Moisturizing is one of the main properties we want our skin care products to have. Our skin is prone to dehydration, especially under some weather conditions. Foaming ingredients, on the other hand, are not necessary for our skin, but since we like foamy soaps and shower gels, they are used for increased and more stable foam that lasts.
Aloe vera gel
INCI: Aloe Barbadensis (leaf juice)
Aloe vera gel can be found in the central part of the leaves. The gel is mainly used for healing, eczema, psoriasis, sunscreen products, shaving products, lip balms and nourishing body creams. Its main function is promoted healing of wounds and burns of all kind. When applied on a wound, aloe vera gel creates a thin layer that protects the surface and still enables the air to be in contact with the skin. This enables faster healing than the complete covering of wounds.
Some research showed the anti-microbial properties of aloe vera gel against multiple types of bacteria. This means that gel contributes to wound disinfections and prevents infections. It also promotes faster healing. Aloe vera gel is used also for its other properties. When used in face creams, aloe vera extract increases the amount of collagen in our skin. It affects fibroblast (cells that synthesize the extracellular matrix and collagen) and consequently makes our skin appear firmer and more elastic.
Aloe vera gel can also be used for hair. It contains an enzyme that promotes hair growth and even helps with alopecia areata (spot baldness). Aloe vera helps restore the healthy balance of our hair, but also treats seborrhea (excess sebum production that can lead to hair loss due to clogged hair follicles).
For the best results, apply aloe vera gel at least twice a day for at least two months (for increased hair growth) or three times a week for the strengthening of your hair.
Aloe vera juice
INCI: Aloe Barbadensis (leaf juice)
Aloe vera juice is derived from the outer part of the leaves. It contains the same cosmetic properties as the gel, but can also be consumed for its health benefits. The most important one is its power to stabilize blood sugar and work as a laxative.
Aloe vera juice can be used as a make-up remover, instead of a shaving cream, for soothing, as a face wash, in face masks and scrubs
For more uses of aloe vera juice see aloe vera gel above.
Glycerin is a by-product of soapmaking. It’s the product of hydrolysis of fats (vegetable and animal). It’s also made in yeast fermentation of sugar. Glycerin is used for softening and moisturizing by absorbing water in deeper skin layers (it’s hygroscopic). This creates a healthy balance.
Glycerin has a thick consistency and is a relatively good solvent. Many cosmetic ingredients can be dissolved in it, but glycerin can be mixed only with water and alcohol and not oils. Its binding properties are amazing, both in cosmetic products as in the opened bottle where it will absorb the water from the air. Pure glycerin should not be used on the skin as it can cause extreme dehydration of your skin-it can even cause blisters! This is why you have to dilute it with water to make it beneficial to our skin.
INCI: Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey
Honeyquat is a moisturizer derived from honey that has amazing binding properties. It’s much stronger than glycerin and can be used in skin and hair care. It can be used in leave-in and rinse-off products. Due to its low molecular weight, it’s able to penetrate into hair and make them shiny. On hair, it will also reduce static buildup at dry brushing-
Suggested use: 2-5%, soluble in water and alcohol
INCI: Sodium lactate
Sodium lactate is a natural moisturizer with anti-bacterial properties. It’s mostly used in leave-in products (creams, lotions) and rinse-off products (soaps, shampoos).
Suggested use: 1-5%, soluble in water
Vegetable glycerin is the same as regular glycerin, but it’s derived only from vegetable oils. For more information and uses see above.
Sorbitol is hygroscopic (binds water molecules) sugar alcohol and is, therefore, used as a cosmetic humectant and thickener of formulas. It’s also useful for making of transparent gels and other transparent skin care products. It can be synthetically made or extracted from various plants.
Urea is a humectant hydroxyethyl urea. It’s part of our skin’s tissues and takes up to 7% of our natural moisturizing factor that decreases with age. Urea’s main benefit it that unlike other emollients doesn’t only coat the skin and provides a temporary solution, but improves skin’s ability to retain its moisture. Urea penetrates into the outer part of the epidermis (stratum corneum) and increases skin’s capacity to retain moisture.
