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SU:M37 Secret Programming Essence

SU:M37
Secret Programming Essence

This essence deeply hydrates and revitalizes skin, leaving it softer, plumper, and brighter due to its blend of 80 fermented natural extracts.
Uploaded by: agar_agar on 03/08/2018

Ingredients overview

Water, Lactobacillus Ferment, Saccharomyces Ferment, Citrus Unshiu Fruit Powder, Citrus Junos Fruit Powder, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Prunus Serotina Fruit Extract, [more]Diospyros Kaki Fruit Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit, Ficus Carica Fruit Extract, Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract, Eriobotrya Japonica Fruit/​Leaf Extract, Prunus Armeniaca Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Cucurbita Maxima Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract, Momordica Grosvenorii Fruit Extract, Lycium Chinense Extract, Glycine Max Seed Extract, Phaseolus Angularis Seed Extract, Canavalia Ensiformis Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi (Job'S Tears) Seed Extract, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Hemerocallis Fulva Flower Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Powder, Morus Bombycis Extract, Perilla Frutescens Flower Oil, Ipomoea Batatas Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Colocasia Antiquorum Root Extract, Dioscorea Batatas Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Undaria Pinnatifida Root Powder, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Brassica Rapa (Turnip) Seed Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Arctium Lappa Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Extract, Allium Cepa (Onion) Bulb Extract, Lilium Maculatum Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Actinidia Polygama Fruit Extract, Grifola Frondosa Extract, Prunus Salicina Fruit Extract, Akebia Quinata Extract, Crataegus Cuneata Fruit Extract, Cornus Officinalis Fruit Extract, Nephelium Longana Seed Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Artemisia Princeps Extract, Hydrolyzed Sasa Veitchii Extract, Glechoma Hederacea Extract, Matricaria Recutita Flower Extract, Horsetail Extract, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, Taraxacum Officinale Extract, Isodonis Japonicus Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Extract, Plantago Asiatica Extract, Smallanthus Sonchifolius Leaf Extract, Allium Sativum Bulb Extract, Pinus Koraiensis Seed Extract, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, Methyl Gluceth-20, Ceramide 3, Glycosphingolipids, Phospholipids, Cholesterol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cichorium Intybus Root Extract, Vanilla Tahitensis Seed, Niacinamide, Polyquaternium-51, Lauryl Dimethicone/​Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Triethanol Amine
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Highlights

