there is no scientific data showing that the pure, cosmetic grade version is carcinogenic.

What is more, in terms of the general health effects of mineral oils used in cosmetics, a 2017 study reviewed the data on their skin penetration and concluded that "the cosmetic use of mineral oils and waxes does not present a risk to consumers due to a lack of systemic exposure."  

Another super common myth surrounding mineral oil is that it is comedogenic. A 2005 study titled "Is mineral oil comedogenic?" examined this very question and guess what happened? The study concluded that  "based on the animal and human data reported, along with the AAD recommendation, it would appear reasonable to conclude that mineral oil is noncomedogenic in humans.

Overall, we feel that the scaremongering around mineral oil is not justified. For dry and super-sensitive skin types it is a great option. However, if you do not like its origin or its heavy feeling or anything else about it, avoiding it has never been easier. Mineral oil has such a bad reputation nowadays that cosmetic companies hardly dare to use it anymore. 

What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/humectant | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

It’s the - sodium form - cousin of the famous NMFhyaluronic acid (HA). If HA does not tell you anything we have a super detailed, geeky explanation about it here.  The TL; DR version of HA is that it's a huge polymer (big molecule from repeated subunits) found in the skin that acts as a sponge helping the skin to hold onto water, being plump and elastic. HA is famous for its crazy water holding capacity as it can bind up to 1000 times its own weight in water.

As far as skincare goes, sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are pretty much the same and the two names are used interchangeably. As cosmetic chemist kindofstephen writes on reddit  "sodium hyaluronate disassociates into hyaluronic acid molecule and a sodium atom in solution". 

Expand to read more

In spite of this, if you search for "hyaluronic acid vs sodium hyaluronate" you will find on multiple places that sodium hyaluronate is smaller and can penetrate the skin better. Chemically, this is definitely not true, as the two forms are almost the same, both are polymers and the subunits can be repeated in both forms as much as you like. (We also checked Prospector for sodium hyaluronate versions actually used in cosmetic products and found that the most common molecular weight was 1.5-1.8 million Da that absolutely counts as high molecular weight).

What seems to be a true difference, though, is that the salt form is more stable, easier to formulate and cheaper so it pops up more often on the ingredient lists. 

If you wanna become a real HA-and-the-skin expert you can read way more about the topic at hyaluronic acid (including penetration-questions, differences between high and low molecular weight versions and a bunch of references to scientific literature).

A common little helper ingredient that helps water and oil to mix together, aka emulsifier.

Squalane - goodie
What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1

It seems to us that squalane is in fashion and there is a reason for it. Chemically speaking, it is a saturated  (no double bonds) hydrocarbon (a molecule consisting only of carbon and hydrogen), meaning that it's a nice and stable oily liquid with a long shelf life. 

It occurs naturally in certain fish and plant oils (e.g. olive), and in the sebum (the oily stuff our skin produces) of the human skin. As f.c. puts it in his awesome blog post, squalane's main things are "emolliency, surface occlusion, and TEWL prevention all with extreme cosmetic elegance". In other words, it's a superb moisturizer that makes your skin nice and smooth, without being heavy or greasy.

Expand to read more

Another advantage of squalane is that it is pretty much compatible with all skin types and skin conditions. It is excellent for acne-prone skin and safe to use even if you have fungi-related skin issues, like seborrhea or fungal acne.

The unsaturated (with double bonds) and hence less stable version of Squalane is Squalene, you can read about it here >> 

What-it-does: emollient, solvent

A super commonly used 5 unit long, cyclic structured silicone that is water-thin and does not stay on the skin but evaporates from it (called volatile silicone). Similar to other silicones, it gives skin and hair a silky, smooth feel

It's often combined with the non-volatile (i.e. stays on the skin) dimethicone as the two together form a water-resistant, breathable protective barrier on the skin without a negative tacky feel.

Also-called: Aqua | What-it-does: solvent

Good old water, aka H2O. The most common skincare ingredient of all. You can usually find it right in the very first spot of the ingredient list, meaning it’s the biggest thing out of all the stuff that makes up the product. 

It’s mainly a solvent for ingredients that do not like to dissolve in oils but rather in water. 

Expand to read more

Once inside the skin, it hydrates, but not from the outside - putting pure water on the skin (hello long baths!) is drying. 

One more thing: the water used in cosmetics is purified and deionized (it means that almost all of the mineral ions inside it is removed). Like this, the products can stay more stable over time. 