Urea is often used in products for the dry and extremely dry skin. Moisture is retained with the help of water-holding substances like lactic acids, amino acids, and urea. Dry and extremely dry skin has lower amounts of urea in the outer layer of epidermis than healthy skin.
Urea is hygroscopic (absorbs water). It modifies the structure of amino chains and polypeptides in the skin and this is important for moisturizing the tissue. Urea also speeds up the cellular renewal process and strengthens skin’s barrier function that is important for preventing infections. It also serves as a natural exfoliant.
INCI: Decyl Glucoside
Decyl glucoside is a non-ionic surfactant, mostly used for foaming and cleansing products. It’s derived from plant sources, specifically fatty alcohols (coconut oil) and glucose (corn starch). It’s mild and doesn’t dry the skin. Decyl glucoside produces lots of foam, almost the same as conventional anionic surfactants. The foam is stable, so it can be used for bubble baths and shower gels.
Suggested use: 2-30%, add to the oil phase. Its pH level is alkaline (11-12).
Coco glucoside is a non-ionic surfactant. It’s similar to decyl glucoside in its mildness, so it’s perfect for products for sensitive skin. It’s derived from fatty alcohols (coconut oil) and glucose (corn starch) and similarly, to decyl glucoside creates a rich stable foam.
Suggested use: 2-30%, add to the oil phase. pH: 11,5-12,5
Sodium Coco Sulphate
Sodium coco sulfate is used for shampoos, cleaning products, liquid soaps, shaving foaming products and bath bombs. Some users don’t like using it in natural products due to its high similarity with SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) that is a synthetic detergent as well. It’s best to substitute it with more natural and environmentally friendly alternatives. Learn more about SLS here.
Suggested use: 1-15%
NOTE: large amounts of sodium coco sulphate can irritate your respiratory tract, so use a mask, gloves and be careful when heating.
Sodium lauryl sulphoacetate (SLSA)
INCI: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Sodium lauryl sulphoacetat is made by mixing lauryl alcohol with the sulfuric acid and added sodium carbonate. It’s safe for most skin types, even sensitive, unlike SLS. It removes impurities without irritating the skin. SLSA is an alternative to harsher and cheaper SLS, so it’s used in higher priced natural products. It’s used in bubble baths, bath bombs, and shampoos. The molecules in SLSA are larger than in SLS, so they can’t penetrate into the skin and irritate the skin. It’s hydrophilic (attracts skin), which makes cleaning easier.
INCI: Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil & Prunus Dulcis – Tocopherol
Almond wax is used as a vegan substitute for beeswax. It’s pale and solid and can be used for lip balms, lotion bars, and body butters. It’s also very useful for nail care, but some even use it in candles.Almond wax is derived from almond oil and is softer comparing to beeswax. In combination with other ingredients, it creates smooth and soft hydrating balms with all the benefits of almond oil. It’s an effective thickener, a natural emollient and since it doesn’t irritate our skin, it can be used for sensitive and mature skin.
Suggested use: 0,1-70%
INCI: Cera Alba
Beeswax is one of the most known cosmetic waxes. Yellow beeswax is natural, unprocessed wax. It’s not soluble in water, but can be melted in alcohol and other organic solvents. It has a relatively low melting point (62°C/144°F). Beeswax is used not only in cosmetic industry but also for covering cheese. In cosmetic products, beeswax is used in creams, balms, lotions and soaps. It’s used for increased skin elasticity and healing of smaller injuries.
White beeswax is the same as yellow beeswax, but it has been processed to remove color. This wax still has the original scent. The white color is especially good for products where color is important, for example, candles where white beeswax doesn’t interfere with other colorants.
Suggested use: 2-40%
INCI: Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil
Jojoba wax is derived from jojoba oil with the process of hydrogenation. Esters found in jojoba oil are used for their emollient properties and high similarity with human sebum. Fully hydrogenated jojoba esters are used for exfoliation. It’s used as a vegan alternative to beeswax.
INCI: Cannabis Sativa