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Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Antioxidant Enriched Natural Moisturizer

Paula's Choice
Earth Sourced Antioxidant Enriched Natural Moisturizer

This innovative 98% all-natural formula is an enriched, surprisingly light lotion that hydrates your skin while treating it to a potent anti-aging combination of antioxidants and skin-replenishing ingredients.
Uploaded by: agar_agar on 13/08/2018

Ingredients overview

​Water, ​Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa Seed Butter/​Antioxidant/​Emollient), ​Glycerin (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil (Grape Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Canola Oil (Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter/​Antioxidant/​Emollient), ​Propanediol (Hydration), ​Borago Officinalis Seed Oil (Borage Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Antioxidant/​Skin Replenishing), [more]​Oenothera Biennis Oil (Evening Primrose Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Antioxidant/​Emollient/​Skin Replenishing), ​Sodium Hyaluronate (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract (Raspberry Extract/​Antioxidant), ​Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit Extract (Cranberry Extract/​Antioxidant), ​Vaccinium Myrtillus Leaf Extract (Bilberry Extract/​Antioxidant), ​Malpighia Punicifolia Fruit Extract (Acerola Extract/​Antioxidant), ​Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract (Antioxidant), ​Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Hydration/​Skin-Soothing), ​Tocopherol (Vitamin E/​Antioxidant), ​Hydrogenated Lecithin (Skin Renewing), ​Thermus Thermophillus Ferment (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Rose Hip Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil (Cranberry Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil (Linseed Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient), ​Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), ​Arginine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Glycine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Alanine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Serine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Valine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Proline (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Threonine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Isoleucine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Histidine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Phenylalanine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Aspartic Acid (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Helianthus Annuus Seed Wax (Sunflower, Texture-Enhancing), ​Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Texture-Enhancing), ​Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Texture-Enhancing), ​Carrageenan (Texture-Enhancing), ​Sodium Lactate (Hydration), ​Potassium Stearate (Texture-Enhancing), ​Sodium Pca (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Silica (Texture-Enhancing), ​Xanthan Gum (Texture-Enhancing), ​Leuconostoc/​Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, ​Caprylyl Glycol (Preservative), ​Glyceryl Stearate (Texture-Enhancing), ​Pca (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), ​Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), ​Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), ​Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
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Highlights

#alcohol-free
Alcohol Free

Key Ingredients

Skin-identical ingredient: ​Glycerin (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Sodium Hyaluronate (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Arginine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Glycine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Alanine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Serine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Valine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Proline (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Threonine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Isoleucine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Histidine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Phenylalanine (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Aspartic Acid (Amino Acid/​Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Sodium Pca (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing), ​Pca (Hydration/​Skin Replenishing)

Show all ingredients by function

Other Ingredients

Emollient: ​Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa Seed Butter/​Antioxidant/​Emollient), ​Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil (Grape Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Canola Oil (Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter/​Antioxidant/​Emollient), ​Borago Officinalis Seed Oil (Borage Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Antioxidant/​Skin Replenishing), ​Oenothera Biennis Oil (Evening Primrose Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Antioxidant/​Emollient/​Skin Replenishing), ​Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Hydration/​Skin-Soothing), ​Hydrogenated Lecithin (Skin Renewing), ​Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Rose Hip Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil (Cranberry Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient/​Antioxidant), ​Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil (Linseed Oil/​Non-Fragrant Oil/​Emollient), ​Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), ​Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Texture-Enhancing), ​Caprylyl Glycol (Preservative), ​Glyceryl Stearate (Texture-Enhancing)