What-it-does: emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1

Probably the cheapest and most common silicone of all. It is a polymer (created from repeating subunits) molecule and has different molecular weight and thus different viscosity versions from water-light to thick liquid.

As for skincare, it makes the skin silky smooth, creates a subtle gloss and forms a protective barrier (aka occlusive). Also, works well to fill in fine lines and wrinkles and give skin a plump look (of course that is only temporary, but still, it's nice). There are also scar treatment gels out there using dimethicone as their base ingredient. It helps to soften scars and increase their elasticity. 

Expand to read more

As for hair care, it is a non-volatile silicone meaning that it stays on the hair rather than evaporates from it and smoothes the hair like no other thing. Depending on your hair type, it can be a bit difficult to wash out and might cause some build-up (btw, this is not true to all silicones, only the non-volatile types). 

A polymer (big molecule from repeated subunits) that improves the film-forming and aesthetic (no tacky after-feel) properties of sunscreen formulas. It also boosts SPF values, in some cases by as much as 70%, at least according to the manufacturer.

Also-called: Vitamin E Acetate | What-it-does: antioxidant | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

It’s the most commonly used version of pure vitamin E in cosmetics. You can read all about the pure form here. This one is the so-called esterified version. 

According to famous dermatologist, Leslie Baumann while tocopheryl acetate is more stable and has a longer shelf life, it’s also more poorly absorbed by the skin and may not have the same awesome photoprotective effects as pure Vit E. 

Also-called: Part of Olivem 1000 | What-it-does: emulsifying

An ester coming from sorbitol and the fatty acids of olive oil. It is part of the popular emulsifier trade named Olivem 1000 that is well-known for generating biomimetic liquid crystal structures. We have more info on Olivem 1000 at Cetearyl Olivate >>

What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 2

A fatty acid that can be found naturally in the skin. In fact, it's the most common saturated fatty acid found in animals and plants.

As for skincare, it can make the skin feel nice and smooth in moisturizers (emollient) or it can act as a foam building cleansing agent in cleansers. It's also a very popular ingredient in shaving foams. 

What-it-does: emollient, solvent

A light-feeling, volatile (meaning it does not absorb into the skin but evaporates from it) silicone that gives skin a unique, silky and non-greasy feel. It has excellent spreading properties and leaves no oily residue or build-up. 

What-it-does: emollient, viscosity controlling | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 2-3

A common multi-tasker fatty acid. It makes your skin feel nice and smooth (emollient), gives body to cream type products and helps to stabilize water and oil mixes (aka emulsions).

What-it-does: surfactant/cleansing, emulsifying | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

A very common water-loving surfactant and emulsifier that helps to keep water and oil mixed nicely together. 

It's often paired with glyceryl stearate - the two together form a super effective emulsifier duo that's salt and acid tolerant and works over a wide pH range. It also gives a "pleasing product aesthetics", so no wonder it's popular.

What-it-does: antioxidant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Ginkgo Biloba Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Adenosine - goodie

Adenosine is an important little compound in our body that has a vital cell-signalling role. Research on smearing it on our face is also promising and shows so far a couple of things:

  • It can help with wound healing
  • It’s a good anti-inflammatory agent
  • It might even help with skin’s own collagen production and improve skin firmness and elasticity
  • It helps with barrier repair and protection
  • It might be even useful for the hair helping with hair thickness and hair growth
Also-called: Ci 77480 | What-it-does: colorant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: antioxidant, soothing

Houttuynia cordata is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. It is eaten as a leaf vegetable, and also has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, including as an attempted treatment for SARS (it didn’t really work). Regarding cosmetics, however, houttuynia cordata extract has a good bit of potential! 

The main active components in the plant are these fancy chemicals called flavonoids. Houttuynia cordata specifically has a good amount of polyphenolic flavonoids, four common ones being quercetin, quercitrin, hyperoside, and rutin. All of these exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Quercitrin has also been shown to decrease damage from UVB rays, which is an added bonus. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the flavonoid content of this extract can depend on if the extract is taken from the roots or the leaves, as well as if it’s a water extraction or an alcohol extraction.

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Another thing Houttuynia cordata extract contains are polysaccharides, i.e. big molecules from various sugar units (in this case it is galacturonic acid (29.4%), galactose (24.0%), rhamnose (17.2%), arabinose (13.5%), glucuronic acid (6.8%), glucose (5.3%), xylose (2.1%) and mannose (1.8%) ). Polysaccharides and sugars in skincare are excellent humectants and skin hydrators, meaning they help the skin to hold onto water.