#alcohol-free
Alcohol Free

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Other Ingredients

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Ingredient name what-it-does irr., com. ID-Rating
Water solvent
Lactobacillus Ferment soothing, preservative goodie
Saccharomyces Ferment goodie
Citrus Unshiu Fruit Powder antioxidant
Citrus Junos Fruit Powder
Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract
Carica Papaya Fruit Extract
Prunus Serotina Fruit Extract moisturizer/​humectant
Diospyros Kaki Fruit Extract
Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract antioxidant goodie
Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract abrasive/​scrub, moisturizer/​humectant
Prunus Mume Fruit abrasive/​scrub
Ficus Carica Fruit Extract moisturizer/​humectant
Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract antioxidant, emollient, moisturizer/​humectant
Eriobotrya Japonica Fruit/Leaf Extract
Prunus Armeniaca Fruit Extract
Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract
Cucurbita Maxima Fruit Extract
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract soothing, antioxidant, moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract antioxidant, soothing goodie
Momordica Grosvenorii Fruit Extract antioxidant
Lycium Chinense Extract
Glycine Max Seed Extract
Phaseolus Angularis Seed Extract antioxidant, emollient, moisturizer/​humectant
Canavalia Ensiformis Leaf Extract
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract
Hordeum Vulgare Extract emollient
Coix Lacryma-Jobi (Job'S Tears) Seed Extract
Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract
Hemerocallis Fulva Flower Extract
Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Powder
Morus Bombycis Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial, antioxidant
Perilla Frutescens Flower Oil perfuming
Ipomoea Batatas Extract
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract
Colocasia Antiquorum Root Extract
Dioscorea Batatas Extract antioxidant, emollient
Laminaria Japonica Extract
Undaria Pinnatifida Root Powder moisturizer/​humectant
Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract
Brassica Rapa (Turnip) Seed Extract
Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract antioxidant, emollient goodie
Arctium Lappa Extract antioxidant, soothing goodie
Nelumbo Nucifera Extract
Allium Cepa (Onion) Bulb Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial
Lilium Maculatum Extract
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract soothing, skin brightening superstar
Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil emollient 0, 1-3 goodie
Ginkgo Biloba Extract
Panax Ginseng Root Extract antioxidant, emollient goodie
Actinidia Polygama Fruit Extract
Grifola Frondosa Extract
Prunus Salicina Fruit Extract antioxidant
Akebia Quinata Extract
Crataegus Cuneata Fruit Extract
Cornus Officinalis Fruit Extract
Nephelium Longana Seed Extract
Houttuynia Cordata Extract antioxidant, soothing goodie
Artemisia Princeps Extract
Hydrolyzed Sasa Veitchii Extract antimicrobial/​antibacterial
Glechoma Hederacea Extract
Matricaria Recutita Flower Extract
Horsetail Extract soothing, emollient
Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract
Taraxacum Officinale Extract
Isodonis Japonicus Extract
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Extract emollient
Plantago Asiatica Extract
Smallanthus Sonchifolius Leaf Extract
Allium Sativum Bulb Extract
Pinus Koraiensis Seed Extract perfuming
Lentinus Edodes Extract
Dipropylene Glycol solvent
Glycereth-26 moisturizer/​humectant, emollient 0, 0
Glycerin skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant 0, 0 superstar
Spiraea Ulmaria Extract soothing goodie
1,2-Hexanediol solvent
Butylene Glycol moisturizer/​humectant, solvent 0, 1
Betaine moisturizer/​humectant goodie
Methyl Gluceth-20 moisturizer/​humectant
Ceramide 3 skin-identical ingredient goodie
Glycosphingolipids emollient
Phospholipids skin-identical ingredient, emollient goodie
Cholesterol skin-identical ingredient, emollient 0, 0 goodie
Cetearyl Alcohol emollient, viscosity controlling 1, 2
Cichorium Intybus Root Extract
Vanilla Tahitensis Seed abrasive/​scrub
Niacinamide cell-communicating ingredient, skin brightening, anti-acne, moisturizer/​humectant superstar
Polyquaternium-51 moisturizer/​humectant
Lauryl Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer surfactant/​cleansing, viscosity controlling
Polymethylsilsesquioxane
Hydroxyethylcellulose viscosity controlling
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer viscosity controlling
Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil perfuming icky
Citrus Aurantifolia Oil surfactant/​cleansing, perfuming icky
Lavandula Angustifolia Oil antimicrobial/​antibacterial, perfuming icky
Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract soothing goodie
Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil perfuming icky
Triethanol Amine buffering 0, 2

SU:M37 Secret Programming Essence
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. 

What-it-does: soothing, preservative

Lactobacillus ferment is an interesting probiotic ingredient with some promising properties. 

First, according to a 2009 Estee Lauder patent, it’s a DNA repair enzyme and it can help to protect the skin against environmental aggressors.

Expand to read more

Second, still according to Estee Lauder research but now from 2012 the ingredient has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and holds promise in the treatment of acne and rosacea. For the former one 5% was needed to show effectiveness, but for reducing skin sensitivity already 1% showed results. 

The anti-acne effect is confirmed also by US manufacturer, Barnet, that says that Lactobacillus ferment is helpful in killing harmful bacteria and creating a healthy balanced microflora. Compared to well-known anti-acne and anti-inflammatory salicylic acid the probiotic worked faster at reducing the size and redness of acne lesions. 

It also goes by the trade name Leucidal Liquid SF and can serve in the formula as a natural preservative. 

Bottom line: It’s not the most proven ingredient (yet) but definitely a very promising one especially if you have sensitive skin, acne or rosacea.  

There is not much info out there about this ingredient but the little we can know is the following: it comes from the fermentation of saccharomyces, that is a type of yeast and according to the manufacturer it's a natural deodorant. It contains a number of enzymes, which bio-converts several malodorous substances, so most often you will spot this ingredient in natural, aluminum- free deodorants. 

What-it-does: antioxidant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Apple Fruit Extract | What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

Apple needs no introduction as one of the most common fruits on planet Earth. It's not only a healthy fruit snack, it's also a goodie if you put in all over your face. 