Skim through

Ingredient name what-it-does irr., com. ID-Rating
Water solvent
Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa Seed Butter/Antioxidant/Emollient) emollient 0, 4 goodie
Glycerin (Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant 0, 0 superstar
Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil (Grape Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Emollient/Antioxidant) antioxidant, emollient com.:2-3 goodie
Canola Oil (Non-Fragrant Oil/Emollient/Antioxidant) emollient
Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Emollient/Antioxidant) antioxidant, emollient 0, 0-2 goodie
Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter/Antioxidant/Emollient) emollient goodie
Propanediol (Hydration) solvent, moisturizer/​humectant
Borago Officinalis Seed Oil (Borage Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Antioxidant/Skin Replenishing) soothing, emollient goodie
Oenothera Biennis Oil (Evening Primrose Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Antioxidant/Emollient/Skin Replenishing) soothing, emollient 2, 3 goodie
Sodium Hyaluronate (Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant 0, 0 goodie
Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract (Raspberry Extract/Antioxidant) antioxidant, soothing goodie
Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit Extract (Cranberry Extract/Antioxidant)
Vaccinium Myrtillus Leaf Extract (Bilberry Extract/Antioxidant)
Malpighia Punicifolia Fruit Extract (Acerola Extract/Antioxidant) antioxidant
Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract (Antioxidant)
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Hydration/Skin-Soothing) soothing, emollient, moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Antioxidant) antioxidant 0-3, 0-3 goodie
Hydrogenated Lecithin (Skin Renewing) emollient, emulsifying goodie
Thermus Thermophillus Ferment (Hydration/Skin Replenishing)
Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Rose Hip Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Emollient/Antioxidant) emollient
Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil (Cranberry Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Emollient/Antioxidant) emollient goodie
Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil (Linseed Oil/Non-Fragrant Oil/Emollient) emollient goodie
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient) emollient
Arginine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Glycine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Alanine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Serine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Valine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Proline (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Threonine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Isoleucine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Histidine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Phenylalanine (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Aspartic Acid (Amino Acid/Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient goodie
Helianthus Annuus Seed Wax (Sunflower, Texture-Enhancing)
Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Texture-Enhancing) emollient
Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum (Texture-Enhancing) viscosity controlling
Carrageenan (Texture-Enhancing) viscosity controlling
Sodium Lactate (Hydration) buffering, moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Potassium Stearate (Texture-Enhancing) surfactant/​cleansing, emulsifying
Sodium Pca (Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant 0, 0 goodie
Silica (Texture-Enhancing) viscosity controlling
Xanthan Gum (Texture-Enhancing) viscosity controlling
Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate antimicrobial/​antibacterial, preservative
Caprylyl Glycol (Preservative) moisturizer/​humectant, emollient
Glyceryl Stearate (Texture-Enhancing) emollient, emulsifying 0, 1-2
Pca (Hydration/Skin Replenishing) skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative) preservative, perfuming, solvent, viscosity controlling
Phenoxyethanol (Preservative) preservative
Potassium Sorbate (Preservative) preservative
Sodium Benzoate (Preservative) preservative

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Antioxidant Enriched Natural Moisturizer
Ingredients explained

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. 

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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. 

Also-called: Cocoa Seed Butter | What-it-does: emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 4

Theobroma means "food of the gods" in Greek though probably "treat of the people" would be more spot on. The cacao fruits and especially the seeds in it need no introduction as everyone knows them as the magical raw material of the magical sweet treat, chocolate (the flavour is composed of more than 1200(!) substances, and the exact chemical nature of it is not really understood, so it's indeed magic. :)).

As for skincare, cocoa butter counts as a rich emollient that can moisturize and nourish even the driest skin (think chapped hands or lips). It's solid at room temperature and melts nicely when you smear it on. It's loaded with good-for-the-skin things: it contains fatty acids, mainly oleic (35%), stearic (34%), and palmitic (25%) and it also has antioxidant vitamin E and polyphenols.

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An ex-vivo (made on human skin but not on real people) study examined the cocoa polyphenols and found that 0.5-0.75% of them improved skin tone and elasticity and had a similarly positive impact on GAGs (important natural moisturizing factors in the skin) and collagen synthesis than a commercial high-end moisturizer (it was an Estee Lauder one).

All in all, cocoa butter is a goodie, especially for very dry skin. 

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 >>

Also-called: Grape Seed Oil | What-it-does: antioxidant, emollient | Comedogenicity: 2-3

A goodie plant oil coming from the polyphenol-rich seeds of the grape. It's a light emollient oil that makes your skin feel smooth and nice and also contains a bunch of good-for-the-skin stuff. It's a great source of antioxidant polyphenols, barrier repair fatty acid linoleic acid (about 55-77%, while oleic acid is about 12-27%) and antioxidant, skin-protectant vitamin E

What-it-does: emollient

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.

Also-called: Shea 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: Zemea | What-it-does: solvent, moisturizer/humectant

Propanediol is a natural alternative for the often used and often bad-mouthed propylene glycol. It's produced sustainably from corn sugar and it's Ecocert approved. 