Last but not least, we also found an in-vitro (made in test tubes) study showing that houttuynia cordata extract had strong anti-allergic effects and could be helpful in treating skin allergies such as eczema (atopic dermatitis).

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Pumpkin Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: viscosity controlling

A polymer (big molecule from repeated subunits) that's used as a gloss improver for lipsticks and lipglosses. Its stickiness also helps lip products to stay on longer. 

Combined with polyacrylate-13 and polysorbate 20, it forms a very effective tickener-emulsifier trio.

A helper ingredient that functions as a film-forming polymer (big molecule from repeated subunits).

It usually comes to the formula as part of a thickener-emulsifier trio paired with Polyisobutene and Polysorbate 20. The three togeather have excellent thickening properties with remarkable emulsifying-stabilising abilities. They also have a nice silicone feel with glide-on spreading. 

What-it-does: emulsifying | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1-2

A handy helper ingredient that helps water and oil to mix nicely together, aka emulsifier. It is especially recommended for protective, baby care and general purpose emollient creams. 

It also helps to disperse insoluble particles (think color pigments or zinc/titanium dioxide sunscreen) nice and even in cosmetic formulas. 

What-it-does: emulsifying, surfactant/cleansing | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

It's a common little helper ingredient that helps water and oil to mix together. Also, it can help to increase the solubility of some other ingredients in the formula. 

Honey Extract - goodie
What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

Usually, a glycerin or glycol based extract of honey that has similar properties to pure honey, i.e. moisturizing, soothing and antibacterial magic properties.

If you wanna know more about honey in cosmetics, we have a shiny explanation here >>

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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What-it-does: perfuming

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: antioxidant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Turmeric Root Extract | What-it-does: antioxidant, soothing, skin brightening

Turmeric is the yellow spice you probably know from curry and Indian food. It's also a traditional herbal medicine used in Ayurveda for its bunch of anti-something magic abilities including being anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic. 

As for turmeric and skincare, we have good news: studies show that the root extract and its main biologically active component, curcumin can do multiple good things for the skin. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, it shows some promise for acne-prone skin and a small study from 2013 showed that it might be able to regulate sebum production

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It's also a potent antioxidant and skin-brightening agent so it often shows up in anti-aging and/or radiance-boosting products. 

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: antioxidant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Satsuma Mandarin, Satsuma Orange | What-it-does: skin brightening, antioxidant

Out of the more than 900 Citrus species known today, Citrus Unshiu is a seedless, easy to peel tangerine coming from the Japanese town Satsuma. The peel extract used in cosmetics is mainly created from the "press-cake", the by-product of the juice industry and as it turns out, what's waste to one industry is a useful ingredient to another. 

In cosmetics, the main thing of the Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract is being a skin-brightening or whitening agent. In-vitro (made in test tubes) and animal studies both show promising results for inhibiting tyrosinase, the famous enzyme regulating melanin production. It also contains antioxidant components such as carotenoids, coumarins,  limonoids, and flavonoids that might be useful for the skin to protect itself from UV caused damages. 

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The downside of citrus peel extracts (that prevents our goodie rating) is that they usually contain some amount of essential oil components, though the amount is probably way too low to worry about unless you're super-duper sensitive. 

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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Also-called: Myrrh | What-it-does: antimicrobial/antibacterial

A yellow-brown viscous liquid with a balsamic smell. It's a natural antiseptic, astringent and disinfectant. As an antibacterial, it might help acne prone skin and greasy hair.  As a strong fragrant gum, it is also a potential skin irritant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: astringent

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What-it-does: colorant

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What-it-does: astringent

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What-it-does: antioxidant

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Also-called: Black Cohosh

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Amur Cork Tree Bark Extract | What-it-does: soothing, anti-acne

traditional East Asian medicine that has a couple of recent studies to back up its positive effects on the skin.

It seems to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, it's a mild antioxidant and also has strong anti-bacterial effect for acne causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acne. 

What-it-does: emollient, soothing

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Skullcap Root Extract | What-it-does: soothing, antioxidant, antimicrobial/antibacterial

A traditional Chinese herbal medicine loaded with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids such as baicalin, baicalein, and wogonin.