It's loaded with proteins, starch, sugars, acids, vitamins and salts. The sugars (mainly fructose, glucose, sucrose) give apple fruit extract nice moisturizing and smoothing properties, while the acids (mainly malic  and gallic acid) give it mild exfoliant, skin brightening and antibacterial properties. 

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Papaya Fruit Extract

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: Watermelon Fruit Extract | What-it-does: antioxidant

We love a cold slice of watermelon on a hot summer day and we love watermelon as a skincare ingredient. It's really full of good-for-the-skin stuff: it contains a bunch of vitamins (A, B, C and E), mineral salts (K, Mg, Ca and Fe), amino acids citrulline and arginine and antioxidant carotenoids and phenolics

It's especially rich in potent antioxidant, lycopene (a type of carotenoid), the cool pigment that's responsible for the red color of the watermelon. According to manufacturer info, in-vitro (made in the lab not on real people) studies show that watermelon extract gives significant DNA protection against UV damage. The in-vivo (made on real people) study also confirmed this and the watermelon formula showed 25% increase in skin protection compared to placebo.

Expand to read more

All in all, a cool fruit extract with potent antioxidant magic abilities.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: abrasive/scrub

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.

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.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Grape Fruit Extract | What-it-does: soothing, antioxidant, moisturizer/humectant

When it comes to grape and skincare, the seed extract and the seed oil steals most of the show. The reason for that is that the seed contains the majority of the skin goodies, the antioxidant superstar polyphenols. 

The fruit also contains some, but it's less potent. However - according to manufacturer info - the fruit extract is not only an antioxidant, but it's also a soothing, moisturizing and nourishing agent

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. 

What-it-does: antioxidant

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.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: absorbent/mattifier

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.

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.

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.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: antioxidant, astringent, emollient

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: astringent

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Carrot Root Oil | What-it-does: antioxidant, emollient

The oil-soluble extract coming from the edible, orange part of the carrot. It is created by macerating the carrot root in a carrier oil such as sunflower or olive oil, and the resulting thing (base oil + carrot root extract) is often called carrot oil or carrot root oil. (Not to be confused with carrot seed oil, that can be fixed or essential and comes from the seeds.)

The root extract is known for containing the orange pigment beta-carotene, aka provitamin A. It is a famous molecule for being a potent antioxidant, suntan accelerator and having skin-regenerative abilities. Carrot oil also contains vitamin E and some fatty acids that give the oil further antioxidant and barrier repairing properties. 

Also-called: Burdock Root;Arctium Lappa Root Extract | What-it-does: antioxidant, soothing

Burdock root is a goodie plant extract that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Also, it has some anti-fungal and seborrhea regulation magic powers that make the ingredient especially useful for greasy and flaky skin and scalp. 

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Onion Bulb Extract | What-it-does: antimicrobial/antibacterial

You probably meet this guy more often in your kitchen than in the bathroom, but yes, onion extract is also used as a skincare ingredient. Its major skin benefit seems to be that it can improve the cosmetic appearance of postsurgical scars (there is also a scar-fading gel called Mederma, that has hardly anything else in it but onion extract). 

We also saw some manufacturer claims that onion is not only a scar healer, but it has also antibacterial and antifungal activity, it can help to reduce acne and stimulate hair growth

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.

Expand to read more

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. :)

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.  

Also-called: Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

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

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Japanese Plum Extract | What-it-does: antioxidant

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.

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.

Expand to read more

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.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Equisetum Arvense Extract | What-it-does: soothing, emollient, astringent

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.

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.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Garlic Bulb Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: perfuming

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Shiitake Mushroom Extract

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: solvent

A clear, colorless liquid that works as a solvent and viscosity decreasing ingredient. It also has great skin-moisturizing abilities. 

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

It's a nice glycerin-based humectant and emollient that gives skin a smooth and luxurious feel.

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 >>

Also-called: Meadowsweet Extract, Filipendula Ulmaria Extract | What-it-does: soothing, astringent

The extract coming from the leaves and/or blossoms of Meadowsweet, a native to Europe plant that likes to grow in damp places such as meadows or the banks of streams.

It's main "skincare thing" is that it contains salicylic acid derivatives that give the extract anti-inflammatory properties. It also has tannins that make Spiraea Ulmaria Extract astringent, as well as spiraeoside that has anti-cellulitic properties.