It's quite a multi-tasker: can be used to improve skin moisturization, as a solvent, to boost preservative efficacy or to influence the sensory properties of the end formula. 

Also-called: Borage Seed Oil, Starflower Seed Oil | What-it-does: soothing, emollient

We feel that this one is a bit under the radar probably because the Borage plant is not very well known. Maybe because its name isn't as cool as some others, it's hard to compete with kukui or baobab, not to mention murumuru. But let us tell you when it comes to skin care, borage seed oil is one of the best oils that can happen to your skin. Especially, if it's dry, sensitive, easily irritated, often itchy or eczema prone. 

So what is so special about it? It is the richest known plant source of the super important essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is soothing and nourishing, and can repair even severely dry and irritated skin, but it's pretty rare and borage contains by far the most of it (17-28%). Next to GLA, it also contains more common fatty acids, like linoleic (36%), oleic (18%) or palmitic acid (10%). 

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If your skin is dry and sensitive, this one is totally for you. 

Also-called: Evening Primrose Oil, EPO | What-it-does: soothing, emollient | Irritancy: 2 | Comedogenicity: 3

The oil coming from the seeds of the nice, little, yellow-flowered plant called Evening Primrose. Similar to other plant oils, it's loaded with nourishing and moisturizing fatty acids. It's a very rich source of linoleic acid (66-76%), and also contains the soothing and healing superstar fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (aka GLA, 7-12%) (Btw, the richest known source of GLA is the borage oil, but evening primrose still counts as a very good source of it). It also contains oleic acid, but not too much around 6-15%.

Since the 1980's, EPO is a well-known food supplement and there are quite a lot of studies examining what happens if you take it orally. It seems to be helpful with a bunch of  things: atopic dermatitis, dry eyes, brittle nails, sunburn and even acne.

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As for the skin, it's a great hydrating plant oil, that can also reduce inflammation and irritation. It's a superb healing agent that can truly help dry skin, not just on the surface by covering it (and not letting water to evaporate) but by initiating structural changes within the skin. If that's not enough, it also helps skin cell regeneration

All in all, a real goodie especially for dry, easily irritated skin.

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". 

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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).

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

Raspberry is one of the colorful berries that’s not only delicious but contains many biologically active, healthy compounds. It has polyphenols including anthocyanins and ellagitannins that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

According to skin care expert Paula Begoun, it’s antibacterial as well but due to its tannin content it can cause also irritation to the very sensitive skinned. 

Also-called: Cranberry Fruit Extract | What-it-does: astringent

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: astringent

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: antioxidant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Goji Berry Extract | What-it-does: astringent

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Aloe Leaf Extract | What-it-does: soothing, emollient, moisturizer/humectant

The extract coming from the juice containing leaves of the Aloe vera plant. It's usually a hydroglycolic extract (though  oil extract for the lipid parts also exists) that has similar moisturizing, emollient and anti-inflammatory properties as the juice itself. We have written some more about aloe here.

Also-called: Vitamin E | What-it-does: antioxidant | Irritancy: 0-3 | Comedogenicity: 0-3
  • Primary fat-soluble antioxidant in our skin
  • Significant photoprotection against UVB rays
  • Vit C + Vit E work in synergy and provide great photoprotection
  • Has emollient properties
  • Easy to formulate, stable and relatively inexpensive
Read all the geeky details about Tocopherol here >>

What-it-does: emollient, emulsifying

It's the chemically chopped up version of normal lecithin. Most often it's used to create liposomes and to coat and stabilize other ingredients. 

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Rosehip Oil | What-it-does: emollient

Though it says fruit oil in its name, the rosehip fruit contains the seeds that contain the oil. So this one is the same as Rosa Canina Seed Oil,  or Rosehip Oil, known for its high omega fatty acid content (linoleic acid - 51%, linolenic acid - 19% and oleic acid - 20%) and skin-regenerative properties

There is a common misconception that rosehip oil contains vitamin C as the fruit itself does, but vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin hence it is not contained in the oil. The antioxidant and regenerative properties of the oil probably come from the oil-soluble tocopherols (vitamin E) and carotenoids (pro-vitamin A). Read more here

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Also-called: Cranberry Seed Oil | What-it-does: emollient

yellow-greenish oil coming from the seeds of Cranberry. Similar to other emollient plant oils, it is loaded with nice fatty acids. It contains a very balanced 1:1 ratio of anti-inflammatory omega-3 (aka linolenic acid) and barrier repairing omega-6 (aka linoleic acid) (30-38%), and also a decent amount of skin-nourishing omega-9, aka oleic acid. It also has high vitamin E content and significant antioxidant properties. 