If that would not be enough, Skullcap Root is also claimed to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties (also against P.acnes and Malassezia furfur) as well as some skin-brightening activity. A multi-functional skin-goodie.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: emollient

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: astringent

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Reishi Mushroom Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Ginger Root Extract | What-it-does: antioxidant, soothing

The extract coming from ginger, the lovely spice that we all know from the kitchen. It is also a medicinal plant used both in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for pretty much everything you can imagine (muscular pain, sore throat, nausea, fever or cramps,  just to give a few examples).

As for ginger and skincare, the root extract contains the biologically active component called gingerol that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Combined with Bisabololthe duo works synergistically to sooth the skin and take down redness. 

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Other than that, ginger also contains moisturizing polysaccharides, amino acids, and sugars, and it is also quite well known to increase blood circulation and have a toning effect.

Last but not least, Ginger also has some volatile, essential oil compounds (1-3%). Those are mostly present in ginger oil, but small amounts might be in the extract as well (around 0.5% based on manufacturer info). 

What-it-does: astringent, emollient

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Green Tea | What-it-does: antioxidant, soothing, antimicrobial/antibacterial
  • Green tea is one of the most researched natural ingredients
  • The active parts are called polyphenols, or more precisely catechins (EGCG being the most abundant and most active catechin)
  • There can be huge quality differences between green tea extracts. The good ones contain 50-90% catechins (and often make the product brown and give it a distinctive smell)
  • Green tea is proven to be a great antioxidant, UV protectant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and antimicrobial
  • Because of these awesome properties green tea is a great choice for anti-aging and also for skin diseases including rosacea, acne and atopic dermatitis
Read all the geeky details about Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract here >>

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: antioxidant

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What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Red Clover Extract | What-it-does: astringent

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: emollient, soothing

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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Also-called: Hibiscus Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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Also-called: Fo Ti Root

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Licorice Root;Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract | What-it-does: soothing, skin brightening

You might know licorice as a sweet treat from your childhood, but it's actually a legume that grows around the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, central and southern Russia. It's sweet and yellow and not only used for licorice all sorts but it's also a skincare superstar thanks to two magic properties:

Nr. 1 magic property is that it has skin-lightening or to say it another way depigmenting properties. The most active part is called glabridin. The topical application (meaning when you put it on your face) of 0.5% glabridin was shown to inhibit UVB caused pigmentation of guinea pigs. Another study even suggested that licorice is more effective than the gold standard skin-lightening agent hydroquinone. All in all, licorice is considered to be one of the safest skin lightening agents with the fewest side effects.

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There is just one catch regarding glabridin and licorice: the amount of glabridin in commercial licorice extracts can vary a lot. We have seen extracts with only 4% glabridin as well as 40% glabridin. The latter one is a very-very expensive ingredient, so if you are after the depigmenting properties try to choose a product that boasts its high-quality licorice extract. 

Nr. 2 magic property is that licorice is a potent anti-inflammatory. Glabridin has also some soothing properties but the main active anti-inflammatory component is glycyrrhizin. It’s used to treat several skin diseases that are connected to inflammation including atopic dermatitis, rosacea or eczema. 

Oh, and one more thing: glabridin seems to be also an antioxidant, which is just one more reason to be happy about licorice root extract on an ingredient list. 

Bottom line: Licorice is a great skincare ingredient with significant depigmenting, anti-inflammatory and even some antioxidant properties. Be happy if it's on the ingredient list. :)

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Sesame Oil | What-it-does: emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1-3

A goldish to dark yellow emollient plant oil coming from Sesame seeds. Similar to many other plant oils, it contains high amounts of nourishing and moisturizing fatty acids (about 38% of oleic and 48% of linoleic acid) and is a nice oil to repair and regenerate dry skin. It is rapidly absorbed and gives the skin a soft and gentle feel.  

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Mung Bean Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Olive Fruit Oil | What-it-does: antioxidant, emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0-2

You probably know olive oil from the kitchen as a great and healthy option for salad dressing but it's also a great and healthy option to moisturize and nourish the skin, especially if it's on the dry side. 

Similar to other emollient plant oils, it's loaded with nourishing fatty acids: oleic is the main component (55-83%), and also contains linoleic (3.5-20%) and palmitic acids (7-20%). It also contains antioxidant polyphenols, tocopherols (types of vitamin E) and carotenoids and it's one of the best plant sources of skin-identical emollient, Squalene

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Overall, a great option for dry skin but less so for acne-prone or damaged skin.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: perfuming

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Vitamin H

Also called vitamin H, biotin is the main component of many enzymes in our body. A nice ingredient to take as a supplement for stronger nails and hair. When you do not take it as a supplement its effects are a bit more questionable but according to manufacturer info it can smooth the skin and strengthen the hair.