What-it-does: solvent

A really multi-functional helper ingredient that can do several things in a skincare product: it can bring a soft and pleasant feel to the formula, it can act as a humectant and emollient, it can be a solvent for some other ingredients (for example it can help to stabilize perfumes in watery products) and it can also help to disperse pigments more evenly in makeup products. And that is still not all: it can also boost the antimicrobial activity of preservatives

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. 

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

A sugar beet derived amino acid derivative with nice skin protection and moisturization properties. Betain's special thing is being an osmolyte, a molecule that helps to control cell-water balance.  It is also a natural osmoprotectant, meaning that it attracts water away from the protein surface and thus protects them from denaturation and increases their thermodynamic stability. 

It also gives sensorial benefits to the formula and when used in cleansers, it helps to make them milder and gentler. 

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

A corn sugar derived, water-soluble, pale yellow syrup, that nicely moisturizes the skin. It has a light and smooth skin feel, it is non-tacky, and it can improve the after-feel of the formula. It is also mild and gentle, popular in sensitive skin formulas.

Ceramide 3 - goodie
Also-called: Ceramide NP | What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient

One of the many types of ceramides that can be found naturally in the upper layer of the skin. Ceramides make up about 50% of the goopy stuff that's between our skin cells and play a super important role in having a healthy skin barrier and keeping the skin hydrated. It works even better when combined with its pal, Ceramide 1.

We wrote way more about ceramides at ceramide 1, so click here to know more.

What-it-does: emollient

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Phospholipids - goodie

A type of lipid that's the major (about 75%) component of all cell membranes. As for skincare, it works as an emollient and skin-identical ingredient.

It has a water-loving head with two water-hating tails and this structure gives the molecule emulsifying properties. It is also often used to create liposomes, small spheres surrounded by phospholipid bi-layer designed to carry some active ingredient and help its absorption.

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

It's one of the important lipids that can be found naturally in the outer layer of the skin. About 25% of the goopy stuff between our skin cells consists of cholesterol. Together with ceramides and fatty acids, they play a vital role in having a healthy skin barrier and keeping the skin hydrated. 

Apart from being an important skin-identical ingredient, it's also an emollient and stabilizer

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.

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

What-it-does: abrasive/scrub

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Niacinamide - superstar
Also-called: vitamin B3, nicotinamide | What-it-does: cell-communicating ingredient, skin brightening, anti-acne, moisturizer/humectant
  • A multi-functional skincare superstar with several proven benefits for the skin
  • Great anti-aging, wrinkle smoothing ingredient used at 4-5% concentration
  • Fades brown spots alone or in combination with amino sugar, acetyl glucosamine
  • Increases ceramide synthesis that results in a stronger, healthier skin barrier and better skin hydration
  • Can help to improve several skin conditions including acne, rosacea, and atopic dermatitis
Read all the geeky details about Niacinamide here >>

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

A biocompatible copolymer (a big molecule that consists of more than one type of building blocks) that has the same structure as important cell membrane ingredient, phospholipid. It's a good skin moisturizer, leaves a silky, smooth feel on the skin and can help to reduce irritation caused by some not-so-nice ingredients (like surfactants).

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

spherical texturizing powder that's used as a texture enhancer and soft focus agent. It's claimed to give silicone type softness to the formula and also works as a (temporary) wrinkle filler. 

Also-called: HEC | What-it-does: viscosity controlling

A nice little helper ingredient that can thicken up cosmetic products and create beautiful gel formulas. It's derived from cellulose, the major component of the cell wall of green plants. It is compatible with most co-ingredients and gives a very good slip to the formulas. 

Though its long name does not reveal it, this polymer molecule (big molecule from repeated subunits or monomers) is a relative to the super common, water-loving thickener, Carbomer. Both of them are big molecules that contain acrylic acid units, but Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer also contains some other monomers that are hydrophobic, i.e. water-hating. 

This means that our molecule is part water- and part oil-loving, so it not only works as a thickener but also as an emulsion stabilizer. It is very common in gel-type formulas that also contain an oil-phase as well as in cleansers as it also works with most cleansing agents (unlike a lot of other thickeners). 