Other than being a nice emollient plant oil, we also found a research showing that cranberry oil has wound-healing potential

Also-called: Linseed Oil, Flaxseed Oil | What-it-does: emollient

The oil coming from the plant Linum Usitatissimum or commonly called Flax. If you are into healthy eating, you probably know flaxseeds as a rich source of hard-to-eat-enough omega-3 fatty acids, or if you are into fashion, you probably have some light summer cloth made from linen.

As for skincare, flaxseed oil is one of the few natural plant oils that is a rich source (35-65%) of moisturizing and probably anti-inflammatory  ω-3 fatty acid, aka linolenic acid. It also contains skin-nourishing oleic acid (11-35%) and barrier repairing linoleic acid (11-24%). 

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According to manufacturer claims, it is used as an emollient, anti-inflammatory and healing agent and it is well-known to create smooth and soft skin. 

What-it-does: emollient

A super common emollient that makes your skin feel nice and smooth. It comes from coconut oil and glycerin, it’s light-textured, clear, odorless and non-greasy. It’s a nice ingredient that just feels good on the skin, and it’s also easy to formulate with. No wonder it’s popular. 

A semi-essential (infants cannot synthesize it, but adults can) amino acid that is one of the primary building blocks of hair keratin and skin collagen. It's a natural moisturizing factor, a skin hydrator and might also help to speed up wound healing

Arginine usually has a positive charge (cationic) that makes it substantive to skin and hair (those are more negatively charged surfaces) and an excellent film former.  Thanks to the positive charge, it also creates a complex with AHAs (AHAs like to lose a hydrogen ion and be negatively charged, so the positive and the negative ions attract each other) that causes a "time-release AHA effect" and reduces the irritation associated with AHAs

A non-essential amino acid (the building blocks of skin proteins, like collagen or elastin), that the body can produce itself, but its production decreases with age. When you put it all over your face, it works as a moisturizer and maybe more. 

According to great skincare blog Futurederm, glycine might help with wound healing and tissue repair and when used together with other amino acids, leucine and proline it might improve wrinkles

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BTW, it's also a building block of a bunch of important and famous peptides, including copper-tripeptide-1, palmitoyl tripeptide-1 or palmitoyl hexapeptide-12.

A non-essential amino acid (a building block of skin proteins like collagen or elastin) that hydrates the skin.

Serine is an amino acid that most often comes to the formula as part of a moisturizing complex. It's a non-essential amino acid (meaning that our body can synthesize it) and serves as a water-binding ingredient.

In general, amino acids are great skincare ingredients that play an important role in proper skin hydration but there is not much info out there about what specifically serine can do for the skin.

An essential amino acid (a building block of skin proteins like collagen) that our body cannot produce itself but has to take from external sources, like diet. 

It's a branched chain amino acid that is claimed to enhance energy, increase endurance and aid in muscle tissue recovery and repair when taken as a supplement. It's not clear what valine does when you put it on the skin, but as all amino acids, it must be at least a great skin hydrator.

A non-essential amino acid (meaning that our body can produce it) that's also one of the major building blocks of collagen. According to the Futurederm blog, it might be able to improve wrinkles when combined with other amino acids, glycine and leucine

An essential amino acid that's also a key building block of collagen and elastin. When taken orally, it helps the digestive and intestinal tracts function more smoothly and also helps the absorption of nutrients. As for skincare, it is not clear what it does other than being a skin hydrator

A branch-chained, essential amino acid that can be found in things like almond, cashew or soy protein. When taken orally it may promote protein synthesis. As for skincare - like all the amino acids - it's a skin-identical ingredient and moisturizer. It also seems to be useful as a barrier repair ingredient.  

A semi-essential amino acid meaning that enough has to be eaten from it so that the body does not use up essential amino acids (that our body cannot produce itself) to synthesize it. It has an important role in regulating the immune defense, allergic reactions, and inflammatory processes in the body.