Also-called: Japanese Goldthread Root Extract | What-it-does: soothing, antioxidant

The extract coming from the root of the traditional medicinal herb, Coptis Japonica or Japanese Goldthread. The plant is used traditionally in East Asia for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial abilities.

Other than that, there is also an abstract from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science that found Coptis Japonica Root Extract and its active component called berberine to show potent inhibition of triglyceride (aka fat) accumulation and subcutaneous preadipocytes (the cells that become later fat cells) differentiation meaning that Goldthread Extract might also be useful in slimming and anti-cellulite products.

What-it-does: viscosity controlling | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1

A big molecule created from repeated subunits (a polymer of acrylic acid) that magically converts a liquid into a nice gel formula.  It usually has to be neutralized with a base (such as sodium hydroxide) for the thickening to occur and it creates viscous, clear gels that also feel nice and non-tacky on the skin. No wonder, it is a very popular and common ingredient.

What-it-does: sunscreen

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: chelating

Super common little helper ingredient that helps products to remain nice and stable for a longer time. It does so by neutralizing the metal ions in the formula (that usually get into there from water) that would otherwise cause some not so nice changes.

A little helper ingredient that works as a preservative. It works against bacteria and some species of fungi and yeast. It's often combined with IT-preservative, phenoxyethanol.

It’s a handy multi-tasking ingredient that gives the skin a nice, soft feel. At the same time, it also boosts the effectiveness of other preservatives, such as the nowadays super commonly used phenoxyethanol

The blend of these two (caprylyl glycol + phenoxyethanol) is called Optiphen, which not only helps to keep your cosmetics free from nasty things for a long time but also gives a good feel to the finished product. It's a popular duo.

What-it-does: preservative

If you have spotted ethylhexylglycerin on the ingredient list, most probably you will see there also the current IT-preservative, phenoxyethanol. They are good friends because ethylhexylglycerin can boost the effectiveness of phenoxyethanol (and other preservatives) and as an added bonus it feels nice on the skin too.

Also, it's an effective deodorant and a medium spreading emollient

What-it-does: preservative

It’s pretty much the current IT-preservative. It’s safe and gentle, but even more importantly, it’s not a feared-by-everyone-mostly-without-scientific-reason paraben.

It’s not something new: it was introduced around 1950 and today it can be used up to 1% worldwide. It can be found in nature - in green tea - but the version used in cosmetics is synthetic. 

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Other than having a good safety profile and being quite gentle to the skin it has some other advantages too. It can be used in many types of formulations as it has great thermal stability (can be heated up to 85°C) and works on a wide range of pH levels (ph 3-10). 

It’s often used together with ethylhexylglycerin as it nicely improves the preservative activity of phenoxyethanol.

Fragrance - icky
Also-called: Fragrance, Parfum;Parfum/Fragrance | What-it-does: perfuming

Exactly what it sounds: nice smelling stuff put into cosmetic products so that the end product also smells nice. Fragrance in the US and parfum in the EU is a generic term on the ingredient list that is made up of 30 to 50 chemicals on average (but it can have as much as 200 components!). 

If you are someone who likes to know what you put on your face than fragrance is not your best friend - no way to know what’s really in it.  

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Also, if your skin is sensitive, fragrance is again not your best friend. It’s the number one cause of contact allergy to cosmetics. It’s definitely a smart thing to avoid with sensitive skin (and fragrance of any type - natural is just as allergic as synthetic, if not worse!). 

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A little helper ingredient that works as a preservative. It works against bacteria and some species of fungi and yeast. [more]
what‑it‑does moisturizer/humectant | emollient
A handy multi-tasking ingredient that gives the skin a nice, soft feel and also boosts the effectiveness of other preservatives. [more]
what‑it‑does preservative
It can boost the effectiveness of phenoxyethanol (and other preservatives) and as an added bonus it feels nice on the skin too. [more]
what‑it‑does preservative
Pretty much the current IT-preservative. It’s safe and gentle, and can be used up to 1% worldwide. [more]
what‑it‑does perfuming
The generic term for nice smelling stuff put into cosmetic products so that the end product also smells nice. It is made up of 30 to 50 chemicals on average. [more]