Also-called: Bergamot Fruit Oil | What-it-does: perfuming

The essential oil coming from the fruit (probably the rind) of the bergamot orange.  It's a common top note in perfumes and contains (among others) fragrant compounds limonene (37%), linalyl acetate (30%) and linalool (8.8%). 

A well-known issue with bergamot oil (apart from the fragrance allergens) is that it contains phototoxic compounds called furanocoumarins, but more and more commonly furanocoumarin-free versions are used in cosmetic products. Still, if you have sensitive skin and prefer fragrance-free products, bergamot oil is not for you.

Also-called: Lime Oil | What-it-does: surfactant/cleansing, perfuming

We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Also-called: Lavender Essential Oil | What-it-does: antimicrobial/antibacterial, perfuming

We have to start by writing how fascinated we are by the amazing lavender fields of Provance and we do love pretty much everything about lavender: its look, its color, its scent.... but, when it comes to skincare, lavender is a questionable ingredient that you probably do not want in your skincare products.

First, let us start with the pros: it has a lovely scent, so no wonder that it is popular as a fragrance ingredient in natural products wanting to be free from synthetic fragrances but still wanting to smell nice. The scent of lavender is famous for having calming and relaxing properties and some smallish scientific studies do support that. Inhaled volatile compounds seem to have a soothing effect on the central nervous system and studies have shown that lavender aromatherapy can improve patient's anxiety and experience in hospitals.   

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Another pro is that lavender oil has some nice antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It also has some local pain relieving and muscle relaxing magical powers. Lavender oil is also often claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties. We have found a study confirming this but it was the essential oil of the leaves and not the much more commonly used flowers and the two differ in their main chemical compounds very much. (The main components of the flower essential oil are linalyl acetate and linalool [around 80% the two together] while it is 1,8-Cineole [around 65%] in the essential oil of the leaves.)

Now, let us look at the cons: similar to a bunch of other essential oils, the main components of lavender oil are potentially irritating fragrant components. The two main components are linalyl acetate (about 50%) and linalool (about 35%) and both autoxidise on exposure to the air forming strong contact allergens. To make things even worse, lavender oil seems to be cytotoxic from concentrations as low as 0.25% (concentration up to 0.125% were ok). 

There is also an often cited Japanese study that made patch tests with lavender oil for 9 years and found a huge increase in lavender oil sensitivity in 1997 (from 1.1% in 1990 to 8.7% in 1997 and 13.9% in 1998). This was the year when using dried lavender flowers in pillows, wardrobes, and elsewhere became fashionable in Japan, so it seems that increased exposure to lavender results in increased risk of sensitivity.

Overall, it makes us sad to write bad things about such a lovely plant, but when it comes to skincare, you will be better off without lavender. 

Also-called: Roman Chamomile Flower Extract | What-it-does: soothing

There are two primary types of Chamomile, the German and the Roman. Both has soothing properties, but the German one contains more anti-inflammatory actives (like chamazulene). The anti-inflammatory action of the Roman Chamomile is due to phenolic compounds and -  according to manufacturer info- it also has some nice skin toning properties.

Also-called: Rose Geranium Flower Essential Oil | What-it-does: perfuming

The fragrant essential oil coming from the flowers of Rose Geranium. Like most essential oils, it contains antioxidant and antimicrobial components, but the main ones are fragrant constituents (like citronellol and geraniol). Be careful with it, if your skin is sensitive. 

What-it-does: buffering | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 2

It’s a little helper ingredient that helps to set the pH of a cosmetic formulation to be just right. It’s very alkaline (you know the opposite of being very acidic): a 1% solution has a pH of around 10.

It does not have the very best safety reputation but in general, you do not have to worry about it. 

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What is true is that if a product contains so-called N-nitrogenating agents (e.g.: preservatives like 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, 5-Bromo-5-Nitro- 1,3-Dioxane or sodium nitrate - so look out for things with nitro, nitra in the name) that together with TEA can form some not nice carcinogenic stuff (that is called nitrosamines). But with proper formulation that does not happen, TEA in itself is not a bad guy. 

But let’s assume a bad combination of ingredients were used and the nitrosamines formed. :( Even in that case you are probably fine because as far as we know it cannot penetrate the skin. 

But to be on the safe side, if you see Triethanolamine in an INCI and also something with nitra, nitro in the name of it just skip the product, that cannot hurt.

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