As for skincare, it's a skin moisturizer that might also protect from some skin infections

An essential amino acid that the body cannot produce itself but has to take from the diet. Combined with UVA exposure, phenylalanine is used in the treatment of vitiligo (a pigmentation disorder where patches of the skin lose the pigment).

A non-essential amino acid  (important building block of collagen and elastin) that hydrates the skin. It is also used to set the pH of the cosmetic product (buffering).

Also-called: Sunflower Wax

A hard wax coming from sunflower that has a high melting point and gives excellent thermal stability to the formulas. Similar to other waxes, it is used to stabilize products and give body to them, or to keep stick type formulas, such as lip balms, solid. 

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: viscosity controlling

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: viscosity controlling

A natural polysaccharide (big sugar molecule) coming from red edible seaweeds. It is used as a helper ingredient for its gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties.  

The sodium salt of lactic acid. It's a great skin moisturizer and also used to regulate the pH value of the cosmetic formula. It's a natural ingredient approved by both ECOCERT and COSMOS.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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

PCA stands for Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid and though it might not sound like it, it is a thing that can be found naturally in our skin. The sodium salt form of PCA is an important skin-identical ingredient and great natural moisturizer that helps the skin to hold onto water and stay nicely hydrated. 

A white powdery thing that's the major component of glass and sand. In cosmetics, it’s often in products that are supposed to keep your skin matte as it has great oil-absorbing abilities. It’s also used as a helper ingredient to thicken up products or suspend insoluble particles. 

It's one of the most commonly used thickeners and emulsion stabilizers. If the product is too runny, a little of xanthan gum will make it more gel-like.  Used alone, it can make the formula sticky and it is a good team player so it is usually combined with other thickeners and so-called rheology modifiers (helper ingredients that adjust the flow and thus the feel of the formula). 

Btw, Xanthan gum is all natural, a chain of sugar molecules (polysaccharide) produced from individual sugar molecules (glucose and sucrose) via fermentation. It’s approved by Ecocert and also used in the food industry (E415). 

Also-called: Fermented Radish Root | What-it-does: antimicrobial/antibacterial, preservative

It's an alternative, natural preservative that comes from radishes fermented with Leuconostoc kimchii, a lactic acid bacteria that has been used to make traditional Korean dish, kimchi. During the fermentation process, a peptide is secreted from the bacteria that has significant antimicrobial properties

It is one of the more promising natural preservatives that can be used even alone (recommended at 2-4%), but it's not as effective as more common alternatives, like parabens or 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: 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.

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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: Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid | What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/humectant

PCA stands for Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid and though it might not sound like it, it is a thing that can be found naturally in our skin. In fact, after amino acids, it is the second biggest NMF component of the skin with 12% being PCA of the NMF composition of normal skin.  So similar to other NMFs, it's a skin goodie that helps the skin to hold onto water and stay nicely hydrated. 

It's one of those things that help your cosmetics not to go wrong too soon, aka a preservative. It can be naturally found in fruits and teas but can also be made synthetically.

No matter the origin, in small amounts (up to 1%) it’s a nice, gentle preservative. Has to be combined with some other nice preservatives, like potassium sorbate to be broad spectrum enough.  

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In high amounts, it can be a skin irritant, but don’t worry, it’s never used in high amounts.

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.

What-it-does: preservative

It's one of those things that help your cosmetics not to go wrong too soon, aka a preservative. It’s not a strong one and doesn’t really work against bacteria, but more against mold and yeast. To do that it has to break down to its active form, sorbic acid. For that to happen, there has to be water in the product and the right pH value (pH 3-4). 

But even if everything is right, it’s not enough on its own. If you see potassium sorbate you should see some other preservative next to it too.

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BTW, it’s also a food preservative and even has an E number, E202.

What-it-does: preservative

A helper ingredient that helps to make the products stay nice longer, aka preservative. It works mainly against fungi. 

It’s pH dependent and works best at acidic pH levels (3-5). It’s not strong enough to be used in itself so it’s always combined with something else, often with potassium sorbate.

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Raspberry is one of the colorful berries that’s not only delicious but contains many biologically active, healthy compounds. It has polyphenols including anthocyanins and ellagitannins that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to skin care expert Paula Begoun, it’s antibacterial as well but due to its tannin content it can cause also irritation to the very s [more]
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